Snooker news: 'Oh for goodness sake' – Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy to meet in world final rematch at British Open
Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy were drawn against each other in the first round of the British Open next month as the random FA Cup draw format gave fans an early season treat. Selby won his fourth world final with an 18-15 victory against 2005 Crucible champion Murphy in an epic battle in May. This one will be a sprint rather than a marathon with the first man to three frames reaching the last 64.
Mark Selby eyes a pot as Shaun Murphy watches on, World Snooker Championship, The Crucible, Sheffield, May 2, 2021
Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy will meet in the first round of the British Open only three months after their epic World Championship final battle in Sheffield.
Selby came out on top 18-15 in May to claim his fourth world title against 2005 Crucible champion Murphy, but the random draw format of the British Open will see them do battle over the best-of-five frames in the first round at Leicester's Morningside Arena on Tuesday 17 August.
Chris Henry, who coaches both men with Selby ranked two in the world and Murphy fifth, reacted to Wednesday's draw in disbelief as he said on Twitter: "Oh for goodness sake".
John Higgins, the last winner of the British Open in 2004, faces Alexander Ursenbacher at 1pm on Monday 16 August with world number one Judd Trump meeting Mitchell Mann in his opener at 7pm.
Seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry has been drawn with world number 60 Chris Wakelin in the round of 128 and will play after the completion of Selby's encounter with Murphy.
Watch the moment Selby clinches fourth world title at Crucible
The first four rounds will be played over the best-of-five frames with the quarter-finals and semi-finals contested over the best-of-seven frames and the final on Sunday 22 August increased to the best-of-11 frames as the field chase a £100,000 first prize.
Six-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has opted to miss the event.
'Wow!' - O'Sullivan, Selby and Murphy with Shot of the Tournament contenders