Judd Trump made a statement of intent with a 4-1 win over Sunny Akani in the second round of the Gibraltar Open.
With Mark Selby, the only man who can prevent Trump scooping the European Series bonus, edging through earlier in the day - the world number one responded with an impressive performance.
He knocked in a century in the opener, got the better of Akani in a tight second and responded to his opponent taking a frame with a clinical finish to the match.
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The Gibraltar Open title is an impressive one in its own right, but the semi-final between Trump and Selby - should they progress to the last four - would have a deal of spice on it; £150,000 to be precise.
Trump made a blistering start to the contest. He knocked in a fine long red to get underway and showed excellent cue-ball control that had been lacking in recent weeks with a superb 124, his 63rd century of the season.
‘You can’t teach it’ – Trump makes century number 64 of the season
The second was a scrappy affair, but Trump’s craft proved the difference. The balls were scattered around the table with Akani in front on the scoreboard, but the defending champion kept chipping away and pounced to clear the colours after his opponent unfortunately went in-off.
Akani got himself in the match when crafting a fine break of 75 in the third frame, but Trump hit back with a second 124 break of the match to move within one frame of the third round.
The world number one closed out the match one frame later with a break of 55, stepping in after Akani had broken down when in the balls, and will head into the second half of the event with a spring in his step.
Stephen Hendry’s conqueror Matthew Selt advanced to the third round with a 4-3 win over Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden beat Si Jiahui by the same scoreline, as did Chen Zifan against Leo Fernandez - and Joe Perry was a 4-2 winner over Scott Donaldson.
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Northern Ireland Open
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