Crucible 2019 – Day 12

One table setup time!

This is our line-up

Crucible 2019 SF line-up

How did we get there?

Here are the report by Worldsnooker:

 

Gary Wilson 13-9 Ali Carter

Gary Wilson kept his tremendous run going at the Betfred World Championship, as he beat Ali Carter 13-9 to reach the semi-finals.

Giant-killer Wilson has already won six matches in the event, coming through three qualifying rounds before knocking out Luca Brecel, three-time champion Mark Selby and now two-time finalist Carter. Wallsend’s 33-year-old Wilson had never won a match at the Crucible before this year.

At 32nd in the world, Wilson is the fifth-lowest ranked player ever to reach the World Championship semi-finals. He will face Judd Trump or Stephen Maguire on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a place in the final. Wilson is already guaranteed a career-biggest pay day of £100,000.

Back in 2004, at the age of 19, Wilson won the world under-21 title and was tipped for the top. He struggled to fulfil his talent in the early part of his career and had spells away from snooker, working in a frozen food factory and driving a taxi.

He returned to the pro tour in 2013 and has gradually climbed the ladder, notably reaching his first ranking final at the China Open in 2015 where he lost to Selby. Now the player nicknamed the Tyneside Terror is relishing the chance to show his break-building class on the biggest stage. In his three matches at the Crucible he has made seven centuries and 21 more breaks over 50.

Lowest ranked World Championship semi-finalists
Terry Griffiths: unranked, 1979
Shaun Murphy: 48th, 2005
Alan McManus: 41st, 1992
Andy Hicks: 33rd,1995
Gary Wilson: 32nd, 2019

Wilson led 9-7 going into the final session and started strong this morning with a break of 117 to extend his advantage. Carter hit back with 51 and 48 to take frame 18 and he added the next with 128 to close to 10-9.

In frame 20, Carter had first chance but ran out of position on 29. Wilson made 59 before missing the last red along a side cushion, and was lucky to snooker his opponent. From the chance that followed, Wilson potted the red to go 11-9 ahead.

Frame 21 was in the balance until Wilson knocked in an excellent long red to initiate a break of 45 which put him three up with four to play. Early in the next he potted nine reds with blacks before running out of position and playing safe. And when he crashed in another long red, the tie was over.

“I’ve got this far, so long may it continue. I just need to keep playing as well as I can. If a few things go my way and the shots I am struggling with stop, then you never know what could happen,” said an elated Wilson. “There were a couple of moments years ago, when I had dropped off the tour, and I was desperate to get back on just to scrape a living.  Looking back at those times and comparing it to now is absolutely amazing. I’m over the moon and proud of myself.

“When I was really struggling to make it,  I thought to myself about what job I would have to get. I had played snooker since I was eight years old. I put in the hours every day, missed school and missed nights out with my mates. I was beginning to wonder where my life was going. I’m happy that I can now make a living out of the sport.

“Deep down in your gut, you know if you can play the game well enough or not. You dream of achieving this sort of thing. I knew that even if I didn’t play to my full potential, I was good enough to make a living from snooker.”

Carter said: “I think Gary’s got to be the favourite to win it now, the way he’s playing. That has to be the performance of his life. I can’t understand how he hasn’t won anything. He’s made three or four centuries in the match, his safety was unbelievable, as was his long game. He potted nearly every ball he went for and when he did miss he got away with it.

“The ball run in the last session there was ridiculous. He had so much form it was unbelievable, but when you play well that happens. I think he had a game plan to go out and just go for everything.

“It was an amazing performance by Gary, you’ve got to take your hat off to him. I didn’t think he could play that well and I’m sure Selby didn’t think that in the last round either, but he did. Now it’s all eyes on him for the semi-finals. Good luck to him.”

On the other table four-time World Champion John Higgins dug deep to secure a 9-7 advantage against 2010 Crucible king Neil Robertson.

The pair were locked together at 4-4 following yesterday’s opening session. Australia’s Robertson got the better of the early stages this morning, composing breaks of 78 and 68 on his way to claiming three of the opening four frames to lead 7-5 at the mid-session.

However, Higgins turned on the heat when they returned. The tenacious 30-time ranking event winner summoned all of his Crucible experience to sweep up the remaining four frames. Breaks of 130 and 68 helped him on his way to earning his 9-7 lead.

They will return to play to a conclusion this evening from 7pm.

David Gilbert 13-8 Kyren Wilson

David Gilbert defeated Kyren Wilson 13-8 to secure his place in the one-table semi-finals at the Betfred World Championship.

