Yesterday saw the conclusion of the first round at the Crucible and the start of the last 16. We lost another seed in Jack Lisowski. Bizarely all four seeds who lost in the last 32 were in the bottom half of the draw. The top half now presents a very strong line-up.
Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:
Ali Carter put on a steely display to beat Jack Lisowski 10-6 in the opening round of the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield.
World number 19 Carter, who came through qualifying to book his Crucible place, is making a 17th consecutive appearance at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams. That run is made even more impressive by the fact that Carter has battled and beaten cancer twice during that period and suffers from Crohn’s disease.
39-year-old Carter, nicknamed the Captain, enjoyed a memorable result last year at the Crucible, defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in a fiery second round encounter. He was then beaten by eventual winner Mark Williams in the quarter-finals. Carter is a two-time World Championship finalist, he was runner-up to O’Sullivan in 2008 and 2012.
Lisowski arrived in Sheffield as a seeded player for the first time in his career this week. A fine season, where he has reached finals at the Riga Masters and the recent China Open, has seen him ascend to 11th in the world. However, it was Carter who proved to be too strong in the Crucible cauldron this afternoon.
Carter edged to a narrow 5-4 advantage after yesterday evening’s opening session. When the pair came out today, Essex cueist Carter ramped up the pressure on Lisowski.
He took the opening two frames, before a break of 73 made it 8-4. Carter then claimed a tight 13thframe on the colours to make it four on the bounce and move one from victory at 9-4.
Carter had then looked set to wrap up the tie, after a stunning long range green set up an opportunity to clear the colours. However, he missed a difficult black with the rest and left it over the pocket for Lisowski to make it 9-5.
Gloucester’s Lisowski then turned on the heat with a century run of 124 to close within three frames at 9-6. However, a break of 46 helped Carter to get over the line and book a second round meeting with China’s Zhou Yuelong.
“Jack is so talented, he’s such a great young player. He has a lot of special moments to come here, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve never seen a talent like him apart from Ronnie O’Sullivan,” said Carter. “It was a horrible match because me and Jack have been through similar sorts of things and he is a really good friend.
“Zhou Yuelong is another tough young opponent. I am looking forward to that match and to the challenge. You have to relish it out there. It is tough, but it’s what we all play snooker for.
“There have obviously been a few shocks this year. Ronnie got beat and he didn’t really look up for it to be honest. That was very strange, but he is under a lot of pressure.”
Lisowski said: “I’m pretty gutted. I just didn’t quite get into it today. I definitely didn’t have the run of the ball. I was just hanging on yesterday and hoping I could put him under a bit of pressure. He was probably the worst draw out of the 16 qualifiers that I could have got. I knew I had to be on it and I was quite impressed with how he played. It has been a good season for me. I can have a break now and come back stronger next season.”
For once Ali looked cheerful 😉 It’s all happening at the Crucible!
Meanwhile on the other table Shaun Murphy missed a chance for a maximum. He makes the headlines but trails Neil Robertson by 5-3 at the end of their first session
Murphy trails Neil Robertson 5-3 after the first session of their second round clash at the Betfred World Championship.
In the last frame of the session, Murphy potted the first 14 reds with blacks, but then failed to convert a tricky final red to a centre pocket.
Only Cliff Thorburn, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and Ali Carter have made maximum breaks at the Crucible, and the last 147 was from Hendry in 2012. The prize for a maximum is £50,000 plus the £10,000 high break prize.
Robertson took the first three frames of a high quality session with top breaks of 106 and 79. Murphy pulled one back and made a 53 in the next, only for his opponent to snatch it with a 57 clearance.
A 109 from 2005 World Champion Murphy made it 4-2, then 2010 Crucible king Robertson replied with a 127. Murphy’s 112 in the last frame was the fourth century of the session. They play eight more frames at 10am on Friday with the conclusion from 7pm on Friday; first to 13 goes through to the quarter-finals.
Here is the attempt:
Shaun actually played better than I expected, but Neil looks definitely the strongest player in the field.
Kyren Wilson booked his second round spot at the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield with a 10-4 defeat of Scott Donaldson.
World number eight Wilson has shown his Crucible pedigree in recent years. The Warrior reached his maiden World Championship semi-final 12 months ago. On that occasion Wilson fell short against John Higgins by a 17-13 scoreline. He also made the quarter-finals in the two years prior to that.
