On Day 4 at the 2020 Crucible

The morning session saw Ronnie conclude his match on a 10-1 score in no time at all. This is now the fastest match ever at the Crucible and you can read all about it here.

Other than that, the day offered two very interesting encounters.

Anthony McGill beat Jack Lisowski by 10-9. The deciding frame went to the last colours. They played both sessions yesterday.

Those are the reports by WST:

Morning session: Lisowski 4-5 McGill

Anthony McGill secured a 5-4 lead over Jack Lisowski after the first session of their opening round Betfred World Championship meeting.

McGill is making his sixth consecutive Crucible appearance, dating back to his run to the quarter-finals whilst making his debut in 2015.

Having dropped out of the world’s top 16 in recent times, he needed to come through last week’s qualifying event at the English Institute of Sport. McGill showed tremendous form, dropping just two frames in beating Jak Jones and Sam Baird, 6-1 and 10-1 respectively.

Lisowski is competing at the Crucible as a member of the world’s top 16 for the second consecutive year, having climbed the rankings after a string of impressive runs. He reached the final of the Scottish Open earlier this season, but was denied a maiden ranking title by Mark Selby.

The pair shared the opening four frames this afternoon to head into the mid-session at 2-2. When they returned, breaks of 64 and 87 helped McGill on his way to three frames on the bounce to lead 5-2.

However, Lisowski ended the morning strongly. The Gloucestershire cueman fired in a century run of 107 and followed it up by taking the ninth frame to set up an intriguing final session. They will return to play to a conclusion at 7pm.

Evening session: Lisowski 9-10 McGill

Anthony McGill’s sensational pot on the final blue in the deciding frame gave him a 10-9 victory over Jack Lisowski in an enthralling first round clash at the Betfred World Championship.

It was classic late night drama at the Crucible as the deciding frame came down to a long battle on the colours. Faced with a death-or-glory long blue, McGill drilled it into a top corner, though it rattled in the jaws for a split second before dropping. He added a simple pink to book a second round match with Mark Allen or Jamie Clarke.

“When I was standing behind the blue, it was horrible,” said world number 39 McGill. “I didn’t have a safety shot. I had to strike it nice and pure and hope it went in. I hit it sweet as a nut but then I wasn’t sure it it was going to drop, and when it did I was so happy.”

Earlier in the evening it was high quality snooker as the pair traded blows. Glasgow’s McGill made breaks of 65, 70, 67 and 51 as he extended his 5-4 overnight lead to 9-6, while Lisowski fired 90 and 84 in the two frames he won.

Gloucestershire’s Lisowski then rose to the challenge as he won three frames in 36 minutes with top runs of 65 and 102 to draw level at 9-9. Both players had chances in the decider and when they came to the blue there was just a point between them, McGill trailing 55-54 when he grasped his chance.

“I enjoyed the battle,” said the Scot. “It’s good to be in that arena in a tight match, pitting your wits against one of the top 16. I felt Jack was always on top when we were on the blue, I was just trying not to leave him a pot. I love it here. I was just praying I didn’t lose in the qualifiers because I feel when I get to the Crucible I have a chance of playing well.”

McGill reached the quarter-finals on his Crucible debut in 2015 and went on to win ranking titles in 2016 and 2017. He then had a dip in form and has slipped down the rankings, but the 29-year-old believes he is back on an upward trajectory.

“I took about five steps back a couple of years ago, my standard was really poor,” he added. “I’m getting a little bit better now, it takes time. Wins like tonight give me a big boost because I know I can come through a tight match if it happens again. It’s good for the belief.”

On the other table, three-time Crucible king Mark Selby came from 3-2 down to lead debutant Jordan Brown 5-4. Northern Ireland’s Brown had the better of the early stages and made a top break of 76 in taking three of the first five frames.

Selby made 50 and 119 to go 4-3 ahead. The eighth went Brown’s way but it was Selby who got the better of a scrappy last frame of the session to secure a slender overnight lead. They resume at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

That blue by McGill is probaby the one of the very best pot under pressure I’ve ever seen. It was a horrible shot, it would have been extremely difficult even in practice, without pressure. Under the circumstances it was extraordinary. Take a bow Ants! For Jack Lisowski and his fans it’s another heartbreak. Sure, he wasn’t outplayed this time, and he showed resilience coming back from 5-2 to 5-5 and from 9-6 to 9-9. But, truth to be said, he should never have been in those positions to start with. As usual, Jack potted a lot of incredible balls, but he also made some silly mistakes, missed some apparently routine balls. The day he cuts those mistakes out, he will be formidable. But will that day ever come?

The afternoon session saw Elliot Slessor coming back at Yan Bingtao. From 8-1 down, he managed to get back to 9-7. It was a brave display after yesterday’s disaster. But he left himself too much to do and, eventually, Yan got over the line.

Here is WST account:

World number 16 Yan Bingtao staved off a brave Elliot Slessor fightback to win 10-7 in a tense first round clash at the Betfred World Championship.

