Mark Selby produced a scintillating performance as he moved into the last 32 of the European Masters with a 4-1 victory against Zhao Xintong on Tuesday.
The world number one hadn’t been at his best so far this season in the run up to Belgium, but fired in an incredible four century breaks as he schooled the talented young Chinese competitor.
It was probably only a matter of time that Selby rediscovered his form during this campaign having dominated the last with five big ranking event wins, including the World Championship, and the “Jester” will be a big favourite to challenge for the title at the weekend in Lommel.
The Englishman will potentially face stiff competition from his rivals, though, as the majority of the higher seeds progressed on the second day of action.
John Higgins whitewashed Alexander Ursenbacher for the second time this term while there were comfortable 4-1 wins for Mark Williams and Judd Trump.
Home favourite Luca Brecel, who captured his maiden ranking crown at the China Championship in August, fought back from 3-2 down to dispatch Thor Chuan Leong in a decider.
It marks the 22 year-old’s second 4-3 clincher of the tournament already, so he’s certainly giving his legion of followers value for money, but Brecel will surely be hoping to grow in confidence as the event progresses.
Anthony McGill and Mark Allen required all seven frames as well before moving into the second round courtesy of triumphs over Joe Swail and Hossein Vafaei respectively.
Allen compiled a wonderful 145 in the process, which currently stands as the highest break of the tournament.
Meanwhile, former world champions Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott enjoyed 4-2 victories.
The only notable casualty was Welshman Ryan Day, with the Riga Masters champion succumbing to a 4-2 loss at the hands of veteran Peter Lines.
Elsewhere, China’s Zhou Yuelong beat Lines’ son Oliver 4-1 while David Gilbert and Mark Davis repeated the scoreline against Sam Baird and Matthew Selt respectively.
Indeed, Alfie Burden, Michael Georgiou, and Jack Lisowski enjoyed similar successes to advance further in the competition.
Among the other names to make it through were Chris Wakelin, Lu Haotian, and the in-form Cao Yupeng – who overcame Noppon Saengkham in a decider.
Live coverage continues on Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)