Donaldson was making his Crucible debut, having come through qualifying for the first time. The Scot won an epic deciding frame with China’s Lu Ning. He had held a 9-4 advantage, before Lu clawed his way back to level. However, Donaldson managed to claim a 67-minute final frame to win 10-9.
It was Donaldson who required a fightback this evening, after trailing 6-2 following the first session. The Perth potter did take the opening frame with a break of 63, but the turnaround never fully materialised.
Wilson won the following two frames to make it 8-3, with Donaldson taking the last before the mid-session to go in at 8-4. When they returned Wilson powered over the line. He made breaks of 63, 52 and 55 on his way to completing the 10-4 win. He will now face Barry Hawkins up next for a place in the quarter-finals.
27-year-old Wilson said: “That was a potential banana skin avoided. I think that’s the best way to sum it up. I was on a bit of a hiding to nothing playing Scott, who is a debutant. Firstly I would just like to say I think he handled himself very well, was very professional and I’m sure he will be back here again for many years to come. For me, I’m very pleased to get the win.
“Barry Hawkins is a fantastic match player. He has a brilliant record at the Crucible and I think the only thing missing from his resume is the trophy. It is going to be a very tough game. I think there is going to be a lot of tactical play, as we try to out manoeuvre each other.”
Donaldson said: “I was beaten by the better player. My cue ball was all over the place in the first session, understandably given it was my first time here. I really enjoyed the second session tonight, so I’ll go away happy to be honest. I know what to expect if I get here again.”
On the other table, three-time champion Mark Selby slipped 5-3 behind against Gary Wilson in the first session of their second round match.
World number 32 Wilson is playing in the last 16 at the Crucible for the first time but has impressed so far against an opponent ranked 30 places higher.
Breaks of 55, 68 and 100 helped Wilson take a 3-1 lead. The next two frames were shared, then Selby made a 72 to close the gap to 4-3. And Selby looked favourite in the last of the session when he led 53-0, but Wilson snatched it with runs of 39 and 24 to take an overnight lead.
They play eight more frames at 2.30pm on Friday, with the final session at 10am on Saturday
The match was much closer than the score suggests. A lot of frames came to the colours. Kyren will not be entirely happy with his form just yet, but he’s still in the draw and it all that matters.
Yesterday I mini-previewed the two last 16 matches that had to start on thr day. I’m on the right track with that for now at least.
Now about the six other matches:
Mark Williams v David Gilbert
A lot will depend on how well Mark Williams will play. In his first round he was solid enough but still gifting his opponent more opportunities than he would like. If he does that against David Gilbert he will be in trouble. This match to go to the last mini-session.
Barry Hawkins v Kyren Wilson
Barry Hawkins always seems to come to his best at the Crucible and this year looks no different. Unless Kyren Wilson improves massively I can’t see him go past the “Crucible Specialist”. Barry Hawkins – 13-8.
John Higgins v Stuart Bingham
This one is impossible to call for me. I haven’t watched John Higgins so I’m not sure how he plays. What is sure though is that Stuart Bingham can’t allow to lose 7 frames on the bounce in this match! Because he did that in the first round, I make John Higgins favourite.
Ali Carter v Zhou Yuelong
Zhou Yuelong was impressive in the first round. He’s much more mature than his age would suggest. He’s a match player too and a good one. Will he have enough against an experiences campaigner like Ali? Not sure. Ali Carter – 13-9.
Judd Trump v Ding Junhui
Now this is the tie of the round! If I’d had to predict this before a ball was struck at the Crucible, I’d have made Judd a huge favourite. However, after watching them both in the last 32 – with Judd taken to a decider and lucky to go through – I now favour Ding. Ding Junhui – 13-9.
Stephen Maguire v James Cahill
James Cahill played with freedom against Ronnie. He had achieved more than anyone expected already, by qualifying as an amateur and securing his professional status for the coming season. He’s a much better player than his “amateur” status suggests as Judd Trump told the press: “From what I’ve seen of James Cahill, no exaggeration, his cue action is up there with anyone I’ve ever seen. ‘He’s so smooth. He really believes in himself, if he cut out those easy balls he missed he would have won very comfortably yesterday.”. Don’t forget that they both were managed by Grove for four years. He would know. But now that James got this far, expectations will be on him and he didn’t downplay them. Will that work for him? Not sure. Stephen Maguire 13-8.