World champion Mark Selby digs deep to beat Scott Donaldson in epic clash

World champion Mark Selby had to use all his grinding qualities he is famous for to clinch a hard-fought first round win in the English Open.

A huge shock looked to be on the cards when Scotsman Scott Donaldson impressed his way to a stunning 3-2 lead against the reigning world champion and current world number one.

But the Jester from Leicester showed his top class when he levelled the match with a sublime break of 124 to force a deciding frame finale.

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Selby then had the better of the hand of the young Scotsman, who made the semi-finals of the Welsh Open last season,  taking advantage of a safety error from the 23-year-old deep into the frame.

Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan had a more easier time on the baize as he coasted through his first round match against Zhang Anda, winning 4-1.

However O’Sullivan appeared to be in some slight pain with a sprained ankle which forced him to wear trainers throughout his opening round win.

After the match he told Eurosport’s Andy Goldstein: “I sprained it but it’s alright. I didn’t think I was going to play this morning because I couldn’t walk properly but I went down the academy and hit a few balls  and it was alright.

“I had the Sheffield United physios have a look at it, bandage it up and give it a bit of treatment. I can walk anyway.

“I’ve had it strapped up so I’ve not been able to get my shoes on. If I can take my strapping off then I’ll be able to put my shoes on but at the moment the strapping is so deep I need a big shoe.”

Ding Junhui also cruised to a well deserved 4-1 win over Christopher Keogan and this season’s inform man Luca Brecel beat Ryan Day by the same scoreline to set up a cracking tie against Mark Williams.

Neil Robertson, who needs a successful couple of months to be in with a shout of qualifying for The Masters in January, looked in good form with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Billy Joe Castle.

ENGLISH OPEN – SECOND ROUND DRAW

Liang Wenbo vs Tom Ford
Jamie Jones vs Yan Bingtao
Anthony McGill vs Lyu Haotian
Akani Songsermsawad vs Joe Swail
Jimmy Robertson vs Gary Wilson
Li Hang vs Neil Robertson
Ian Preece vs Aditya Mehta
Chen Zifan vs Barry Hawkins
Judd Trump vs Mark Joyce
Matthew Stevens vs David Gilbert
Luca Brecel vs Mark Williams
Li Yuan vs Jack Lisowski
Rhys Clark vs Zhang Yong
Mark Davis vs Ronnie O’Sullivan
Robert Milkins vs Ashley Hugill
Matthew Selt vs John Higgins
Ding Junhui vs Michael White
Craig Steadman vs Ben Woollaston
Ali Carter vs James Wattana
John Astley vs Yuan Sijun
Gerard Greene vs Alexander Ursenbacher
Stuart Carrington vs Mark Allen
Liam Highfield vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Daniel Wells vs Shaun Murphy
Tian Pengfei vs Hammad Miah
Mitchell Mann vs Andrew Higginson
Stuart Bingham vs Fang Xiongman
Zhao Xintong vs Hossein Vafaei
Thor Chuan Leong vs Cao Yupeng
Mike Dunn vs Kyren Wilson
Xiao Guodong vs Jak Jones or Ricky Walden
Ross Muir vs Mark Selby

 

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