Northern Ireland Open snooker results: Ding Junhui and Mark Selby through

Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui kicked off his Northern Ireland Open bid with a facile 4-0 whitewash of Eden Sharav in Milton Keynes.

The reigning UK champion hinted that he was nearing something like his best form at the recent Champion of Champions and again looked in good touch here, reeling off breaks of 72, 62 and 100 in an impressive display.

Having raced into a 2-0 lead, Ding was very nearly made to pay for a missed yellow when Sharav forced his way back into the third frame with a wonderfully-laid snooker before making a mess of the subsequent safety shot and allowing his opponent to finally kill off the frame.

Ding then closed out the match with a fabulous century to set up a meeting with Lu Ning in the last 64.

Selby makes safe progress

Mark Selby maintained his strong recent form with a 4-1 defeat of Andrew Higginson.

Neither were at their best in a scrappy encounter after a protracted first frame, which Selby won, set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Higginson did have his chances in that frame, but Selby quickly doubled his lead thanks to a run of 93 before the next two frames were shared to see the former world number one lead 3-1.

A run of 47 put Selby firmly in command in frame four and though Higginson again had opportunities to get back into the match, he wasn't able to take them as he saw his hopes of a notable scalp fade away.

Elsewhere, Liang Wenbo held off spirited performance from Steven Hallworth to eventually prevail 4-3 while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh saw off Peter Devlin 4-2 and Tom Ford beat Lee Walker by the same score.

The Wizard casts his spell

Barry Hawkins defeated Alan McManus 4-2, while there were also first-round wins for Ali Carter, Matthew Stevens and Stuart Bingham.

In Tuesday’s evening session, Scotland’s four-time world champion John Higgins produced a break of 144 and two more half-century clearances as he went on to beat Daniel Wells 4-0.

Brazilian Igor Figueiredo beat 2006 world champion Graeme Dott 4-2, while Nigel Bond, Barry Pinches and Thai player Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also made it to the second round.

Earlier on Tuesday, Antrim amateur Declan Lavery was forced to withdraw from the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus upon his arrival at the venue where he was due to face 2010 world champion Neil Robertson.

Michael White later progressed to the second round following a 4-0 win over Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko.

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