Snooker: Cope slays Selby to make Shanghai progress
JAMIE Cope caused the upset of this year's Shanghai Masters so far when he dumped out defending champion world number one Mark Selby in the first round yesterday.
Longton potter Cope powered to an impressive 5-1 victory over Selby, the double Masters champion, in the latest ranking tournament at the Shanghai Grand Stage.
And with victory Cope set up a last-16 showdown with Londoner Stuart Bingham – last season's Australian Open champion – or Leicester's Tom Ford, who play today.
"It wasn't an enjoyable match because the standard was not great," admitted Cope, who slipped 12 places to number 27 in the world last season after a string of poor results.
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"I won a few close frames which could have gone either way. That was the difference.
"But I know I'm going to have to play a lot better than that if I'm going to do anything in this tournament.
"It's a long way to come to play one match and lose, so I was just glad to get through.
"Hopefully I can settle down now and play a lot better in the next round."
Cope pinched a scrappy opening frame with a break of 38 before former World Championship runner-up Selby quickly levelled, thanks in large to a break of 49.
But Cope kept his concentration to edge ahead again by winning a long-winded third frame which dragged on for nearly 34 minutes.
Selby was favourite to go in all-square at the mid-session interval, but the Leicester cueman failed to capitalise on a run of 43 and Cope pinched the frame on the final black.
And the next frame followed a similar pattern as Selby missed chances to reduce his arrears and Cope won the frame on another final black to edge to within one frame of his biggest win for some time.
Cope, aged 27, then finished the match in style by pocketing a 71 break to leave an out-of-sorts Selby – who beat Mark Williams 10-9 in last year's final, shell-shocked.
"It's always great beating someone of Mark's calibre, he'll really have wanted to give a good defence of his title," added Cope, a China Open runner-up in 2007.
This year's winner will pocket a £75,000 prize, but Cope is not looking too far ahead.
"I'm not playing my best snooker by any means, but I know I can get better."
Selby reflected: "It's disappointing to come here as defending champion and not have a run. I played poorly and Jamie picked up the pieces.
"I had more than enough chances, but couldn't take them. I have struggled this season other than winning the Paul Hunter Classic.
"My sleep pattern has not been great since I got here. I have tried different solutions, but that's just the way it is.
"Sometimes you wake up at 2am and can't get back to sleep so you go for a practice."