Mark Selby and Neil Robertson secured last 16 victories to book a BetVictor Northern Ireland quarter-final meeting the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
Leicester’s four-time World Champion Selby earned his progression with a hard fought 4-2 win over Welshman Michael White.
Former two-time ranking event winner White has enjoyed his best week since regaining his place on the professional circuit earlier this year. However, he quickly found himself 2-0 down this afternoon.
Despite his slow start, a break of 72 helped White on his way to two on the bounce to restore parity at 2-2. Selby emphatically responded a stunning contribution of 132 regained him the lead. He then claimed the sixth frame to emerge a 4-2 victor.
“I need to be on top of my game in the quarter-finals and if I am then I have a chance. Neil is a brilliant player and one of the all-time greats of the game,” said 39-year-old Selby. “Me and Neil have won a lot of tournaments and there aren’t that many that we haven’t. This tournament is one of them and I’ll be trying hard to put it on my CV.
“He has a good all round game. WST put on Twitter a question about who the best long potter in the game is and Mark Williams said Neil for certain. I’d agree with that. It gets him out of trouble a lot. He is a difficult player to face. I will give it my best and see what happens.”
Australia’s 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson eased to the last eight with a 4-0 whitewash win over China’s Li Hang.
Robertson fired in breaks of 102 and 60 on his way to booking tomorrow afternoon’s quarter-final encounter with Selby.
Selby and Robertson have met on all of the sport’s biggest stages, with each player scoring significant victories over the other. However, it is Melbourne cueman Robertson who has won their last five meetings and leads the head-to-head 15-8.
They are both hunting a maiden Northern Ireland Open title this weekend. This week is 23-time ranking event winner Robertson’s best ever performance in Belfast, while 20-time ranking event winner Selby made the semi-finals in 2018.
Defending champion Mark Allen will face three-time World Champion Mark Williams in the quarter-finals.
Allen booked his place in the last eight with a 4-0 win over Xiao Guodong, while Williams won a high quality clash with 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire 4-3.
Former Crucible semi-finalist David Gilbert earned his quarter-final spot with a hard fought 4-3 win over Tom Ford. Tamworth’s Gilbert top scored with a fine break of 132. He now faces Zhou Yuelong, who whitewashed Robert Milkins 4-0.
Anthony McGill and Lyu Haotian will meet in the other quarter-final. They scored respective 4-0 wins over Luca Brecel and Tian Pengfei.