Mark Selby produced an outstanding maximum break on his way to a commanding victory over Jack Lisowski at the British Open.
Playing some of his best snooker, Selby advanced to the quarter-finals in Milton Keynes with a 4-1 third round win.
The 39-year-old got off to a quite superb start, compiling the fourth 147 of his professional career, and rarely looked back in a potting display of both exceptional confidence and competence.
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The maximum break, Selby’s first since 2018, came in the opening frame.
A somewhat uninviting spread of reds proved little barrier to the nine-time Triple Crown winner, reds then blacks dropping with typically assured precision.
There was only one fright - attempting to work into position for a red near the bottom cushion, Selby appeared to have been left without a clear potting opportunity after misjudging his shot on the black.
But Selby produced a perfectly-judged treble into a middle pocket to continue his pursuit, putting away the final two reds and moving up the table to begin to clean up with the colours, excepting the green, all spotted.
As the yellow made safe passage into the heart of the pocket there appeared little doubt that the rest of the colours would follow, the black the last to drop to an ovation from the Marshall Arena.
In it went to rapturous applause, with Lisowski joining the crowd in rising from his seat with a smile and a congratulatory handshake.
The next frame was rather tighter. Both players squandered opportunities to build breaks of substance and could not be parted on 57 apiece.
That triggered a respotted black and a one-ball showdown, with Selby again taking the frame after nifty use of a cushion.
On this occasion it was only a double required, with the black buried to double the 39-year-old’s lead.
And Selby further consolidated his position of strength in the next frame, pouncing again on a Lisowski error having been amongst the balls.
That allowed the four-time world champion to move into an eleven-point advantage before failing to fully dislodge a red from the side cushion.
A clever safety and fortunate snooker forced his opponent to err again, and a guided long red set Selby up to tick into a 3-0 lead.
Lisowski got on the board in the fourth frame, exploring all corners of the table on his way to a delightful, if demanding, clearance of 119.
But it proved only temporary respite, Selby’s first chance in the fifth frame proving Lisowski’s last.
A missed blue knocked Selby’s pot success percentage down to 98%, but not before a second century break of the match (117) had been compiled to book Selby’s place in the last eight.
Selby is in line to earn £5,000 for the British Open's highest break - both Andy Hicks and David Grace had made 143 earlier in the competition - and is the 12th player in snooker history to make four or more official 147 breaks.
Selby's three previous in-competition maximums were made at the 2009 Jiangsu Classic, the 2018 Champion of Champions tournament and, memorably, in the semi-final of the 2013 UK Championship.
The 39-year-old's 147 against Ricky Walden was snooker's 100th officially recognised maximum break in professional competition, earning Selby £55,000 and helping to ensure his progression into the final. There have now been three maximums during the 2022-23 snooker season, and 179 in all.
Selby will face a familiar foe in the form of Mark Allen in the last eight.
Lyu Hiotian made swift progress into the quarter-finals with a speedy 4-1 victory over Matthew Stevens.
A brilliant 141 was the highlight of a strong performance from Lyu, who sealed his place in the last eight with a second century of the match.
Lyu’s quarter-final opponent will be Robbie Williams, who survived a significant scare against Steven Hallworth, the last remaining amateur in the tournament.
Breaks of 96, 50 and 94 had Hallworth on the verge of a quarter-final place but Williams hit back to force a decider, taking it with an emphatic 134 clearance.
Also through is Jamie Jones, who beat Ben Woollaston 4-2 in a long, back-and-forth encounter.
Jones’ superlative second-frame 139, somewhat remarkably only the third highest break of the early window of the evening session, opened a strong early advantage for the Welshman, but Woollaston was able to twice peg him back and almost forced a decider.
Jones eventually found enough in the sixth, though, and will face Noppon Saengkham next.
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