So there were no upsets in the wildcard round and we have a proper field of 32 to contest the Shanghai Masters.

First up is Ali Carter, who lives just a few miles from Mark King in Essex but will be playing him many thousands of miles away from home.

Ali played well last year to win the title and like many a tournament winner before him came through a match he probably should have lost, 5-4 against Matthew Stevens in the quarter-finals.

King is a tough match-player and Carter has an ongoing medical issue but the defending champion has to be favourite to come through.

Dominic Dale, the first winner of this title four years ago, had a long old battle with the grimly slow Cao Xin Long last night and his reward from the schedulers is to go straight back on against Shaun Murphy.

It hasn't been the best of starts to the PTC campaign for Murphy but he did reach the Australian Open semi-finals and will hope to exploit any tiredness from the Spaceman.

I'm going to stick my neck out now: Peter Ebdon v Fergal O'Brien on table four won't be quick.

Later, it's Ronnie O'Sullivan against James Wattana. The Thai has beaten O'Sullivan five times but most of those were in the mid 1990s when he was at his peak.

O'Sullivan's China adventures are well documented but it occurs to me, following Tweets and other online traffic, that he is getting as much from his tie-up with Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski as they are.

Judd and Jack, profiled yesterday by Matthew Syed in The Times, play at The Grove in Romford where O'Sullivan is also based.

They look up to him as one of the all time greats of the game but maybe their enthusiasm is helping him too.

Lisowski plays Jamie Cope in today's second session, where an upset is certainly a possibility.

Mark Selby, closing in on the world no.1 spot, will be expected to come past Nigel Bond.

Selby rarely loses in the first round, and this level of consistency has obviously helped him to stay near the top of the rankings.

He revealed on his blog last week how he had blown a fusebox at his house by cutting through the wire while trimming a hedge in his garden.

Thankfully he's a little more expert with a cue in his hand.


Anonymous said...

Selby cuts his own hedge? I pay someone to do mine, and I'm not even a millionaire!

Anonymous said...

It is because of how he moves his head all the time.

Anonymous said...

its (almost) only dead people that dont move their head regularly.