World champion and world number 1 Mark Selby began the defence of his crown with a stunning 10-2 victory over Fergal O’Brien.
The man known as the Jester raced into a 4-0 lead at the interval making breaks of 50 and 63 along the way but it wasn’t a true tale of the match as Fergal had squandered several glaring chances to put a frame on the board.
After the interval it was Selby who once again pounced on an error by the Irishman and stroked in an excellently taken break of 77 to move into a 5-0 lead.
Frame 6 was a tight affair with Fergal having control for huge parts of the frame! But a routine miss on a brown to the left centre pocket allowed Selby to clear from Yellow to black and in the process take a 6-0 lead.
Selby won frames 7 and 8 without much resistance from Fergal and it was now becoming a day to forget for the former British open champion as he was being smothered by the world champion and was also facing a potential whitewash, But Luckily for Fergal Selby missed a straightforward red into the middle pocket with the balls at his mercy and the Irishman pounced to finally put a frame on the board and end the morning session 8-1 down.
The evening session began with Selby once again bringing his break building prowess to the fore with a sublime break of 92 to move within one frame of victory.
Fergal won the next frame on the pink but Selby was not to be denied as he won a tense 12th frame on the black and will now await the winner of Ryan Day and Xiao Guodong.
Magical Maguire stuns McGill…
Former UK champion Stephen Maguire was in stunning form as he dispatched his fellow countrymen Anthony McGill 10-2 in rapid fashion.
The first 4 frames were shared as both looked players seemed to be in good form! But after the interval the nightmare began for Anthony McGill as he didn’t score a single point in the next 5 frames with Maguire powering in breaks of 50, 59, 60 and 97 to take a 7-2 lead at the interval.
After a morning session to forget for the reigning Indian open Champion McGill was hoping for a fightback in the evening session but it wasn’t to be as Maguire continued where he left off making breaks of 57 and 58 to power to a 10-2 victory.
Gary Wilson gives the rocket plenty to think about…
Gary Wilson fought back from 5-1 down to the end the session at 5-4 and give Ronnie O’Sullivan plenty to think about in the process.
The rocket started like a man in a rush as he powered in breaks 57, 63 and two breaks of 58 to take a 3-0 lead, but credit to the crucible debutant Wilson as he stroked in a stunning break of 54 to reduce the deficit to 3-1 at the interval.
A magical break of 122 followed by a frame won on a re-spotted black gave Ronnie a 5-1 lead and all of a sudden this match was starting to look very one sided, But the man from Newcastle had other ideas as he stroked in breaks of 64 and 63 to close within 2 frames of the 5 times world champion.
Frame 9 was to be the most drama filled frame of the match so far as a smoothly taken break of 63 put Wilson in a position to need snookers and after several attempts to force Ronnie into a mistake a well placed snooker behind the blue offered the rocket no escape and Wilson cleared from yellow to black to win a crucial frame and end the session 5-4 down.
Grace fights back to hang onto Wilson…
David Grace fought back from 5-2 down to end his debut first session at the crucible 5-4 and in the process give Kyren Wilson much to ponder.
Wilson took control of the match in the early stages making breaks 58 and 72 to take a 3-1 lead but after the interval Grace settled much better and made breaks of 75 and 56 to end the session 5-4 down with everything still to play.
Will send over some pictures from today’s play and will also get a sit down interview with Mark Selby to talk about his victory over Fergal.