Mark Selby scraped past Mark Williams in the first round of the Dafabet Masters 2017 at Alexandra Palace, London, on Wednesday, as the world champion won a final-frame decider against the Welshman, prevailing 6-5.
Williams was on the brink of victory as he attempted to pot the brown ball, but a huge kick gave control back to Selby, and he took full advantage.
Selby showed his top standard in the final frame, but Williams gave him a huge scare with a classic performance and was unlucky not to progress.
Barry Hawkins convincingly beat Shaun Murphy 6-1 in the evening session, setting up a clash with Selby.
Here are Wednesday's confirmed results:
|Masters Snooker 2017: Wednesday Results|
|Mark Selby||6-5||Mark Williams|
|Barry Hawkins||6-1||Shaun Murphy|
Here is the quarter-final schedule:
|Masters Snooker 2017: Quarter-Final Matches|
|Thursday, Jan. 19||1 p.m.||Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) vs. Neil Robertson (Aus)|
|Thursday, Jan. 19||7 p.m.||Marco Fu (HK) vs. Mark Allen (NI)|
|Friday, Jan. 20||1 p.m.||Barry Hawkins (Eng) vs. Mark Selby|
|Friday, Jan. 20||7 p.m.||Joe Perry (Eng) vs. Ding Junhui (Chn)|
The Masters witnessed yet another classic battle at the Ally Pally, as this year's tournament continued to entertain the public with high-calibre snooker.
Williams was quickest out of the blocks, claiming the first frame against the current best player in the world, hitting a break of 65 as he chipped away at his opponent.
Selby immediately bounced back with three decisive breaks of 139, 62 and 109 to stunt the Welshman's challenge, driving the score to 3-1.
The slow and tactical battle continued as the Welsh Potting Machine clawed his way back with a mixture of safety and precision, and the score was 4-4 after eight frames of world-class snooker.
World Snooker highlighted Williams as he produced vintage form:
World Snooker @WorldSnooker1
Back from behind, @markwil147 is starting pile on the pressure at the palace... Can he turn this around? #DafabetMasters https://t.co/UqwEzxY4Ow2017-1-18 15:30:16
A titanic ninth frame saw both men make multiple visits to the table as the nerves began to show, but it was the world champion from Leicester who snatched the frame by only 12 points.
The match reached the three-hour mark as Selby needed one more frame for victory.
But it was Williams who responded once more, making two sizeable breaks to level the score at 5-5.
World Snooker highlighted Williams' innovation:
World Snooker @WorldSnooker1
There's only one player in the world that can play this shot! #DafabetMasters https://t.co/NwA75r6Cjt2017-1-18 17:06:29
In the final frame, Williams took control of the table and appeared on his way to victory as Selby sat in his chair.
However, a bad kick on the brown allowed Selby to return to the table, just when it appeared he would be eliminated.
The world champion made a high-class break of 89 to fight back and progress, and he takes his place in the quarter-final lineup, where he'll play Hawkins.
Hawkins was impressive in his match, thrashing former world champion Murphy 6-1.
The Hawk made 89 and 79 as he punished Murphy's errors to take the first four frames, and a break of 85 put him one away from victory.
Murphy temporarily rallied, but Hawkins put the result to bed, as he attempts to repeat last year's success—where he reached the final of the competition.