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Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Masters 2014 Day One round up.

Day one of the dafabet Masters 2014 at the Alexandra Palace and if the week continues in this vein,we are in for a hell of a week of snooker action.

In this modern era of the game we are getting used to snooker action practically every week of the year,with flat 128 draws becoming the norm,but as we saw with the recent Champion of Champions event,there will always be a place for these tournaments which cater for the games elite and in that sphere they don't come any bigger then The Masters.

The roll call of winners of this event reads like a whose who of snooker over the last 40 years,but noone has a better recent record in then Mark Selby who has claimed the title three times in the last six years.Today he moved a step closer to making it a fourth title but only after coming through an epic tussle with Mark Davis.

What was to come had seemed unlikely early on as Davis struggled to settle and Selby looked to be moving effortlessly through to the Quarter finals taking a 4-0 lead to the interval.Davis managed to get off the mark  on the resumption of play to make it 4-1 before a missed red from Selby in the next allowed Davis to take it to make it 4-2.Selby however still looked in control and won the seventh to move within one of victory at 5-2.
Davis now knew that one more mistake could be fatal so was to his great credit that he managed to take the next with a wonderful 136 break and signs that Selby was just going to struggle to see this out were beginning to become evident as Davis won the next to make it 5-4 and then again showed great bottle to level it up at 5-5.

From here Davis was probably a slight favourite but Selby is nothing if not a fighter and he eventually fell over the line in a lengthy decider to keep his dreams of defending the title he won last year alive.He will need to improve on this you feel if that dream is to become reality next weekend ,but once you are still in the tournament that is always a possibility.

In to the evening session and it is a sign of just how far Stuart Binghams star has risen in the game that,in the eyes of the bookies,he started favourite for his clash with four time world champ John Higgins.

After the drama of the afternoon this one looked,on paper at least,as though it might be another close one,but this was not to prove the case as Higgins showed signs of a return to form beating a below par Bingham 6-2.

The opening two frames in this one were shared before runs of 50 & 94 saw Higgins go to the interval leading 3-1.Further efforts of 65 & 109 saw that lead extend to 5-1 before Bingham stopped the rot with a 91 to make it 5-2.This was only to be a brief stay of execution for the Englishman though,as Higgins won a closely contested eighth to seal a 6-2 win.

This win will provide a welcome boost of confidence for the Scot.who since a soul destroying loss to Murphy here last year has struggled to make an impact in the big tournaments.He will face another test in the next round against Selby but were he to come through that we could start realistically talking of him a title contender again and what a welcome addition that would be to the mix for the res of the season.

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