Masters 2014: Mark Selby and John Higgins into quarter-finals

Mark Selby in first-round action

Defending champion Mark Selby survived a Mark Davis fightback as he won their first-round clash at the Masters 6-5.

Selby hit three half-century breaks as he won the first four frames before Davis hit back to trail 5-3 and then forced a decider.

But Selby regained his composure to win a cagey 55-minute final frame after a lengthy safety exchange.

In Sunday's other first round match at Alexandra Palace, John Higgins beat Stuart Bingham 6-2.

Selby, 30, from Leicester, has won the prestigious invitational event, which features the world's top 16 players, three times.

He is aiming to be just the fourth person to successfully defend the title.

He took a 4-0 lead into the mid-session interval against Davis before facing some resistance.

After taking the fifth and sixth frames, Davis had chances to claim the seventh, missing a straightforward red which allowed Selby to go 5-2 up.

Davis then took the next three frames to level the scores, including the tournament's first century in the eighth frame.

The decider was a tense affair with both players missing pots at the start of the frame but Selby finally knocked a red into the middle pocket to move into the quarter-finals.

Higgins built a commanding 5-1 lead in his first round encounter with Bingham.

A brief rally from 37-year-old Basildon-born Bingham saw him cut the deficit to 5-2, but after surviving a late scare with a snooker on the green, Higgins won the next frame to join Selby in the last eight.

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