Mark Selby’s failure to pot the final black of what would have been a 147 break yesterday should not detract from what was a first class performance. Three centuries and two other big breaks were evidence of a return to fluency for Selby, at just the right time with the Crucible on the horizon.
Since winning the Masters in January Selby has appeared somewhat burned out, with off table issues also affecting his on table performances.
But in Beijing, accompanied by his wife, Vicki, who presumably would have had ideas on how to spend the £23,500 prize her husband would have won for the maximum, he has started really well, with Ricky Walden next up.
We’re down to the last 16 and several big hitters are staking a claim for the title.
Neil Robertson ran through his namesake, Jimmy, 5-0. Mark Allen advanced comfortably against Anthony McGill.
Robertson and Allen face each other for the first time since the Australian won their thriller at the Masters, his winning break initiated by a wonder pot while snookered.
I thought Mark Williams looked sharp in beating Lu Haotian but he’ll have to be again against Ali Carter.
Barry Hawkins seemed to grow anxious despite a 4-0 lead over Ding Junhui but in the end took his chance to win 5-3. He plays a fellow ranking event winner this season, Stephen Maguire.
Jack Lisowski played superbly against Judd Trump but his match with Mark Davis is entirely different. Lisowski practises with Trump and they basically play the same game. Davis has more old school nous and is aware that his young opponent could be susceptible to over confidence after such a terrific win.
Rory McLeod will be a stubborn opponent for Shaun Murphy while a couple of tough Scots in Graeme Dott and Marcus Campbell also lock horns.