Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott all enjoyed impressive victories as the final stages of the 918.com German Masters got underway in Berlin on Wednesday.
World number one Selby eased to a 5-0 win over Steven Hallworth with top breaks of 54 and 88. Selby is defending the title having beaten Shaun Murphy in last year’s final at the Tempodrom and he’s now through to the last 16 as he seeks his first title of the season.
“I kept it tight because I knew Steven would be under pressure today as he has not played many matches on TV before,” said Selby. “I felt good and didn’t miss many easy balls.
“I remember the first time I played on TV I was a nervous wreck, I couldn’t get used to the cameras being there and I missed ball after ball. Steven was a but like that today. He’ll learn from it and push on, he’s only 20 so he’s got time on his side.”
Neil Robertson made his debut as a TV pundit, alongside Eurosport team Matt Smith, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds
Leicester’s Selby will now face Glasgow’s Stephen Maguire, who thumped Ken Doherty 5-1 with top runs of 77, 88 and 57. Maguire, who was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan here in 2012, is racking up some much needed ranking points having slipped out of the world’s top 16.
“Ken wasn’t at the races today and it’s lucky for me that he had an off day,” admitted Maguire. “I played well in the Championship League the other week but this is a ranking event so there’s more pressure. I love this arena, it’s one of my favourite venues and favourite cities. It will be a tough match next against Mark Selby but I’m up for it.”
The best performance of the afternoon came from 2006 World Champion Dott who whitewashed Tian Pengfei 5-0 with runs of 74, 66, 54, 60 and 102. “If I can produce the same form as I did today then hopefully I can string some results together,” said the Larkhall cueman.