Selby looking set for stylish start to Ally Pally campaign
Jester won't be messing around
BBC2 & Eurosport 2, 1pm & 7pm Wednesday
World number one Mark Selby kicks off his Masters campaign this afternoon and bids to become only the fourth player in history to hold the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters titles at the same time.
The Jester from Leicester tackles 41-year-old Mark Williams and is expected to come through relatively unscathed.
Williams has fared better than most against Selby down the years, but his recent Masters record has been poor.
On his last four appearances in the event – in 2016, 2013, 2012 and 2011 – he has won only two matches.
Selby continues his domination at the top of the ranking ladder, sitting £477,930 clear, and he looks set to remain at the summit for at least another two years.
He is fancied to go all the way this week at Alexandra Palace and can breeze through.
The evening match is likely to be far more competitive, as Masters specialist Shaun Murphy tackles world number 12 Barry Hawkins.
Despite Murphy’s last-16 loss to Mark Allen last year, he still boasts an impressive record since the tournament moved from Wembley Arena in 2012.
The Magician landed the title two years ago, but has also twice been a semi-finalist and was runner-up five years ago.
He dominates Hawkins 9-2 on the head-to-heads but two of the last three meetings between these two have gone the distance.
This one could well follow suit, but Murphy is expected to eventually emerge as the winner.
M Selby -2.5 frames
1pt 21-20 BoyleSports
S Murphy to win 6-5
1pt 13-2 Betfair, Coral, Hills
S Murphy to win 6-4
1pt 6-1 Betfair, Coral