MARK SELBY overcame some stubborn resistance from Dave Harold to reach the last 32 of the BetVictor Welsh Open on Monday night.
And the three-time Masters champion will now have a day off in Newport before taking on one of the home hopes Dominic Dale on Wednesday for a place in the last 16.
The tournament in Wales provided world No2 Selby, 30, with his first ranking title of three six years ago, when he famously came back from 8-5 down to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in a classic final.
And after a 4-1 victory the Leicester player admitted that he now felt truly involved in the event, and that the match could have gone very differently had he not potted a re-spotted black in the fourth frame.
Selby said: “It wasn’t a great match and neither of us played well. Dave looked to be going 2-2 and if he pots the yellow it is a great break.
“Had that happened who knows what could have happened, it could have been a different game, but I managed to get back into it and get the re-spot to go 3-1 up.
“After that it was quite comfortable. The whole point in these early rounds is to get over the line and the longer the tournament goes on you want to play yourself into some betterform.
“With the best of sevens if you don’t get off to a good start you could be going home.
“Dominic has been a top player for years and has won two ranking events so that is obviously going to be a tough match. He can play and is a little bit daft as well, so you have to overcome two things.”
Dale ‘s win over Dechawat Poomjaeng in the morning one of three popular wins for Welsh players by tea-time.
Andrew Pagett beat Gerrard Greene 4-3 to set up a clash with defending champion Stephen Maguire, and former UK and Masters champion Matthew Stevens, who will play Joe Perry next, coming past Ian Burns 4-2.
Mark Allen, the reigning Haikou World Open champion set to go and defend his title in China after this event, knocked in back to back century breaks in beating Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 4-2.
And there was another excellent 4-1 win for Perth’s 19-year-old Scott Donaldson over David Gilbert following on from a shock first-round victory over Rob Milkins. He will now face Andrew Higginson for a place in the last 16.
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu was also impressive in his 4-1 win over London-born Norwegian Kurt Maflin.