Judd Trump and Mark Selby eased into the second round of the Players Championship Grand Final on Wednesday after comfortable 4-0 whitewash wins in Bangkok.
Trump continued his run of form that saw him crowned the inaugural World Grand Prix champion last Sunday when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7 in the final, and his opening victory in Thailand sets up a clash with Mark King.
Selby, meanwhile, will be pleased to have jumped his first hurdle easily with a much more difficult tie in store today with another Welshman, Mark Williams.
40 year-old Williams has been in great form over the last few months without any great deal of silverware to brag about – the World Seniors Championship aside – but was in scintillating form against home favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh yesterday.
Breaks of 106, 73 and 81 saw Williams, three times a ranking event winner in the Land of Smiles, race into a 3-0 lead before a 57 in the fifth frame helped him to a 4-1 triumph.
Meanwhile, Williams’ progression in the tournament will be sour reading for the likes of Robert Milkins and Michael White, two of the chasing pack attempting to break into the world’s top 15 before the World Championship seeding cut-off.
Milkins exited early on Tuesday while White suffered a narrow 4-3 loss at the hands of Martin Gould on day two, so both will be relying on a deep run at the upcoming China Open to have any chance of overtaking Williams or Stephen Maguire.
Elsewhere, 2011 champion Shaun Murphy battled to a 4-2 success over Rod Lawler while Stuart Bingham, Mark Davis and Anthony McGill also advanced to the last 16.
Today, the quarter-final places will be decided.
As already alluded to, the encounter between Marks Selby and Williams is the most eye-catching affair but there is also an intriguing contest between former fierce rivals Bingham and Mark Allen as well.