Crucible 2019 – Day 9

There was no play to a finish yesterday. Life got in the way of snooker and I only managed to watch Ding v Trump and the evening part of Hawkins v Wilson.

I was very pleased to see Ding starting to play the way he can. He’s a beautiful player to watch when on form. Judd appeared anxious and tentative. From 5-1 up at a point he’s now 9-7 down and I really hope that Ding will finish the job tonight.; that would be a much-needed confidence boost. Steve Davis in the Winter Garden suggested that Judd Trump wasn’t dealing too well with the expectations that are now firmly on his shoulders, with Ronnie and Mark Selby both out. That’s very likely true and it’s made worse by his own brazen attitude and apparent arrogance. I’m not sure why he gives this image of himself, because the Judd Trump I have met several times outside the context of a match or the media room isn’t that person.

The second session of the Barry Hawkins v Kyren Wilson match wasn’t of the highest quality, but entertaining. Surely this wasn’t the Hawkins who had four centuries in the morning including a 147 attempt:

2019 WSC: Barry Hawkins 147 attempt – Kyren Wilson

Kyren Wilson himself was far from perfect. He’s a great potter but spends a lot of energy chasing the balls because his positional game is below what is expected from a top 16 player. He could have finished the session level or even in front. His determination and fighting spirit, on the other hand, are admirable. His nickname – the Warrior – is totally appropriate. That said, if Barry returns anywhere to the form he’s shown yesterday morning, it will be difficult for Kyren to win the last session by 6-3 or better, which is what he requires.

As I wrote above, I saw nothing from the other matches, but Stuart Bingham as well missed on a maximum:

2019 WSC: Stuart Bingham 147 attempt – John Higgins

The £50000 bonus is clearly doing the trick. The last maximum at the Crucible was made by Stephen Hendry in 2012, on the opening day, and only days before he retired. Since there has been none, but this year there are quite a number of attempts…

All matches conclude today, and I will be firmly in Zhou’s camp. The young lad is showing a lot of maturity and a great temperament so far.

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Moning session

Barry Hawkins made four centuries as he built a 6-2 lead over Kyren Wilson in the first session of their last 16 match at the Betfred World Championship.

All scores

Hawkins has a tendency to produce his best snooker at the Crucible – he has won more matches than any other player in Sheffield over the past six years. And once again the 40-year-old Londoner has raised his game on the big stage.

After getting the better of a scrappy opening frame, world number nine Hawkins had a chance of a 147 in the second, but missed the black on 105 with just one red left. Breaks of 82 and 130 put him 4-0 up at the interval.

Wilson replied with a 111 in the fifth but couldn’t contain his opponent as Hawkins knocked in 136 and 137 to lead 6-1. Only once before in Crucible history have two players made four centuries in a row between them; that was during the 1999 semi-final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.

The record for the most centuries made by one player in a match at the Crucible is seven, set by Ding Junhui when he beat Alan McManus in the semi-finals in 2016. Mark Selby made six tons in a second round match against Stephen Hendry in 2011.

Wilson took the last frame of the session to trail by four. They resume for eight more frames on Sunday at 7pm. First to 13 goes through to the quarter-finals to face David Gilbert.

On the other table Zhou Yuelong earned a 5-3 advantage against Ali Carter in their first session.

The winner will face Gary Wilson in the last eight, meaning that a qualifier is guaranteed to reach the one-table setup.

It was China’s talented 21-year-old Zhou who imposed himself on the tie in the early stages. He took the opener with a contribution of 67. Carter levelled by taking a 58-minute second frame, but breaks of 106, 105 and 64 helped Zhou into a 5-1 advantage.

Two-time Crucible finalist Carter claimed the final two frames of the session with breaks of 62 and 60 to end just two behind at 5-3.

Afternoon  session

Ding Junhui overturned a first session deficit to lead Judd Trump 9-7 heading into the concluding session of their last 16 tie at the Betfred World Championship.

Both players are chasing a maiden world title, having been heavily touted as contenders to be the Crucible’s next first time winner for several years. Trump was runner-up to John Higgins in 2011, while Ding lost out against Mark Selby in the 2016 final.

Masters champion Trump had held a 5-1 advantage during the opening session. However, Ding stayed in touch by taking the final two frames to trail 5-3 coming into today.

Ding won two on the bounce at the start of the session to restore parity at 5-5, before Trump edged in front once more thanks to a break of 90. World number ten Ding ensured he went into the mid-session level, as a break of 81 made it 6-6.

