/ Snooker

Hendry ponders retirement after heavy loss

Updated: Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011 09:06

Stephen Hendry - Scot had no answer to Mark Selby's record breaking six centuries during the first two sessions
Stephen Hendry - Scot had no answer to Mark Selby's record breaking six centuries during the first two sessions

Mark Selby today wrapped up a record-breaking victory over Stephen Hendry at the Crucible which could send the seven-time world champion into retirement, while John Higgins also secured a place in the next round.

The Leicester man, newly installed as favourite for the Betfred.com World Championship, looked like finishing off Hendry in one scoring visit, perhaps with another century which would have been his seventh of the match.

He missed the black after reaching 39 but was soon offered another chance by Hendry and a clearance of 81 made sure of a 13-4 success. It was all over in 10 minutes.

Hendry had trailed 12-4 overnight after two magical sessions from Selby whose six centuries set a new Crucible record.
Hendry, 42, has confirmed this could be his last playing visit to Sheffield.

Retirement is in his thoughts as he struggles to compete against the likes of Selby at the top of the game.

He said: 'I'll decide in the summer.

'I've still got the game but I haven't got the self-belief to compete with these guys.'

Selby almost gave himself today off when he went close to defeating Hendry with a session to spare.

Hendry said: 'That would have been quite embarrassing."

Selby said: 'The way I played against someone of Stephen's class makes it special.'

Selby, 27, had breaks of 125, 108 and 129 on Saturday, 100, 127 and 117 yesterday, and Hendry offered little in response.

Selby piled on the punishment in the final frame last night when he needed snookers and drew five fouls from the Scot in coming from 48 points behind to take it 77-76.

Twenty-five years ago, a teenage Hendry came to the Crucible as a rookie and lost in the first round to Willie Thorne, before dominating the tournament in the 1990s, winning seven of the eight finals he reached.

His career record is astonishing. With £8.8million banked in prize-money, 36 ranking event titles, eight years as world number one and 10 maximum breaks, he stands ahead of the likes of Steve Davis as snooker's all-time greatest player.

Higgins, Hendry's fellow Scot, finished off Rory McLeod this afternoon, advancing from 10-5 at the start of play to win 13-7 and set up a quarter-final against either Ronnie O'Sullivan or Shaun Murphy.

The match had crawled along through its opening two sessions, and they could not even complete the first session inside the allocated time.

Higgins said: 'It was tough all the way through really. Every frame was the same. The black was tied up in every frame and it was so tough to get any rhythm going.

'But take nothing away from Rory, he's a very good tactical player, he knows his way around the safety battles. It was the scoring that let him down.'

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