Day 4 at the The Betfair Masters and today we saw the first round draw to a conclusion in pretty much the same dramatic manner we have become used to over the last few days.
First up today was a battle between two Welshmen who it's probably fair to say are in the veteran stages of their careers as Mark Williams faced Matthew Stevens.Sport can be a funny thing, get someone playing at the top of their game and it can often inspire their their opponent to do the same,get someone who is struggling and it can bring down their opponents performance and that was definately the case this afternoon in the error strewn match.
Both players played so poorly at times today it is hard to sum up what happened but for Matthew Stevens it boiled down to a tale of two browns.The first of these came in the fourth frame when after a series of misses,a characteristic of the match as a whole,Stevens missed an easy brown that would have given him a 4-0.Williams took advantage to win his first frame and have it 3-1 at the interval.
Stevens managed to win the next to make it 4-1 but the brown ball came back to haunt him again in the next as he missed a golden chance to make it 5-1 and Williams again capitalised to close to 4-2.He then won the next to close to 4-3 before a miscue by Stevens in the next allowed William to make it level at 4-4.Williams was now in the ascendancy and he kept up the momentum to record a 6-4 victory and round off a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Stevens.
Williams will be happy to be still in the tournament but knows he will have to up his game against his quarter final opponent Mark Selby, who put himself and his supporters through the wringer once again as he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Stuart Bingham in another dramatic night at the Ally Pally.
Things had started well for Selby as he took the opening frame and was well placed in the second before Bingham countered to level at 1-1.Bingham is a man who plays with a lot of confidence these days and it showed as he opened glided around the table to open a 4-1 lead.The sixth appeared to be the key moment of the match as an absorbing 25 minute safety battle on the green resulted in Bingham doing enough to win the frame and move within one of a famous victory 5-1.
A blow like that would have been enough to finish off most players, but Selby is not most players and from here a most extraordinary thing happened.Bingham who had looked ultra confident started to miss a few and Selby began to fight back.5-1 became 5-2 then 5-3 as Bingham appeared to be trying to force his way over the line instead if letting it come naturally.Selby was now in the zone and as he won the next two to make it 5-5 and force a decider there was only going to be one winner.He duly completed his amazing comeback to seal a 6-5 victory and finish off what has been an an extraordinary first round of matches.
Tomorrow see the start of the quarter final action with Neil Robertson taking on Mark Allen in the afternoon followed by John Higgins and Shaun Murphy facing off in the evening.After the week we've had so far we can only imagine what lies ahead of us over the next few days but one thing for sure is that it wont be any less exciting.