Only some hours after the Champion of Champions, the Northern Ireland Open kicked off. It’s a long seamless stretch of entertainment for lovers of the sport as they are treated to the best of billiards games.
Mark Selby was one out of several others who gained entry into the second round of the event. The Jester from Leicester shared the opening two frames in Belfast with his 21-year-old opponent, Xu Si. It was a cagey one that one!
His opponent Xu Si was gifted the chance to go 3-1 up and heap the pressure on Selby, but he couldn’t quite make the cut, missing on the black. His English opponent isn’t so profligate and takes the fourth frame to ease the pressure.
At 2-2, Selby had successfully avoided some real damage by levelling matters after four frames. Mark Selby might have thought it to be a walk in the park for him, but Xu si is proving to be a real thorn in its flesh.
Luckily for Selby, he came out tops in the end. After just over half an hour, the Englishman claimed his ticket into the next round, running over 4-2 winner over his 21-year-old. Only a while ago was he close to falling behind 3-1, but he claimed an emphatic win to secure safe passage into the next round of the event.
Elsewhere, Ding Junhui who is widely considered to be the most successful Asian snooker professional, put himself in shape to take on world No 123 David Lilley.
After two frames, it seemed likely that Lilley who won just six ranking matches in his career was destined to win and could do so in scintillating style.
Lilley led 2-0 after two frames, shocking all who had their eyes feasted on his table. That said, most of them would admit they had this tiny faith that Ding Junhui would come back strong.
However, it was Lilley who claimed the third frame once more. He won all three frames with breaks of 96, 82 and 84.
Junhui fought back to claim two frames before Lilley put the cherry on the icing, claiming the last win and sealing a high-profile win.
Written by: Roland Arum