Tamworth’s Gilbert has burst to prominence this season. He’s been recognised as a player with vast potential for several years, without completely fulfilling it. This campaign has seen Gilbert earn a place in the world’s top 16 for the first time. He made finals at the Yushan World Open and German Masters, but was runner-up on both occasions to Mark Williams and today’s opponent Wilson respectively.

World number 16 Gilbert arrived at the Crucible as a seed for the first time this year. Wins over Joe Perry and defending champion Mark Williams saw him reach the last eight. Now today’s defeat of Wilson guarantees that he will pick up at least £100,000 for making the semi-finals, which will be the biggest payday of his career. That tops the £75,000 he earned for appearing in the World Open final earlier in the season.

Wilson has now reached the Crucible quarter-finals for the last four years consecutively. However, his only run beyond the last eight came 12 months ago, when he lost out 17-13 against John Higgins in the semi-finals.

The Warrior won two ranking titles in a single season for the first time this term, having picked up silverware at the Paul Hunter Classic and German Masters. He will have to wait at least another year to pick up a first world title.

Gilbert came into today’s session with a commanding 10-6 advantage. That left Wilson with a mountain to climb to get back into the match, although he did pick up the first frame this afternoon to close within three frames at 10-7.

They then traded frames and moved to 11-8, before a Gilbert delivered a hammer blow. Wilson broke down on a contribution of 43 and Gilbert ruthlessly stepped in with a break of 60 to steal the frame and lead 12-8 at the mid-session interval. He fired in a break of 63 when play resumed and clinched his victory by a 13-8 scoreline.

Gilbert will now face either John Higgins or Neil Robertson in the semi-finals for the right to compete in snooker’s biggest match.

“It is fantastic. Who’d have thought I’d ever end up in the one-table setup at the Crucible? Certainly not me. I’m over the moon,” said Gilbert. “It doesn’t matter who I play. If Neil Robertson comes through, him and Mark Selby are two of my favourite players, so it would be great to play him out there. He’s in great form and probably the tournament favourite. I’m under no illusions to it all, they are going to need to have to have an off day and I’m going to need to play great to get through.

“It’s a real buzz, money can’t buy that. Today I was a bit tense and probably rightly so. I just need to remember to enjoy it in the semi-finals, get my head down and go for it.

“These opportunities don’t come around very often for someone like me. It’s nice to know my bills are going to get paid for the rest of the year and my Mrs is going to be off my back with £100,000 guaranteed. However, I need to make the most of this chance.”

Wilson said: “From my point of view the match was absolutely terrible. I was just shocking from the off. I don’t know how I managed to get out of the first session at 4-4. I should have kicked on from there and regrouped. Dave obviously sensed that I was struggling and kicked on in the second session himself.”

On the other table Judd Trump remains on course for a semi-final spot after emerging with a 11-5 lead over Stephen Maguire.

Trump had led 7-1 after the first session and looked in position for a potential win with a session to spare after taking the first two frames today.

Maguire won four of the next five frames, with a top score of 110, to remain in contention at 10-5. Masters champion Trump finished the session strongly, firing in a break of 82 to take the final frame. He requires just two more to progress when they resume this evening at 7pm.

Judd Trump 13-6 Stephen Maguire

Judd Trump completed an emphatic 13-6 win over Stephen Maguire to reach the Betfred World Championship semi-finals for a fourth time.

Trump hasn’t visited the fabled one-table setup at the Crucible since his 17-16 defeat to Stuart Bingham in the 2015 semi-finals. This time he faces maiden semi-finalist Gary Wilson, who scored a superb 13-9 win over Ali Carter to get to the last four.

World number seven Trump will be full of confidence heading into that clash, having enjoyed his best season on tour to date. The Ace in the Pack secured a second Triple Crown title by defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Masters final. He has also picked up silverware at the Northern Ireland Open and the World Grand Prix.

Trump appears to now be producing the sort of form which has typified his season, after a slow start last week. He edged past Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-9 in the opening round, before trailing Ding 9-7 in round two. However, the 10-time ranking event winner claimed six on the bounce to surge to a 13-9 victory over Ding and reach the quarter-finals.

Maguire, who now trails Trump 10-8 in their head-to-head record, misses out on a first trip to the semi-finals since 2012. This season has seen the Scot return to the world’s top 16 and avoid Crucible qualifying for the first time since 2016.

The damage was largely done in the opening session, where Trump stormed to a 7-1 lead. They then shared the frames this afternoon to come into tonight with 29-year-old Trump leading 11-5.

