Mark Selby had a flying start to his Players Championship campaign, the kind of dream start any cueist would hope for.
From the very start of the duel, it was crystal clear that Mark was going through to the second round. What was rather unclear was which of the Mark’s it would be – Mark Selby or Mark Williams. It was Selby who came out tops and in a convincing manner. The three-time world champion trounced his opponent, recording a 6-0 whitewash in the process.
He ensured a perfect win with breaks of 60, 108, and 63. In a much tighter affair between Stephen Maguire and Ding Junhui, it was the former who came out tops.
Maguire edged past his opponent 6-5 to secure passage to the next round. It was a tightly contested affair marred by low-scoring frames. Indeed, Junhui could only manage over 50 in four out of eleven frames while Maguire could only log that number in two.
Elsewhere, John Higgins trashed his compatriot to progress to the second round. Higgins won comfortably over Dott, posting a 6-2 scorecard at the close of the proceedings. Higgins, who is seeking for his first major ranking title since he won the
Welsh Open in 2018, squeezed a win in the opening frame. However, he was pegged back as soon as the second frame with Dott recording an 86-28 with a half-century break.
The pair continued trading frames and were locked at 2-2 at the close of the fourth frame. It was at this point that Higgins took the game by the scruff of its neck, picking up breaks of 84 and 60 to race to a 5-2 lead.
Dott hardly got back into the game with Higgins romping up to a convincing 6-2 lead. In the quarter-finals already, Higgins is poised to take on either of Michael Holt or world number one, Judd Trump. The winner of that tie is then scheduled to play either of Stephen Maguire, who ensured a slim win over Ding Junhui and three-time world champion Mark Selby who completed a whitewash win over Mark Williams.
Written by: Roland Arum