Mark Selby rattled in five breaks over 70 as he stormed to a 5-0 win over Alfie Burden to reach the last 32 of the Bank of Beijing China Open.
World Champion Selby has now made four centuries and six more breaks over 50 in the two matches he has won in the Chinese capital. He now meets Jimmy Robertson or Martin O’Donnell on Wednesday evening, in the last ranking event before he heads to the Crucible.
The Leicester cueman compiled runs of 88, 104, 95, 87 and 74 today as he won in just 61 minutes.
“I played really well,” said world number one Selby. “Every time I got a chance I punished Alfie. I could have had four centuries. The first frame was big because Alfie had a chance and if he’d won that it might have been different.
“I haven’t played as well in the last few weeks as I did in the first half of the season. It would be nice to have a good run this week. The World Championship is less than three weeks away and it’s exciting looking forward to that but I have to focus on the job in hand here in China.”
John Higgins also looked in fine form as he saw off Ian Burns 5-1 with top breaks of 74, 79, 85 and 53. Wishaw’s Higgins has won three titles this season but suffered early exits in a series of tournaments in recent weeks.
“It has been a mixed bag of a season,” admitted the four-time World Champion. “I had a bad defeat against Ding at the Players Championship, being 4-0 up and losing 5-4. I’m trying to get a good run here to build a bit of confidence. You can play pretty well and still lose matches.
“I wasn’t getting too above myself when I was winning or down on myself when I was losing because it’s a long season with ups and down. There are two tournaments left and maybe I can win one of them. Form doesn’t matter that much going into the World Championship because it stands alone and it all depends who plays well over the those 17 days.”
Higgins now meets Mark Davis, who has won their last four meetings. The Scot added: “Mark has been a bogey player for me, I can’t remember the last time I beat him.”
Jimmy White’s hopes of keeping his tour card after 37 years on the circuit took a blow as he lost 5-3 to Michael Holt. White came from 4-1 down to 4-3 but Holt fluked the last red in frame eight and cleared the table. The result means White may need to win his first match in the Betfred World Championship qualifiers to retain his pro status.
Rory McLeod scored a surprise 5-2 win over China’s Liang Wenbo with a top break of 108 while Kyren Wilson top scored with 101 in a 5-3 win over Xiao Guodong.