Mark Selby came through a tough battle with Ryan Day 5-4 to move into the last eight of the Players Championship in Llandudno.
The world champion was never behind in the match but was challenged by a resilient opponent who has been in top form of late.
Day had come into this tournament in search of a positive outcome with his place among the world’s top 16 and an automatic spot at the World Championship at the forefront of his mind.
The 36 year-old had reached the finals of both the World Grand Prix and the Championship League, as well as the semi-finals of last weekend’s Gibraltar Open, whereas Selby in contrast had suffered a dip since his UK Championship success in December.
But the latter was able to gain a foothold in the contest early on which he never really relinquished despite a dogged effort from the Welshman, who was buoyed on by his home support.
Selby twice led by two frames only to see Day level on each occasion, the latter by forcing a decider, which the “Jester” duly won to set up a clash with Marco Fu.
Fu lost the opening frame in his bout with Anthony McGill but reeled off the next five – snatching two crucial frames either side of the interval – to extend a 100% record against the Scotsmen.
Later in the evening session, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson both advanced unscathed.
Robertson’s progress was surprisingly straightforward as he romped to a whitewash win over Barry Hawkins.
After pinching the opening frame on the black with a 65 break, Robertson never looked back and added further runs of 83 and 123 as he eased to a possible encounter with either Shaun Murphy or Ali Carter.
Trump, meanwhile, scored very heavily as he saw off a valiant effort from Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King.
The 27 year-old, beaten finalist in Gibraltar on Sunday, compiled knocks of 132, 73, two 63s, and a 50 en route to a 5-2 triumph.
Trump’s reward is a mouthwatering encounter with Ronnie O’Sullivan, with the pair set to renew an intriguing rivalry which has already conjured up many fantastic battles.
The duo’s head-to-head record is even but Trump has, perhaps crucially, prevailed in three of their most recent ties which came in finals at the World Grand Prix in 2015, along with the Championship League and European Masters showdowns from last year.
The English pair’s clash will be the first quarter-final on Wednesday evening as the venue transforms into the single table set-up, ensuring the gladiators will have the full attention of the paying crowd from here on out.
Coverage continues on ITV4.
Categories: Snooker News