Day 9 marks the middle point of the Championship although in terms of amount of frames to be played by the eventual winner, it’s still only the beginning. There are usually no matches played to a finish on that day unless someone wins with a session to spare. This didn’t happen this year.
Here are WST accounts on yesterday sessions
Saengkham Rallies To Level With Higgins
Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham took the last three frames of the session to draw level at 4-4 with 31-time ranking event winner John Higgins in their second round tie at the Betfred World Championship.
Saengkham enjoyed a double celebration after his first round match, with the birth of his new daughter named Believe. That came shortly before his tournament opening 10-5 victory against Luca Brecel.
Scotland’s four-time Crucible king Higgins is still searching for a first ranking title of the season, having fallen short in four finals. He came through a tricky opening round clash 10-7 against Saengkham’s compatriot Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Saengkham had chances in all of the first three frames this morning, but it was Higgins who crafted breaks of 59 and 82 on his way to a 3-0 advantage. Saengkham crucially stole the last frame before the interval, punching the air after depositing a frame ball final black.
When play resumed, Higgins restored his three-frame lead thanks to a break of 90. That proved to be his last of the morning with Saengkham taking three on the bounce, including a 44-minute final frame, to end at 4-4. They return at 7pm to play the second session of this best of 25 clash.
On the other table, 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham opened up 5-3 lead over 2020 finalist Kyren Wilson.
The pair last met in a high quality encounter at the Masters earlier this year. It was Wilson who emerged a 6-5 victor at Alexandra Palace. The Warrior also leads the head-to-head standings between the pair 5-2.
Bingham made breaks of 75, 54 and 57 on his way to earning his 5-3 lead this morning. They will resume this evening at 7pm.
Lisowski Edges Ahead Of Robertson
World number 14 Jack Lisowski is four frames from making the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the first time, leading pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson 9-7.
The Gloucestershire cueman has appeared at the Crucible on five previous occasions, but is yet to go beyond the second round. He exited at this stage 12 months ago, at the hands of Robertson, and will be hoping to enact his revenge this time around.
Robertson has waited 12 years since his only Crucible victory thus far, when he was crowned 2010 World Champion. However, he is in top form this year and enjoying what he describes as his best ever season. The Australian has already landed silverware at the English Open, Masters, Players Championship and Tour Championship.
They came into today locked together at 4-4, following yesterday evening’s first session. Lisowski came flying out of the traps, with back-to-back century contributions of 119 and 122, to open up a two-frame lead at 6-4.
Robertson replied with a break of 60 to take the 11th, but it was Lisowski who took the last before the mid-session to establish a 7-5 cushion.
They continued to produce a scintillating standard upon the resumption and shared the remaining four frames, with each one containing a contribution over 50. A stunning break of 137 from Lisowski in the 14th was the highest of the match so far, but it was Robertson who made 69 in the final frame to end within touching distance at 9-7. The concluding session of this best of 25 encounter will be played tomorrow from 7pm.
On the other table, 2019 World Champion Judd Trump seized the initiative in his clash with Anthony McGill by moving 10-6 ahead.
The Ace in the Pack has recently shown signs of a return to form, having gone without ranking silverware for much of the season. Trump landed his first ranking title of the campaign last month with a 10-4 defeat of Matthew Selt in the Turkish Masters final, a match where he also made a 147.
McGill typically produces his best snooker in Sheffield. He made the semi-finals back in 2020, where he lost an epic encounter with Kyren Wilson 17-16. The Glaswegian also defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-12 at this stage last year, but lost his quarter-final with Stuart Bingham.
They started the afternoon level at 4-4 and shared the first two frames, before Trump claimed two on the bounce to lead 7-5 at the interval. The Bristolian then won a 33-minute frame when play got back underway to stretch his advantage to 8-5, but McGill pegged him back by taking the 14th thanks to a run of 97.
A break of 79 saw Trump regain his three-frame cushion and he added the last of the session to end four in front at 10-6. They will return for the concluding session tomorrow at 7pm.
Wilson And Bingham Set For Grandstand Finish
Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham are all-square at 8-8 heading into the final session of their second round tie at the Betfred World Championship.
Wilson battled back to take the final three frames of the session and draw level. They will return tomorrow afternoon at 1pm for the climax of this enthralling best of 25 encounter. The winner will face either Judd Trump or Anthony McGill in the quarter-finals.
Kettering’s Wilson has produced relentless consistency levels in recent times to secure his position at world number five, but hasn’t captured ranking silverware since the 2020 Championship League. He has a superb Crucible record, having made at least the quarter-finals each year since 2016, including a run to the 2020 final where he lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Bingham made the semi-finals 12 months ago, when he clinched thrilling deciding frame wins against Ding Junhui and Anthony McGill, before bowing out 17-15 against Mark Selby. The 2015 World Champion is aiming to avenge a 6-5 defeat to Wilson in their most recent meeting at the Masters in January.
Bingham came into this evening’s second session with a 5-3 advantage. He extended his cushion after the first four frames, making breaks of 78 and 104 on his way to an 8-5 lead. He then had an opportunity to pull further clear, but broke down on 44. Wilson stepped up and showed his steel to make 66 and pull within two.
A break of 59 helped 30-year-old Wilson to secure the 15th frame, before a dramatic last of the evening. The Crucible crowd were almost treated to a maximum break, but Wilson missed the 13th red to end his break on 96. Nevertheless he will be delighted to end level at 8-8.
On the other table, John Higgins dominated the evening session of his last 16 clash with Noppon Saengkham, to move two from victory at 11-5.
The pair were locked together at 4-4 following this morning’s opening session, when Thailand’s Saengkham rallied from 4-1 behind to restore parity. However, 46-year-old Higgins ruthlessly pressed home his advantage this evening.
The Scot is bidding for a first World Championship title in 11 years. He claimed his fourth Crucible crown back in 2011, when he beat Judd Trump 18-15 in the final. Higgins has 31 ranking titles to his name, but is yet to add to that tally this season, having lost four finals.
Saengkham celebrated the birth of his new daughter, named Believe, shortly before his 10-5 first round victory over Luca Brecel. He is aiming for a first ever quarter-final appearance at the Crucible, but he will now require a colossal comeback to achieve that.
Higgins crafted breaks of 125, 60, 69 and 100 on his way to taking the first seven frames of the evening. Saengkham ironically celebrated after potting a frame ball brown in the last, to end six behind at 11-5. They return tomorrow afternoon at 1pm for their final session.
Once again, I didn’t see much at all.
I was impressed though that Noppon managed to come back from 3-0 and 4-1 down to go to the evening session all square with John Higgins. Unfortunately for him, Higgins was able to up his game in the evening – as you would expect – and Noppon now faces an almost impossible task.
Stuart Bingham seems to be in good form which makes him very dangerous. He’s always a heavy scorer and doesn’t lack stamina over the long distances. Kyren is a big figther, he proved it yesterday by drawing level. I look forward to their final session today, hoping that, this time, nothing will come in the way of snooker…
Judd Trump is now 10-6 up on Anthony McGill and will probably finish the job today. I’m not sure what form he actually is in. Apparently he played well in the evening session but Nick Metcalfe assessment of the morning session was this …