World No. 1 Mark Selby beat Li Hang to book his place in the second round of the Snooker Shoot Out.
A little under a week after revealing he was battling with his mental health and would be seeking help, Selby turned out in his home city for snooker’s highest-octane event.
He was given a warm reception, and he delighted his fans by getting over the line - albeit narrowly.
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There appeared to be little signs of the drama to come as Selby got in and confidently knocked in a break of 38 to assume control.
Later in the frame, with a shade over four minutes on the clock, Selby missed a red to hand a chance to his opponent.
Li dramatically put 38 points on the board to raise the prospect of a shoot out on the blue.
But Selby got a shot at a red with the clock ticking down and he rolled it into the bottom left to secure safe passage to round two.
“That’s why he’s world champion and world No. 1,” Jimmy White said in the Eurosport studio of Selby. “He got to the final last year, he’s got it covered and knows what to do at the right times."
Mark Williams eased into the second round with a comfortable 59-1 win over Stuart Carrington. The former world champion bided his time for an opening, but when it came a break of 39 proved decisive.
Jack Lisowski is still seeking his first tournament win, and he made an ideal start in Leicester this week with a comfortable win over Ben Woollaston, which came courtesy of an excellent break of 89. He admitted following the win that he is not a fan of the format, but entered as he wants ranking points to protect his position.
Reanne Evans slipped to defeat to Fan Zhengyi, with the multiple women’s world champion paying a heavy price for failing to hit a cushion with a shot and giving ball in hand to her opponent.
Fan made a break of 52 off the error and it proved decisive as the Chinese player advanced to round two.
David Gilbert got revenge for his defeat to Sunny Akani in the 2018 Shoot Out as he claimed a 29-24 win.
- Mark Selby 43-38 Li Hang
- Paul Deaville (a) 59-50 Chen Zifan
- Michael Judge 22-29 Mark Lloyd (a)
- Fraser Patrick 6-64 Andrew Higginson
- Sunny Akani 24-29 David B Gilbert
- Ross Bulman (a) 75-1 Martin O'Donnell
- Aaron Hill 50-8 Lee Walker
- Stuart Carrington 1-59 Mark J Williams
- Lyu Haotian 32-89 Dean Young
- Ricky Walden 27-54 Zak Surety
- Leo Fernandez 38-1 Fergal O'Brien
- Ben Woollaston 7-89 Jack Lisowski
- Peter Lines 38-33 Joe O'Connor
- Lei Peifan 40-22 Alfie Burden
- Reanne Evans 1-100 Fan Zhengyi
- Rod Lawler 3-52 Elliot Slessor
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