Of course the powers that be did their best last year to destroy this great tournament by cramming 64 players into the 5 day event,but at least this year they've learnt their lesson,with two qualifying rounds in England pre-christmas reducing the field in Germany to a much more manageable 32.
First up on the main table this afternoon we had Mark Selby taking on Anthony McGill.World Champion Selby has not been pulling up any trees this season and his decision the go to China last week for a Chinese Pool tournament,just before the busiest period of the season seemed a strange one.
He did travel there though and having narrowly lost the final his preparation time for this was short.That said though he looked to be comfortably easing his way though when he took the fifth frame to lead 4-1.Back came McGill though and runs of 66.88.& 65 brought the Scot level to force the decider. That turned out to be a scrappy affair which Selby won to sneak into the last 16.
There his opponent will be Peter Ebdon who produced his very best snooker in defeating John Higgins 5-2. This defeat puts Higgins dangerously close to having to qualify for the Crucible and the four times champ will have to find some form soon if he is to avoid that indignity.
Judd Trump & Neil Robertson both eased through without the loss of a frame,each record 5-0 wins over Michael Holt & Fergal O'Brien respectively
Next up for Trump is Martin Gould who held off a determined effort from the amateur Ashton Carty 5-3.Robertson will face Xiao Guodong who produced a real gutsy display,taking the last two frames from well behind in each to beat Liam Highfield 5-4.
Finally Stephen Maguire held off a late rally from David Gilbert to progress by a scoreline of 5-3.He will now face Mark King who perhaps provided the days biggest shock beating Barry Hawkins 5-3.