Mark Selby got the defence of his Betfred World Championship title off to a thunderous start, as he charged to an 8-1 lead over Fergal O’Brien in their best of 19 encounter.
It’s customary for last year’s winner to get proceedings underway on the opening morning and the Crucible crowd were treated to a vintage display from Selby at the start of the 40th running of the tournament in Sheffield.
Fergal O’Brien took part in the longest ever frame in his decider with David Gilbert in the final round of qualifying. However, the Jester wasn’t hanging around at the start of this 17-day marathon. He charged to a 4-0 advantage before the interval.
When they returned from the break he doubled that to go 8-0 up with breaks of 50, 63 and 77. He looked in position to inflict only the second ever whitewash to take place at the Crucible. However, O’Brien took the final frame of the session to make it 8-1.
Stephen Maguire imposed himself on a Scottish derby with Anthony McGill to establish a 7-2 advantage. Prior to the interval the frames were split at 2-2, but when they returned Maguire produced a remarkable burst.
He won the following five in a row, compiling 419 points without reply and preventing his opponent from even potting a ball in the mini-session. The record at the Crucible for unanswered points currently stands at 485, set by four-time champion John Higgins. There were breaks of 66, 97, 60, 50 and 59 for Maguire.
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