It had looked set to be a straightforward afternoon for China’s 20-year-old Yan, who held a hefty 7-1 advantage after yesterday’s first session. However, Crucible debutant Slessor came charging back this afternoon and exerted heavy pressure on the Asian number two.

Yan eventually got over the line and is through to the last 16 of snooker’s biggest tournament for the first time, where he will meet defending champion Judd Trump.

Yan fired a break of 67 in today’s opener to extend his lead to 8-1. The next two were shared then Gateshead’s Slessor reduced his arrears to 9-3 at the interval with a sublime break of 123.

From that point world number 69 Slessor began work his way back towards contention. A gritty clearance of 40 helped him steal the first frame after the interval on the black. In a dramatic finish to the 14th frame, Yan inadvertently knocked the black in after potting what would have been a match ball green. Slessor cleared from green to pink to pull within four frames at 9-5. He then cranked up the heat further by taking the 15th frame to make it 9-6.

A break of 57 saw Slessor make it 9-7 and spark genuine hopes of a remarkable fightback. However, a relieved Yan hauled himself over the line by taking a tightly contested 36-minute frame to win 10-7.

“I was getting a bit nervous near the end and I was very glad to win when I did,” said Riga Masters champion Yan. “If I had lost the last frame we would have had to come off at 9-8 and I did not want to come back later in the evening.”

Yan was asked about an incident in the 14th frame when he accidentally smashed a glass by knocking it to the floor. “It was a tight space with the chairs and the table,” he said. I was trying to step back and get out of Elliot’s way but I knocked the glass with my leg. After that I bumped into the table again so it’s lucky they hadn’t replaced the glass or I would have broken two.”

Meanwhile, tenth seed Shaun Murphy is in danger of a surprise defeat as he trails Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6-3.

In the last four years, Murphy has lost twice in the first round and twice in the second round, and if he is to avoid another early exit he’ll need to win seven of the last ten frames when they return on Tuesday morning.

Murphy, the 2005 World Champion, took the opening frame and looked set to add the second until he missed a red to a top corner on a break of 67. That proved a turning point as Saengkham cleared with 64 then took the next three frames with top runs of 67 and 59 to lead 4-1.

Breaks of 75 and 101 brought Murphy back to 4-3 but he then lost a 42-minute eighth frame as world number 42 Saengkham got the better of a safety exchange on the blue. And the last frame of the session went Saengkham’s way too, giving him a handy overnight advantage.

At the time of writing, things look ever more ominous for Murphy as he is now 3-8 down…

Also the Q-school got underway.

The way it’s done, it certainly offers no guarantee that the best players will get through. To illustrate that fact, here is what happened yesterday in the first round: Wu Yize who managed to beat Ashley Hugill and Robbie Williams during the World Qualifiers in July, was beaten by Julien Leclercq from Belgium. Not many of you will know Julien, but, believe me, he’s a very good player. Wu had breaks of 98 and 92, Julien had breaks of 71, 81 and 78. Both are young players with a real potential, one of them is out, whislt some others will get byes to round 3…




3 thoughts on “On Day 4 at the 2020 Crucible

  1. I thought McGill and Lisowski both did very well at the end of that match. Either could have won.

    Q School really is ridiculously unbalanced – I daren’t even calculate the ‘fairness coefficient’ this year. They are playing the first 2 rounds over best-of-5’s before the later rounds, which presumably means that the players who end up qualifying (by reaching a semi-final) will immediately withdraw from remaining events, opening up as many as 12 further byes in the later rounds… Yes, yes, I know that these are special times, but it’s clearly not been devised intelligently. I assume they will have to play out the remaining matches of QS1 before QS2 and QS3 or else it could end up with a section collapsing. I think it would have been better to seed the players, for a start.

    • It dseems that they are playing the early rounds of all three event first, Julien Leclercq who beat Wu Yize in event 1 R1, was beaten by Josuah Copper in R2 today, and he’s playing Sam Baird in R2 of Event 2 tonight…
      What a mess.

      • Actually, that schedule does have the advantage of isolating the last-64 matches of the three Q Schools, with the 60 subsequent matches all being played on one day (rounds 3-6), which reduces the travelling to-and-fro. But it has the bad effect of having 4 byes in QS2 L64 and 8 byes in QS3 L64. There is a reasonable chance that someone may qualify by winning 3 matches, whereas some others will need to win 6 matches. The concept of ‘fairness’ is perhaps a bit too mathematical for the organisers of this: it is not that ‘everyone has a chance’, it should be ‘everyone has the same chance’. The ‘Order of Merit’ (for top-ups and Q Tour places) is just a total lottery. There will be a lot of top-up places to fill in the next few months.

        The cause of the problem is that the draws had to be made before the WC qualifiers were complete, and so 12 byes (in each QS) opened up as a result of players not being relegated. If they were determined to use this structure, then perhaps the draws for QS2 and QS3 could have been deferred just a little longer.

        There were also late withdrawals by (sadly) Adam Stefanow, Andy Lee and Lin Shuai. Thus the total number of byes since the draws were made is now 57, which is 11% of all matches.

Comments are closed.