Mark Selby enjoyed a perfect start to his season with a 5-0 win over Thai tour rookie Manasawin Phetmalaikul at the BetVictor European Masters in Nuremberg.
This morning’s win was Selby’s first appearance on the World Snooker Tour since losing an epic Crucible final to Luca Brecel 18-15 back in May. He now progresses to the second round, where a clash with Sheffield’s Adam Duffy awaits.
It was Phetmalaikul who made a promising start this morning, firing in a break of 51 to take control of the opener. However, four-time World Champion Selby responded with 75 to clinch the frame and move 1-0 ahead. A contribution of 63 gave Selby the second, before he made it 3-0 by taking a marathon 59-minute third. The Leicester cueman then crafted two breaks of 60 to ease over the line with a 5-0 win.
Over the summer Selby was awarded with an MBE and admits it is an accolade he could scarcely have believed he would receive when he was growing up.
“Coming from a council estate background, not really having much and wearing trousers that didn’t fit me. If you had told me back then that when I got to 40 years old I would be picking up an MBE, I’d probably have laughed at you. I am really proud of my achievements to be given that,” said 22-time ranking event winner Selby.
“It was a shock in the first place to be given one. To go to Windsor Castle with Vikki, Sophia and Vikki’s mum was an amazing experience. Going inside, seeing the place and meeting Princess Anne was nice. She is a lovely lady and said some nice words. She follows the snooker and said commiserations for the world final.”
Last season’s Crucible semi-finalist Si Jiahui held of 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty to win 5-3 and secure his progression.
China’s Si had looked set for a dream maiden world final earlier this year, when he led Luca Brecel 14-5 in the last four. However, Brecel mounted the biggest comeback in Crucible history to emerge a 17-15 winner and land a heartbreaking blow on his opponent. Si will be hoping to bounce back from that defeat with a big run early on this season.
Next up Si faces a potential showdown with defending champion Kyren Wilson, who beat Scotland’s Dean Young 5-1 in their heldover tie this morning. Wilson top scored with 61 and now plays Alfie Burden in the second round.
John Higgins eased through to the last 32 with a 5-1 win over Dylan Emery. The Scot had a chance for a 147 in the final frame, but broke down after missing a black on 73.