Baize Watch: Episode 4

Selby Strikes Down The Thunder

Mark Selby sealed an emphatic 4-0 defeat of Neil Robertson to progress to the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix in Preston.

The world number one looked out of sorts in yesterday’s last 32 clash with Jimmy Robertson. However, he did turn on the style at the crucial moment, by firing in a run of 75 in the decider to win 4-3. Selby carried that momentum over to this afternoon’s clash.

The Thunder from Down Under dropped out of the world’s top 16 for the first time since 2006 last December, but bounced back immediately with victory at the Scottish Open the seven days later. However, this afternoon’s loss marks the end of Robertson’s quest to add to his trophy cabinet this week in Preston.

Selby began the match in commanding fashion, potting a long red from Robertson’s break off in the opening frame and compiling a sublime 134 to move 1-0 ahead. He didn’t take his foot off the gas and further breaks of 56, 68 and 55 helped him to storm to a comfortable whitewash victory.

He’ll face Michael White in the last eight, who eased to a 4-0 win over Joe Perry. Afterwards Selby admitted he was pleased with the improvement shown this afternoon following his first round display.

“I seemed to stamp my authority on the match from the start,” Selby told ITV. “I have pride in my performance and if I’m not playing well I do get down on myself. I think yesterday’s performance was a kick up the backside.”

Ding Junhui also put on a commanding performance to defeat Mark Joyce 4-1 and join Selby in the last eight.

China’s top star is locked with Robertson and Selby on 13 career ranking crowns and will be hoping that he can be the one to claim a 14th this week and move clear.

The two-time UK Champion’s largest contribution of the tie saw him hammer in a break of 134. Joyce takes the consolation of producing the highest break of the tournament so far with a run of 140 and is in line for the £5,000 high break prize if things stay that way.

Ding’s quarter-final opponent will be Anthony McGill, who was clinical in a 4-1 defeat of 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham.

Victory for McGill, who is currently ranked 15th in the one-year list, is an important one in his bid to be one of the 16 players to progress to next month’s Ladbrokes Players Championship. Bingham will now need a strong showing in his defence of the Welsh Open next week to remain in the race to Llandudno.

The Scot rounded off this afternoon’s win in style with a break of 125 to get himself over the line with two frames to spare.