That deficit proved to be too much for Maguire to overturn. Although he did start this evening’s action with a 122 break to close the gap to 11-6. Trump quickly put paid to any thoughts of a fightback with contributions of 68 and 82 to claim two frames on the bounce and cross the line as a 13-6 victor.

Trump said: “It was nice to carry on from where I left off against Ding. It was good to be playing with no real pressure out there and fully enjoy it, knowing I had that kind of lead. I also knew it was going to be tough though. It was important for me to get over the line as soon as possible.

“My aim was to win with a session to spare. I was trying hard to do that, but I got a bit sloppy this afternoon. I made a few mistakes and it didn’t all go my way.

“It’s always good to beat anyone comfortably, especially at the World Championship. There’s a long battle ahead, we’re sort of halfway through the tournament now. At any stage in the World Championship, if you can win a match comfortably, it saves energy and mental energy to help get you through the rest of the tournament.

“I’ve always known that Gary Wilson was a good player. I grew up in the same era as him coming through. He’s obviously taken a bit longer, but he has blown everyone away this week. It is important that I get off to a good start in that match.”

Maguire said: “I lost it in the first session. He put me under the cosh and wasn’t able to recover. If you lose a session 7-1, it’s tough out there.

“I’m not playing anywhere near well enough to compete with the guys in the top ten or 12 in the world. There is quite a difference between my game and theirs. It is up to me to do something different and hopefully improve.”

John Higgins 13-10 Neil Robertson

John Higgins boosted his chances of a fifth Crucible crown as he came from 7-5 down to beat Neil Robertson 13-10 and reach the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

Robertson had been favourite for the title since the early exit of Ronnie O’Sullivan, but the Australian was stopped in his tracks by one of snooker’s all-time toughest match-players. Higgins arrived in Sheffield short on confidence having failed to win a title this season, but has come alive at his favourite venue.

The disappointment of losing in the 2017 and 2018 finals still burns for the Scot and he is clearly determined to lay those ghosts to rest. Higgins is into a tenth Crucible semi-final and if he beats David Gilbert over 33 frames he will reach his eighth final. The 43-year-old from Wishaw lifted the trophy in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Robertson has won three ranking titles this season for the first time in his career, and reached four ranking finals in a row before heading to the Crucible. But his hopes of becoming the first non-British player to win the world title twice are over for another year.

The contest turned at the end of the second session as world number five Higgins came from 7-5 down to lead 9-7. He took the first frame of the concluding session with a break of 81.  Robertson rallied with runs of 50 and 114 to make it 10-9. His century was the 80th of the tournament, triggering a £25,000 donation from sponsor Betfred to charity Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home.

Higgins came from 22-0 down to take the 20th frame, before Robertson dominated the next to trail 11-10. Both players had chances in the 22nd but Higgins took it with breaks of 27 and 32. And he sealed victory in style in the next with a 101.

“To get back to that one table set up now is unbelievable,” said Higgins, who lost to Mark Williams in last year’s final. “To see the guys like Gary Wilson (who faces Judd Trump) and David Gilbert get there for the first time, you can see the delight on their faces.

“If I was sat at home watching the tournament I’d be wanting David to win, he’s a nice guy. But I’ve got to play him and hopefully we have a good game. I hope he freezes a little bit. I played Kyren Wilson last year when it was his first time, it took him a little while getting used to it. I managed to get my nose in front any stay there, I’d love that to happen again.

“David has played far better than me this year so I’m under no illusions how tough a game it’s going to be. The way he has dispatched Mark Williams and Kyren pretty easily, I certainly don’t think I’m the favourite.”

Robertson said: “I’ll have a couple of months off now, it’s long overdue. I’ve been on a great run getting to the last four finals and the quarter-finals here so I think I’ve earned some time off. My wife said she couldn’t wait for me to lose or win so I can get home and get on dad duties!”

Those results mean that  Ronnie will finish the season as World n°1 no matter what happens from here.

Coverage:

2019 WSC: Ronnie and Jimmy’s favourites for World Championship glory (Eurosport)

Ronnie and Jimmy discuss who they see as favourite for the title … by now their pick n°1 is gone.

2019 WSC: other players about Ronnie O’Sullivan’s fastest 147 (Eurosport)

Various top players discuss Ronnie’s first Crucible 147. Jack Lisowski the only one fancying to give a go at beating that. They should have got Theppy in that panel!

2019 WSC: Day12 evening session preview (Eurosport)

2019 WSC: MSI of the Neil Robertson – John Higgins match (Session3, Eurosport)

This one contains an interview of Barry Hearn by Neal Foulds about his announcements. You can read about those announcements here. It was quite funny to hear Ronnie in the studio saying almost exactly what I had written here on this blog. Maybe he did read it? (dream on!)

