European Masters: Mark Selby continues to struggle whilst number 84 seed Cao Yupeng makes history

Selby failed to make a third successive late comeback as he was defeated by Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals.

European Masters: Mark Selby continues to struggle whilst number 84 seed Cao Yupeng makes history
Selby has failed to make it past the last eight in all six competitions he has played this season (photo: Getty Images/VCG)

What looked to be a stellar week from the outset for Mark Selby has eventually shuddered to a halt as the World champion was unable to repeat his heroics of previous rounds.

2015 World champion Stuart Bingham was able to see off Selby with a comfortable 4-2 victory in the last eight as Selby crashed out of another tournament early this season.

Selby suffers an alarming drop in form

Selby looked to be the player to beat in the opening round as he recorded a sensational performance against Zhao Xintong. After a slow start to the season, Selby hit top form with breaks of 131, 127, 120 and 116 in a 4-1 victory.

However, the World number one was unable to maintain his form in the following rounds. He found himself 3-2 behind against the relatively unknown Lu Haotian and number 50 seed Jack Lisowski before eventually squeezing past both of them in final frame deciders.

Yet Selby's luck eventually ran out as he faced a step up in quality in the quarter-finals. Bingham raced into a 3-1 lead and it proved to be a big enough cushion to ease past Selby with a 4-2 success and set up a semi-final with either Anthony McGill or Zhou Yuelong.

It means Selby has failed to progress past the quarter-finals in the six competitions he has qualified for this season.

 

Cao reaches his first ranking semi-final

World number 84 seed, Cao Yupeng, has been the surprise package of the tournament. With the likes of Stephen Maguire, Ali Carter, Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins all missing out on qualification and Ryan Day, Martin Gould and Kyren Wilson falling in the first round, the competition was open for an outsider to make their mark.

26-year old Cao jumped at the opportunity, defeating a number of challenging opponents on his way to the semi-finals. He squeezed past the dangerous Noppon Saengkham before seeing off former World champion Ken Doherty. Unseeded Billy Joe Castle was then defeated in his first taste of the last sixteen at a ranking tournament, after beating Gould earlier in the week, before Cao took the scalp of Mark Williams in the quarter-finals. It was his second victory against a former World champion in just a handful of days.

Cao will face defending champion Judd Trump in his first ranking semi-final. The fourth best player on the planet edged out Mark Allen in a final frame decider after seeing numerous top ten colleagues fall earlier in the week.

Neil Robertson won his two opening games 4-0 before being defeated by Mark Williams in the last sixteen after multi-World champion John Higgins was stunned by Mark Davis in the previous round.