Selby edges to victory in tense opener

DEFENDING champion Mark Selby was forced to dig deep after beating Mark Davis in a final frame decider to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters.

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Selby, who won the prestigious title last year, appeared to be cruising into the last eight of the famous invitational event when he stormed into a 4-0 lead against the Six Reds world champion.

But Davis showed his true grit and fought back with brilliant resolve, winning five of the next six frames to force a deciding frame shootout.

However, in a long final frame it was Selby who crossed the winning line to set up a quarter-final tie with either Stuart Bingham or John Higgins.

Breaks of 59 and 80 gave the Jester from Leicester a quick 2-0 lead before he dominated the third frame to extend his lead further 3-0.

A comfortable victory then looked on the cards when Selby hit a break of 58 to close the first session 4-0 to the good.

Davis got off the mark after the restart after a nice break of 80 before cutting the deciding black into the middle pocket to reduce his deficit to 4-2.

Selby re-asserted his dominance in frame seven to go 5-2 ahead and on the verge of victory but Davis hit back with the highest break of the match and the first century of the tournament with a break of 136.

Davis continued to keep his slim hopes alive when he fought back from 44 points adrift to make it 5-4 after Selby missed a long red which could have ended the contest.

And Davis forced the match into a nail-biting decider after he dominated frame 10.

But Selby showed his true grit when he came out on top in the final frame. In a scrappy and tense frame, which lasted more than 50 minutes, a break of 38 from the world number two star proved decisive to end a resilient fightback from Davis.

Not at his fluent best by any means, Selby will be relieved to have come through a tough first match.

The first round match between Bingham and Higgins starts at 7pm tonight (Sunday).

2 thoughts on “Selby edges to victory in tense opener

  1. Pingback: Selby admits to losing focus in Masters opener | The Old Green Baize

  2. Pingback: Higgins feeling more confident after cue change | The Old Green Baize

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