Day 8 at the 2022 Crucible saw the departure of the defending champion and some records being broken.
Here are the various reports by WST:
Departure of the defending champion and a record that maybe Yan and Selby didn’t really want…
Yan Leads Defending Champion Selby
China’s Yan Bingtao needs just four frames to knock out reigning Crucible king Mark Selby, leading 9-7 ahead of this evening’s concluding session.
World number 16 Yan is attempting to reach his first ever Crucible quarter-final, in what is his fourth appearance at the Theatre of Dreams. He defeated Chris Wakelin 10-6 in the opening round.
Yan has the upper hand on Selby in meetings between the pair. The 22-year-old has won their last three encounters to lead the head-to-head standings 4-3.
Englishman Selby claimed his fourth world title here last year, after beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in an enthralling final. He got his 2022 Crucible campaign underway with a hard fought 10-7 defeat of Jamie Jones.
They began play locked level at 4-4 and Yan opened up with a break of 101 in the first frame this morning, before adding the next two and moving 7-4 ahead. Selby responded with a run of 132 to head into the mid-session with a 7-5 deficit.
When play resumed, Yan looked to press home his advantage and a break of 91 restored his three-frame cushion at 8-5. The 2021 Masters champion then had a chance to move four ahead, until he fell out of position on 44. Selby hit back with 64 to make it 8-6.
The steely Leicester cueman then cranked up the heat with a break of 131, to close within a single frame. A tense last of the session went on for 36-minutes, before Selby eventually took on a tricky last red, which he missed to allow Yan to step in and end with his 9-7 advantage.
They return for the final session of this best of 25 clash at 7pm this evening.
Selby Reign Ended By Yan
Yan Bingtao reached the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the first time and established himself as a genuine contender for the title, knocking out Mark Selby by a 13-10 scoreline.
China’s 22-year-old Yan produced a performance which Selby himself would have been proud of, showing determination, patience and the ability to pot crucial balls at the key moments. After seeing the defence of his title end, Selby admitted being full of admiration for Yan’s excellent all-round game.
Aside from victory over John Higgins in the final of the 2021 Masters, this is the best win of Yan’s career as he outlasted four-time champion Selby on snooker’s biggest stage. The world number 16’s reward is a match with Mark Williams on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Yan, who is based in Sheffield, rises to the occasion when he plays Selby as he has now won their last four meetings. Tonight’s contest was a fascinating slow-burner between two warriors of the baize, neither giving an inch.
Trailing 9-7 going into the concluding session, Selby had a golden chance to reduce the deficit in the opening frame tonight, but missed the pink to a top corner when he led by 19 points with two reds left. Yan cleared to go three ahead.
Frame 18 lasted 46 minutes and came down to a safety battle on the brown. A safety exchange ended with a rare error from Selby, and his opponent knocked in superb pots on the brown, blue and pink to go 11-7 up. Back came Selby with breaks of 86, 117 and 88 to close to 11-10.
Frame 20 was the longest played in 45 years of snooker at the Crucible, lasting 85 minutes and 22 seconds. After a series of safety exchanges, Selby had a chance to clear the colours to level the match, but missed a difficult pink to a top corner. Both players failed to convert chances at the black, before Yan slotted it into a centre pocket for 12-10.
And that proved the decisive moment as Yan finished in style with a break of 112.
“It’s an incredible win, I can’t believe I have beaten Mark Selby, the defending champion, in a best-of-25 match,” said Yan. “It was very difficult today. It was a long match, there was a lot of safety. During the longest frame I was very tired. Mark missed the chance to make it 11-11. In the last frame I told myself I just need one more chance. I concentrated on every pot. Mark Williams is looking very strong and confident. But I’m the same. I can give him trouble and pressure.”
Selby now looks unlikely to finish the season as world number one – for more on that race click here. The 39-year-old from Leicester said: “All credit to Yan because he showed what a good player he is, he has a fantastic all round game. I felt as though I scored better than him during the match, but there were five or six scrappy frames and he won all of them. He is a very clever player and puts you in a lot of trouble with his safety.”
Selby has experienced mental health problems this year and withdrew from two tournaments before heading to Sheffield. He added: “A few months ago I was not really enjoying the game and mentally I wasn’t in a great place. To come here with little bit of positivity and enjoying the game again, for me that’s the biggest bonus I can take away from this.
“I feel like I’m definitely on the right path and I can see improvements which is great. I am still working with doctors and the aim is to have more good days than bad.
“I came here having not played a match for six or seven weeks so I didn’t know how I was going to play. Overall I have surprised myself with how I played.”
As for the pigeon which flew into the arena during Friday’s second session, Selby joked: “It nearly took my head off, I didn’t know what was happening. I heard all the commotion when I was backstage and then I got to the top of the steps and it flew by me at 100mph!”
During that evening session they set a new Crucible record, but I’m not sure they are actually thrilled about it
Selby And Yan Play Crucible’s Longest Frame
Mark Selby and Yan Bingtao played a frame lasting 85 minutes and 22 seconds during their second round match on Saturday night – the longest in 45 years of snooker at the Crucible.
The previous record was 79 minutes and 31 seconds, set by Luca Brecel and Gary Wilson in 2019.
Defending champion Selby and 16th seed Yan had a succession of extended safety battles on the reds and colours. It came down to the final black, and both players missed chances before Yan slotted the black into a centre pocket to go 12-10 ahead.
The frame was still well short of the record for the longest in a pro match: 123 minutes and 41 seconds, set by Fergal O’Brien and David Gilbert in the final qualifying round 2017 World Championship. The longest televised frame was 93 minutes and 12 seconds, in a match between Shaun Murphy and Dave Harold at the 2008 China Open.
