MARK Selby admitted he was not used to winning big matches and being in the next round by midday after a 4-0 whitewash of a below-par Dominic Dale in Newport.
World No2 Selby took full advantage of the fact his opponent, the recent Shootout champion, had spent the previous 24 hours suffering with a fever.
And any luck that was going in their BetVictor Welsh Open last-32 clash also went the way of the 30-year-old from Leicester in front of Dale’s home crowd.
Dale’s misery was complete in the fourth and final frame of the morning when he snookered himself on the final blue and then went in-off with his escape.
And while Selby’s bid for a second title in south Wales continues Dale heads for the BBC TV studios in his capacity as commentator and pundit.
Selby said: “I don’t normally finish this early, maybe the first time for ages I have played in the morning. It’s nice to be finished, and I may go in to Cardiff this afternoon.
“I fluked a red in the second frame and capitalised, and played solidly. When Dominic did get chances he got horrible run of the ball.
“There were some very good matches even at this last-32 stage, good enough to be semi-finals, and it shows how hard it can be now. I play the winner of Ali Carter and Mark Allen next.
“You expect some shocks but there hadn’t been many big ones up to this point.”
There were big wins for youngsters Joel Walker of Sheffield, and Perth’s Scott Donaldson – both looking for a major breakthrough.
Walker beat Thailand’s experienced James Wattana 4-1 to reach the last 16 of a full ranking event for the first time.
And Donaldson, also 19, came back from the brink against Andrew Higginson to pull off a shock 4-3 victory from 3-1 down, and within a couple of balls of defeat at that stage.
Edinburgh-based Donaldson said: “I am so happy with that performance. At 3-1 down he was 40-odd ahead and the balls were so bad I don’t have a clue how I won that frame.
“I was inspired after that and potted so many that I could have missed.”
Former world champion Shaun Murphy has played himself back into form – but so has Liang Wenbo, and it was the Chinese player who came through 4-3 in their tussle.