The 2014 Masters (Day 1) - Selby's drama and Higgins's return to shape

00:35:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Selby reaches the quarter-finals
A very interesting start here at Ally Pally for this year's edition of the prestigious Masters tournament. It all started with a pure drama featuring the names of the defending champion, Mark Selby and his namesake, Mark Davis and ended with a revived John Higgins who took on Stuart Bingham.

But first things, first: the defending champion and his rival - Mark Selby and Mark Davis. Who would have thought that this was to end on a decider? I know I didn't. Especially since the "Jester" seemed to be in control of the match ... well, at least part of it.

Furious and decided to retain his title, Selby started his match by firing in breaks of 59, 80, 22, 36, 35 and 58, enough to see him go 4-0 ahead of a flabbergasted Mark Davis.

Great comeback from Mark Davis, but not enough
But as the mid-session interval was coming to an end (yeah, it started a bit late because there was some shitty situation regarding the earpieces that weren't properly sending the voices of Dennis Taylor and Stephen Hendry through the public's ears, so each mini-break when the ref Paul Collier was re-arranging the table was prolonged due to this issue). So where was I? Oh yeah, the mid-session interval was coming to an end .... right, so Davis decided to take his chance and try a comeback.

Breaks of 80, 43 and 20 helped him win two frames (the second frame was dramatically won on the black) before Selby launched himself to go just one away from victory, at 5-2.

The earpieces situation
And that's when all hell broke loose and Selby lost his concentration, Davis pushing his luck and hitting a marvellous 136 break to go two frames behind and using runs of 49, 62 and 61 to force the decider.

Please note that frame nine was also won on the black. This was becoming the leitmotiv of the first day.

A scrappy and very tense decider saw both players taking turns at the table, in the end though, Selby managing to keep himself in the run for the trophy and winning 6-5 over Mark Davis.

Second match of the day featured the favourite-to-win Stuart Bingham, taking on a pretty rusty John Higgins. But that were just the headlines of an old story, for today Bingham was the one unable to settle in and Higgins was the one rocking around the snooker table.

Higgins's back on track?
Runs of 31 and 38 were breaking the ice for the Scottish player, but Bingham was sure to respond back in time with a top break of 48 and tie at one apiece. Please note that Stu won this frame on the black. Déjà vu?

However everything seemed to fall apart for the Englishman as from this point on the stage was Higgins's. Each ball seemed to answer to John's will and each time Bingham was making a mistake John was practically feeding on it.

That's how with an almost perfect cue action, Higgins managed to hit in breaks of 50, 94, 65 and 109 to go one step closer to the finish-line, at 5-1.

One very disappointed Stuart Bingham
Bingham put on quite an effort and won one more frame with a great 91 break, but in the end, although the last frame was pure torture and it lasted more than any other frames of the match, Higgins capitalized and ended the snooker affair with a final scoreline of 6-2.

After seeing Higgins playing that last frame, which was a reminder of how Selby usually plays, I can't help of smiling of the prospect that these two will meet in the quarter-finals.

On Monday the cue action continues with two more matches, as it follows:

1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu
7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry

*UK time