World Championship 2018 – Day 9 – Higgins and Ding in a rush

The “Middle Sunday” was supposed to be a quiet day for the media with no match scheduled to a finish, but John Higgins had other ideas…

John Higgins completely outplayed Jack Lisowski, beating him by 13-1 and finishing with a session to spare. The funny thing is that, as Alan McManus reflected, John wasn’t playing all that well: Jack had occasions aplenty, especially in the first session. There has never been a whitewash at this stage at the Crucible but yesterday it looked like a real possibility until Jack managed to salvage some pride by winning frame 11. John who played without pressure towards the end of the match made a 146 in frame 13; he was on a maximum, but having lost position on the black, chose for the pink with red n°13.

Ding looked in a hurry as well when he finished the first session 8-0 ahead of Anthony McGill. But Anthony made a fight of it in the evening session, managing to win four frames. It wasn’t pretty, but he’s still in the match. As they return today Ding needs only one more frame…

Mark Williams now leads Robert Milkins by 10-6, neither of them playing well. Ricky Walden and Judd Trump are locked at 8-8. Ricky was the better player out there, or at least the most consistent certainly. Judd had moments of brilliance but overall was quite inconsistent. And his mood appeared to swing from confidence to anxiety all the time. It was quite strange to watch and I don’t think Judd is a contender for the title unless he finds some consistency both in his game and his mood.

There is no play this morning as the tables are recovered.

Afternoon session report by Worldsnooker

John Higgins sealed a crushing 13-1 win over Jack Lisowski to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

The illustrious Scot will be making his 14th appearance in the last eight at the Crucible. He will now face either Judd Trump or Ricky Walden for an opportunity to compete in the one-table setup for the ninth time.

Today’s landslide result has matched the record for the biggest winning margin in a second round tie. The extent of the defeat for Lisowski will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Englishman, although he will be able to look back on a fine 10-7 win over 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham in the first round.

Higgins came into this session having secured a clean sweep of the preceding frames, leading 8-0. He ruthlessly charged towards the finishing line this afternoon, picking up where he left off by taking the first two frames and extending his advantage to 10-0.

Lisowski prevented the whitewash thanks to a break of 81 in frame 11. However, Higgins restored his ten-frame lead at the mid-session after composing a run of 100.

When they returned the four-time World Champion dramatically embarked upon making his first maximum break at the Crucible. However, having potted 11 blacks he fell out of position and was forced to take the pink. Not to be denied a slice of history, Higgins continued with the break and completed a 146 total clearance. It was just the fourth run of 146 at the Crucible and puts Higgins in position for the £10,000 high break prize.

The 30-time ranking event winner then fired in a contribution of 73 to confirm his 13-1 win.

Higgins said: “I don’t think I’ve ever won 13-1. It is probably one of my best results. Jack dismantled me 6-2 at the China Open so I was really up for the game. Next season will be big for him, he’ll be competing and winning in big events.

“It was a bit disappointing I didn’t get the position on the black for a 147. There were people in the crowd saying to try and double the black, but I went for the 146 to try and take the high break prize. £10,000 is a lot of money and if I manage to win it it’ll be great. I know there could still be a 147, so I’m not counting my chickens yet!

“I know you try and stay professional and be ruthless, but I feel for him a little as well. A couple of years ago I played Stephen Hendry and lost heavily, it’s the worst feeling in the world. It’s very tough venue when you’re struggling, the harder you try the worst it gets.”

Afterwards a disappointed Lisowski said that he is hoping that he can learn from the experience.

“I should embrace what happened. I didn’t feel as bad as when Barry Hawkins beat me here in 2013, when I wanted the room to swallow me up. I just had to stick in there, and keep going into the pack and see what happened. I couldn’t get anything going,” said the 26-year-old. “The whole game I thought that I could rattle off a few frames if he started missing. If I could have got some luck, something might have happened, but obviously it didn’t.”

Mark Williams holds a commanding 10-6 lead against Robert Milkins after their second session.

The two-time World Champion Williams came into today with a 5-3 lead. He built upon that this afternoon, taking five out of eight frames with a top break of  69 to edge towards the winning line.

They will play their concluding session tomorrow at 7pm.

Evening session report by Worldsnooker

Judd Trump and Ricky Walden are locked together at 8-8 after two intriguing sessions of snooker at the Betfred World Championship.

Their last meeting came in the 2016 China Open final when Trump eased past Walden with a 10-4 win. This match looks to be destined for a rather closer finish.

They came into tonight’s session tied at 4-4 and the nip and tuck trend continued as the duo once again shared the frames.

It was Walden who set the early pace, taking the first two of the session to move 6-4 in front. The Juddernaut then kicked into gear, making back-to-back century runs of 100 and 103 to restore parity at the mid-session interval.

When they returned Walden took to the front after nailing an incredible double to the middle pocket on the final blue, which was situated on the top cushion. From there they continued to trade frames and will go into tomorrow’s concluding session level. They will play to a finish at 1pm.

Ding Junhui is on the verge of a fourth consecutive quarter-final appearance, leading Anthony McGill 12-4 and requiring just one more frame for victory.

China’s number one produced a scintillating display of snooker this morning to establish an 8-0 advantage. However, McGill was able to share this evening’s frames and avoid losing with a session to spare.

The Scot battled hard this evening despite the hefty deficit and top scored with a run of 97. However, a superb century break of 113 in the final frame from Ding means McGill will now need to win all of the remaining nine frames when they return tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.