When they returned Ding took to the front for the first time in the match, compiling a break of 55 to go 7-6 up.  Trump hit back with a contribution of 62 to draw level, but Ding claimed the last two frames of the session to lead 9-7. They will play to a conclusion from 7pm tomorrow.

On the other table former World Champions Stuart Bingham and John Higgins are locked together at 8-8 heading into their final session.

With the score at 4-4, 2015 Crucible king Bingham took the opening frame of the afternoon with a break of 70. However, four-time World Champion Higgins responded immediately with breaks of 79 and 74 to lead for the first time since the opening frame of the match at 6-5.

Bingham then embarked on an ambitious attempt at a maximum break. He potted the first 14 reds with blacks. However, he failed to convert the final red, which was glued to the baulk cushion, ending his run on 112.

They then traded frames, with Bingham making another century run of 106 to level at 7-7. Higgins took the 15th frame and had looked set to lead heading into the concluding session. However, the Scot missed the final green and Bingham stepped in to clear to the black and restore parity at 8-8.

They will play to a finish tomorrow at 7pm.

Evening session

Kyren Wilson got the better of his second session with Barry Hawkins, but still trails 9-7 heading into tomorrow afternoon’s conclusion to their second round tie at the Betfred World Championship.

Hawkins held a 6-2 advantage after this morning’s opening session, but his lead has now been cut to two frames. World number nine Hawkins fired in four centuries in a superb showing this morning. He is known for reserving his very best snooker for the Crucible, having won more matches at the Theatre of Dreams than any other player in the last six years.

Wilson has also shown his pedigree in Sheffield. The Warrior reached his first World Championship semi-final last season and made the quarter-finals in the previous two years. The 27-year-old has already won two ranking titles this season at the Paul Hunter Classic and German Masters.

World number eight Wilson immediately piled the pressure on Londoner Hawkins this evening. He fired in breaks of 95 and 68 to take the opening two frames and cut his deficit to 6-4. However, there was an immediate response from Hawkins, who claimed the next two frames to lead 8-4 at the interval.

When they returned, a century break of 104 saw Wilson move within three at 8-5. Hawkins took a tight 14th frame before Wilson made a sublime break of 131 to edge back into the match at 9-6. He also won the final frame of the evening to set up an intriguing final session. They will play to a conclusion tomorrow from 1pm.

On the other table, Zhou Yuelong came from 7-6 down to lead Ali Carter 9-7 going into their final session.

China’s 21-year-old Zhou is playing in the second round at the Crucible for the first time and, so far, has the edge over experienced Carter, who was runner-up in 2008 and 2012.

The winner of this tie faces Gary Wilson in the last eight, which means that a qualifier is sure to go through to the semi-finals.

Chelmsford’s 39-year-old Carter trailed 5-1 early in the match, but recovered to 5-3 by the end of the first session and won the first frame tonight with a break of 57. Zhou came from 55-0 down in frame ten to win it with a superb 68 clearance and go 6-4 ahead.

There was an embarrassing moment for Carter in the 11th as he cleared the table and headed out of the arena, believing he had won the frame, only to be called back by the marker to play a respotted black as the scores were tied. His blushes turned to smiles when Zhou, attempting a safety shot on the black, went in-off to gift the frame to world number 19 Carter.

The Englishman kept his momentum going with a run of 75 in the 12th, and an excellent 51 clearance in the 13th which put him ahead for the first time in the match at 7-6.

But it was world number 35 Zhou who grasped the momentum at the tail end of the session. He made a 65 clearance for 7-7 then won the next with a run of 66, before getting the better of a fragmented final frame.

They return to the fray at 1pm on Monday.


2 thoughts on “Crucible 2019 – Day 9

  1. When Carter won the 11th frame on a respot after needing 2 snookers, I thought that Zhou was finished. Remarkably, he managed to bounce back and win the last 3 frames. It will still be difficult for him to win, as the pressure and mental fatigue will almost certainly cause him to start missing, in the biggest match of his career. However, if he does win, then Ding may well be given the impetus in the evening session. It’s been many years since Ding has not been the furthest Chinese player, and his No.1 status is under threat. Pride alone will be a big driver, even if he doesn’t believe he can win the tournament. I’d still say both Chinese players will need their opponents to falter today – 4 frames is still quite a lot to win.

    • Unfortunately you were only too right about Zhou. I suppose that lack of experience of such a long mzatch over three sessions also was a factor. But I’m gutted for him.

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