Mark Selby whitewashed Mark Joyce 6-0 at the MrQ UK Championship in York to set up a last 16 clash with close friend Barry Hawkins, who he is sharing an apartment with this week.
York hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Selby in recent times. He suffered early exits in each of the last two years at the hands of Iran’s Hossein Vafaei. However, he is a two-time winner of the event, having most recently picked up the title in 2016 by beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
The four-time World Champion has enjoyed good form so far this season despite having not yet captured silverware. He was runner-up to Mark Williams at the British Open and made semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters and European Masters. Selby’s defeat in the European Masters came at the hands of his upcoming opponent, Hawkins.
Joyce came through three rounds of qualifying to make it to the final stages, beating Iulian Boiko, Xiao Guodong and Joe Perry to earn a place in York. However, today’s result extends a losing streak against Selby, who he has never beaten. The Jester from Leicester now leads their head-to-head standings 6-0.
This evening’s tie lasted just an hour and 43 minutes, with Selby ruthlessly sprinting for the line. He compiled breaks of 82, 61, 75 and 80 on his way to the whitewash win.
“It is tough, I’ve been on the end of it myself over the years. He’s done brilliantly to qualify and it is massive occasion for him in a great venue. He wants to go out there and put a performance in. He didn’t do too much wrong though,” said 40-year-old Selby.
“Barry will be making me a cup of tea with some cyanide in! I will have to blank him now. It’s a lovely apartment we are in but we are in the next room to each other. At the start of the competition he said that he’d looked at the accommodation and asked if I fancied sharing an apartment. The draw came out for the seeds and we knew if we both won we would play each other. I said to him that I was going to have the apartment all to myself! Barry is a great lad, one of my best friends on the tour and a great player. He is one of the form players so I will need to play somewhere similar to today to compete.”
On the other table, Jamie Jones came through a nerve-shredding encounter with Jack Lisowski 6-4 to set up a second round showdown with 2019 World Champion Judd Trump.
Jones had trailed 2-0, after Lisowski came from behind to take the first and then won the second on a re-spot having fluked the black twice. A break of 101 saw the Welshman get his first frame on the board and he then took the fourth on the pink to restore parity at 2-2.
The fifth frame saw Jones fire in a fine break of 113 to take the lead for the first time at 3-2. The following two frames were traded, before Lisowski claimed a tight eighth to make it 4-4. Jones went on to take the next two in a row and ensure his place in the next round.
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