Phil Haigh ✍️
Mark Selby says he is struggling with concentration issues so badly at the Northern Ireland Open that he is finding it difficult to see shots even when at the table.
The four-time world champion is good enough to keep picking up wins despite feeling far from his best, beating Reanne Evans, Sam Craigie and Hammad Miah to make it to the last 16 in Belfast where Michael White awaits.
After the victories over Craigie and Miah the Jester from Leicester said he was really finding it hard to concentrate, explaining the problem after downing the latter 4-2.
‘It was my concentration again. From start to finish it was non-existent,’ Selby told Eurosport. ‘I just felt flat out there. I should have won 4-0 if I’d rolled the red in, then roll the black to be 30-up with 27 on and then the game does not forgive you.
‘After that, I was chasing to try and get over the line. Hammad played a little bit better, didn’t play great. Just a poor match from start to finish. It was my concentration, I just couldn’t even see the shots out there.
‘I’m watching everything else that goes on apart from my table, which is obviously not the right thing to do. [Dave] Gilbert was playing well! I could talk you through every shot of that if you want.
‘Even when they were all there, my concentration was gone, I couldn’t see the shots.’
After beating Craigie 4-2 in the opening round, Selby said: ‘I feel like my concentration was in and out all of the way through the match for whatever reason.’
Selby will have to work out a solution to his problem ahead of his clash with Michael White, who has picked up three excellent wins to reach the last 16.
The Welshman beat Liam Highfield in qualifying before ousting Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins in Belfast, so will be confident, although the underdog, against Selby.
After beating Ding he said: ‘There were a lot of breaks, and I’m just pleased that I performed out there on the match table. It’s been a while since I’ve played to my potential on the TV table.”
‘That means a lot to me. To do it under extreme pressure and to have a one-visit in the deciding frame is a massive confidence builder.
‘I’m enjoying my matches again, because I feel like I’m performing somewhere near the level where I think I should be performing.’
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