This is what happened yesterday, on the last day of the last 16 round. All reports by WST.
Bingham Blitzes To Quarter-finals
Stuart Bingham required just 43 minutes to wrap up a 13-6 defeat of Jamie Jones and reach the last eight of the Betfred World Championship.
World number 18 Bingham is aiming to make history by becoming only the third qualifier in history to win the title at the Crucible. Terry Griffiths achieved the feat back in 1979, while Shaun Murphy was the most recent qualifier to claim the trophy back in 2005. Asian number one Ding Junhui made the final as a qualifier in 2016, but was runner-up to Mark Selby.
This is the first time Bingham has required the qualifiers since 2011, after dropping out of the world’s top 16 this season. He defeated Belgium’s Luca Brecel 10-5 on Judgement Day to clinch a Crucible place.
Next up for 2015 World Champion Bingham is an intriguing showdown with Scotland’s Anthony McGill, who reached the quarter-finals courtesy of an epic 13-12 win over defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. Basildon cueman Bingham and McGill are level in their head to head, at 2-2.
Defeat ends a positive season for Jones, who only returned to the World Snooker Tour via Q School last year. He went on a run to the semi-finals of the Scottish Open before Christmas, as well as coming through qualifying to reach the Crucible. Jones beat Li Hang on Judgement Day and recorded a fine 10-4 defeat of Stephen Maguire in round one.
Bingham came into this afternoon’s concluding session 10-6 ahead. He wasted little time in getting himself over the line. Breaks of 111, 68 and 102 saw him sweep to the first three frames of the afternoon to complete the 13-6 victory.
“Coming through the qualifiers has definitely helped me. In the first match I was confident. Normally being in the 16 you have to wait three or four weeks between the end of the season and the World Championship. Going there and getting the confidence by winning matches, you can’t buy that. I was ready more or less from the first ball in round one,” said 44-year-old Bingham.
“I’m not sure what my record is with Anthony. I remember all the losses and I’m not sure if I have actually beat him. He is a class act. He’s happy in himself with the way he is playing. It was a great last two frames to get over the line against Ronnie, so I’m expecting a tough game.
“I always think you should play to your strengths and you look at Mark Williams with his carefree attitude. I know if I have a chance to win matches it is because of my scoring. I have to take my chances and go from there.”
Trump Into Last Eight – And Building Form
Tournament favourite Judd Trump hopes he is gradually moving towards the top of his game as he made four centuries in a 13-8 defeat of David Gilbert to reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
The world number one has not been at his magnificent best at the Crucible so far, but has had more than enough firepower to see off the challenges of Liam Highfeld and Gilbert. Trump may face a tougher assignment in the next round against Shaun Murphy – if the 2005 champion can convert a 10-6 lead over Yan Bingtao into victory on Monday night.
Bristol’s Trump has been snooker’s dominant force over the past 30 months, winning 14 ranking titles in that period, while no other player has landed more than six. He captured his first Crucible crown in 2019 and now hopes to double his tally.
The key part of Trump’s match with Gilbert was the second half of the first session and the whole of the second, as he came from 3-1 down to lead 11-5, making top breaks of 114, 105 and 111.
World number 15 Gilbert took the first frame of the concluding session with a break of 68 to close the gap. In frame 18, Trump made 45 before running out of position, and his opponent made an excellent 79 clearance to raise his hopes of a fight back.
Trump regained the momentum with a run of 107 to go 12-7 ahead. He might have sealed the result in the 20th but missed the penultimate red to a centre pocket when trailing 49-12. But Trump clinched victory in the next frame by getting the better of a safety battle on the colours, potting yellow, green and brown to get over the line.
In the 1990s, Stephen Hendry was renowned for gathering steam over the early rounds, and Trump hopes he is on a similar trajectory. “It’s a long tournament, we are not even half way through and it’s very difficult to play well for 17 days,” said the 31-year-old. “Hopefully I am saving my best for the coming week. Now is the time to find my form and feel comfortable out there.
“I don’t feel as if I played well against David, but my scoring is there and I can’t be too critical of myself. My brother told me I am playing solid snooker. I will take any win against David because it was a tough second round draw. There are so many players looking good and a lot of the quarter-finals matches will be 50/50 games.”
Trump admits that if he faces Murphy next, he’ll be up against a dangerous opponent. “Shaun hasn’t had a great season but he is due a run, and he loves the limelight and being centre of attention here,” he added. “He still plays like a kid, and when the balls are going in it is intimidating to play against. You can’t feel comfortable against him because nothing is safe.”