Tatiana Woollaston was the marker and took a picture of her screen…
What happened to those 41 seconds?
Also in the morning, Stephen Maguire booked a clash with Ronnie
Safety-First Maguire Outsmarts Zhao
Stephen Maguire put his experience and tactical nous to good use as he scored a 13-9 victory over young sensation Zhao Xintong to reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
China’s 25-year-old Zhao has enjoyed a breakthrough this season, winning his first two ranking titles at the Cazoo UK Championship and German Masters. He was considered a genuine contender for the title at the Crucible, given his talent for long potting and fluent break-building. But Zhao had never previously played a best-of-25 frame match, and he was outfoxed by an opponent 16 years his senior.
“I kept it tight, I’m not going to out pot Zhao, I knew that from start to finish,” said Maguire. “So I wanted to keep him in the long grass and hoped the big long fancy shots he goes for didn’t go in.
“If they do go in and he makes big breaks, I’d shake his hand and say well played. But I thought it was going to be tough for him to pot them all, over a best of 25. Snooker is hard, it’s not easy.”
Maguire is through to the last eight in Sheffield for the seventh time and could face a blockbuster clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan, if the Rocket can convert a 12-4 lead over Mark Allen into a quarter-final place.
A poor run of form over the past two seasons has seen Maguire slip to 40th in the world rankings, which meant he had to win two qualifying matches just to make it to the Crucible. Armed with a new cue and improved confidence, he looks much more like the player who has won six ranking titles. The £50,000 he is guaranteed from this event almost doubles his prize money for the current season and the Glaswegian is back up to 24th on the provisional end of season rankings.
Maguire led 11-5 overnight and had a chance to take the opening frame today but, trailing 42-24, he missed a red to a centre pocket, gifting Zhao the chance to reduce the deficit. A break of 85 saw Zhao cut the gap to 11-7, but Maguire responded with an 81 to go five up with six to play.
World number seven Zhao took the session to an interval by making a break of 67 in frame 20 and when they resumed he dominated the 21st to close to 12-9. But Maguire quickly snuffed out any glimmer of a fight-back as a run of 59 helped him clinch the result.
Asked about changing his cue, Maguire said: “When I played Shaun (Murphy in the first round) I was rubbish. I felt like I had no chance in the second round. I went to Glasgow and borrowed my mate’s cue, and had a couple of days practice with it. I liked it and it seems like the good move now.
“Any professional snooker player that says they can’t change their cue is off their head more than me, of course you can change your cue.”
And asked about the prospect of playing O’Sullivan next, Maguire added: “I have played him here three times and never beaten him, which is not a terrible result because he will be spoken about as one of the best players in the world. If I play well I can put up a fight.
“I know how good I can play but I also know how bad I can play, so we will see what one turns up on Tuesday.”
Zhao said: “Stephen is a great player, in the first two sessions he played so well and put pressure on me. He has played for many years at the Crucible. I missed easy balls and gave him lots of opportunities to win the frames. I need to change my thinking in the way I play.
“This is my first time as a seeded player at the Crucible and this year it was all about the experience for me. Next time I will do better and hopefully win this tournament. I still have confidence.”
At the time of the above interview, Ronnie was not yet through to the QFs but he was leading Mark Allen by 12-4. He duly got the frame he needed at the start of the afternoon. He also broke two records in the process. You can read about all that here.
On the other table, 2019 Crucible king Judd Trump finished his opening session against Anthony McGill tied at 4-4.
The first three frames lasted 90 minutes in total and neither player made a break over 30, McGill taking two of them. The Scot, who reached the semi-finals in 2020, then made a 129 to lead 3-1.
World number four Trump hit back after the interval, winning three consecutive frames with a top run of 103 to go 4-3 ahead. But a break of 68 from McGill in the last frame of the session leaves them all square overnight.
The start of that match was pretty terrible. I have seen club players play better. But, hey! This is the Crucible and the pressure is on!
Robertson And Lisowski Share Spoils
Neil Robertson and Jack Lisowski couldn’t be separated after an intriguing first session of their Betfred World Championship last 16 encounter, which saw the pair end locked level at 4-4.
Australia’s Robertson made four centuries in a 10-5 opening round defeat of debutant Ashley Hugill. That was a continuation of his superb form this season, which has seen him capture a sixth Triple Crown title at the Masters in January and secure ranking silverware at the English Open, Players Championship and Tour Championship.
Lisowski is bidding for a first ever quarter-final appearance at the Crucible. The Gloucestershire potter bowed out at this stage last year at the hands of Robertson, succumbing to a 13-9 defeat. Lisowski battled past Matthew Stevens in 10-8 in the opening round this year.
Pre-tournament favourite Robertson imposed himself in the early stages of this tie. A break of 62 gave the Melbourne cueman the opener. Lisowski had then had a great chance to level up, before a loose positional shot ended his run on 55. Robertson stepped in and crafted a contribution of 76 to lead 2-0.
Lisowski pulled a frame back by taking the third thanks to a break of 65, before winning the fourth on the pink to restore parity at 2-2. He looked to have the momentum at that point and added two more to make it four on the bounce and establish a 4-2 advantage.
However, 2010 World Champion Robertson summoned an important charge before the close of play, taking the final two frames with back-to-back century breaks of 117 and 138 to end level 4-4.
Don’t ask me anything… I didn’t see a ball all evening. Actually didn’t see a thing: we had a power failure that lasted most of the evening and the whole village suffered a several hours black-out …