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Selby – Williams Tie Will Be Tough

Mark Selby admits that Mark Williams was one of the players he wanted to avoid in the opening round as he looks ahead to next week’s Dafabet Masters.

The opening match of the tournament at 1pm on Sunday will see Selby go head to head with Williams; two players with five world titles between them. They also met in the first round at Alexandra Palace last year, Selby edging a 6-5 win thanks to a break of 89 in the last frame.

Williams heads into 2018 full of confidence having won the Northern Ireland Open in November, his first ranking title since 2011.

Selby said: “Mark was one of the players I wanted to avoid in the draw because he has been playing well. We had a great match in the first round last year and I’m sure it will be the same this time.

“Alexandra Palace is one of the best venues on the circuit and all the players strive to play in the big tournaments in front of big crowds.”

The highlight of Selby’s 2017-18 season so far was victory in the International Championship in China in November. But the world number one has not reached the semi-finals of any other tournament this term and suffered a surprise 6-3 defeat against Scott Donaldson in the last 64 of the UK Championship.

“To win five ranking events last season was phenomenal and it was always going to be hard to repeat that,” said Selby. “Just to win one means it is a good season so it was great to win the International. I was disappointed to lose to Scott in York but he played fantastic snooker.”

Leicester’s Selby has won the Masters three times and names his 10-9 final victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2010 as his favourite moment in the tournament. He could meet O’Sullivan in the final this year and is wary of the Rocket’s current form.

“Ronnie is always the man to beat,” added Selby.  “If he turns up and wants to play snooker then more times than not he performs to a really high level and he’s very difficult to beat. It’s no surprise the way he is playing at the moment.”

The Dafabet Masters runs from January 14 to 21 featuring 16 of the world’s top stars, with a top prize of £200,000 up for grabs. Tickets for certain sessions have already SOLD OUT but they are still available for certain matches, for details CLICK HERE