Judd indeed didn’t play well. David Gilbert seems to continue to struggle when the pressure mounts. It’s a shame given his ability.
Murphy Sets Up Trump Showdown
Shaun Murphy swept Yan Bingtao aside 13-7 to set up a last eight clash with Judd Trump at the Betfred World Championship.
Today’s victory sees Murphy reach the quarter-finals at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since he was runner-up to Stuart Bingham in 2015.
The 38-year-old Englishman is now three wins away from a second career Crucible crown and a first in 16 years. His only World Championship title to date came after he defeated Matthew Stevens in the 2005 final.
The Magician will immediately turn his attention to a mouth-watering encounter with world number one Trump in the quarter-finals. Murphy trails Trump 10-7 in the head-to-head, but he can take confidence from having won their last two meetings at the 2020 Masters and the 2020 Welsh Open.
China’s Yan will be able to reflect on a season which saw him make his major breakthrough at the Betfred Masters, where he defeated four-time World Champion John Higgins 10-8 in an epic final to claim a maiden Triple Crown title.
Murphy came into this evening’s concluding session 10-6 ahead and it didn’t take long for him to move further in front.
Breaks of 65 and 59 helped him move one from victory at 12-6. Yan showed his class by firing in a run of 71 to stay in contention. However, Murphy took the 20th frame to wrap up the win.
“I’m really excited about it (playing Judd Trump) to be honest. If you are going to win tournaments like this, they all have to get knocked out at some stage. It may as well be in the next two days,” said nine-time ranking event winner Murphy.
“Judd looks like somebody who is building throughout the event. That is what the greats always did in the 90s and early 2000s. For me, I hope that I’m able to withstand the barrage of attack that is likely to come.
“I’ve come here with a renewed gratitude for the position I’m in as a sportsman and for each and every one of the fans who have come here this week. I’m grateful they have all turned up and it really has added something to my game.
“As a nine-year-old boy, I came here and lived the dream as a massive snooker fan. That is what got me hooked on the game. I came to this very building as a child and my love affair with snooker started. So to come here last year and play to nobody was very challenging. Although the Crucible isn’t full yet, it is better to play to somebody than to play to nobody.”
Selby Completes Record Quarter-Final Line-Up
Mark Selby’s 13-7 win over Mark Allen at the Betfred World Championship means that there will be six former Crucible kings in the quarter-finals for the first time.
Selby pulled away from 8-6 to win five of the last six frames against Allen and book a place in the last eight in Sheffield for the ninth time. Next he will face Mark Williams, both three-time champions, while former winners Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham and Neil Robertson are also in a tremendous quarter-final draw:
Stuart Bingham v Anthony McGill
Mark Williams v Mark Selby
Neil Robertson v Kyren Wilson
Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy
Picking up where he left off in a 10-1 thumping of Kurt Maflin in round one, world number four Selby once again looked in full control against 13th seed Allen. He made three centuries and nine more breaks over 50 while outmanoeuvring his opponent on the tactical front. Having won two ranking titles this season as well as reaching at least the semi-finals of four others, Selby has self-belief in abundance as he looks to add to the titles he won in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The Leicester cueman won the first frame of the concluding session to go 10-6 ahead. Allen trailed 55-22 in frame 17 when he knocked in a long red and cleared with 50 to keep his hopes alive. the Northern Irishman had a similar chance in the next from 59-5 behind, but missed the brown to a baulk corner which handed Selby the chance to go 11-7 up.
That ended Allen’s resistance as Selby made a 132 to move to the verge of victory then dominated frame 20 to finish the contest.
“I started off playing as well as I did in the first round,” said 37-year-old Selby. “My scoring was good. I knew if I wasn’t on top of my game I would have been going home. If you are making breaks over 50 every frame you won’t lose many.
“It’s an incredible line-up, probably the strongest for many years. It will be tough to win it, so if I managed to do that it would have to be up there with my best achievements. I’m looking forward to playing Mark. I get on well with him, he’s a great lad and a fantastic player. Hopefully it will be a good game for the fans.”
Allen said: “I thought I was in with a chance at 8-6. The last frame yesterday was important because 9-6 was hard to come back from. Mark’s safety throughout the whole match was some of the best I have ever seen. He is granite.”
Eventually there have been very few close matches in the second round. Other than the Ronnie v McGill match, only Kyren Wilson v Barry Hawkins was close.
The quarter-finals should be hard fought … hopefully!