2019 WSC: Day12 evening session review (Eurosport)

Ronnie’s admiration for John Higgins always baffles me a bit. Their respective records suggest that himself is a better player than John, and by some margin too. There is one aspect though where John is better than Ronnie, and better than most, and it’s to be able to tough it out when things go wrong. I’m sure that Ronnie knows that, and admires him (and Selby) for being able to do that. Himself can do it on occasions: his wins against Judd Trump in the Tour Championship 2019 semi final, and against Mark Selby in the semi final of the Northern Ireland Open 2018 prove that. But John Higgins seems able to do it all the time.

Both Neil and John were extremely unhappy with the conditions, as you can hear. That the conditions are that bad in the most important event of the season is a crying shame. It’s disrespectful to the players and makes a mockery their skills, but it probably suits a certain industry … that makes a lot of money from unpredictability.

This was Neil’s reaction on twitter:

Before anyone suggests excuses. Both John and I denied a potential great match that was instead played on the worst playing conditions We’ve encountered all season. Hard to go out like that but John showed his class in adapting better than me at the end👍🏻

It’s been like this for most of the championship. The tables seemed to play well for the first two days, after that it was a kicks and pings fest. The fitters are not to blame. I have seen by myself how hard they work. They are under-staffed IMO and they can’t control humidity and heat conditions at venues. They also can’t service the tables after every frame.

In his interview Neil said that he tought about not using the cushions to gain position. I remember Ronnie saying exactly the same at a UK Championship a few years back. This has been going on for years. Maybe going back to a slightly thicker cloth would help. But I doubt that the people in power are ready to go that route. Actually, they seem to have developed quite an obsession with centuries recently.

Also, yesterday was Women Snooker day at the Crucible, and you can check the pictures galery here  . Those pictures aren’t mine BTW.

There was also a nice feature with Mink by BBC

🗨 “My dream is to be the first woman player to play here against the men!” Check out a fantastic feature with our world number four, Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai that was filmed by the BBC/IMG last week.

 

4 thoughts on “Crucible 2019 – Day 12

  1. I don’t want Higgins to win because I don’t want him to have 5 WSC trophies as Ronnie, but if he gets to the final and plays Trump, my “anyone but Trump” rule will kick in. In the end there is sth admirable in the old guy who had a terrible season, contemplated retirement and plays well/grinds it out here as if it was a completely different tournament from the rest of the season. In a way it is and I do appreciate that he is really up for this one. But until we have the lineup, I hope for a Gilbert-Wilson final.

  2. I was wrong about Neil Robertson. I didn’t see much of the match, so I don’t know whether he just ran out of steam, or whether John Higgins played especially well to win. Either way it’s not the result I wanted, but for different reasons than yours!

    We now have the possibility of a Higgins-Trump final which might be a really high-quality match, or it could equally be a match between an old-timer trying to turn the clock back, and an irresponsible crowd-pleaser trying to pot his way to glory. Alternatively, if either Trump or Higgins loses his semi-final, we might have a final that lacks credibility, which would also be bad for snooker. The BBC will nodoubt he hoping Higgins wins, as they are keen on ‘familiar faces’ (generally preferring John Higgins, Mark Selby or Shaun Murphy to the ‘mavericks’ Judd Trump, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan). Most of the BBC commentators have hardly seen Dave Gilbert or Gary Wilson before, and may be worried about getting their name wrong at a crucial moment…

    For me, I’ll be hoping that Trump wins, from a credibility and progressive point of view, even though I don’t really like him. Perhaps becoming WC might change him. I also hope that Gilbert plays his best, and demonstrates that he is a worthy semi-finalist or finalist.

    But I’m also already looking at stats and deciding which young players to follow next season.

    • It was an awful match Lewis. The conditions were horrible. Neither player really managed cueball control. The cushions were pinging. For most of it, it was a grind. I have the feeling that Robertson got tired. The slow pace didn’t help him. China probably taking it’s toll. He lost the last two frames of the second session and from there the writing always was on the card.

  3. Hi Monique,

    First of all, I’d like to thank you for your effort to keep us updating about Ronnie and about snooker in general. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.

    As for WSC for me it’s really anyone but JH. I just can’t stand him after what happened in Kiev and I’m sick and tired of watching him in the Crucible final year after year after year. Unfortunately when I look at the draw I can’t honestly see anyone who might be able to beat him 😦 Shame, because I’d love to see Dave Gilbert win it, he seems like a really nice guy and he’s playing some really great stuff!

    Greetings from Poland
    Mateusz

Comments are closed.