The first round of the snooker World Championship has already seen current world champion through and a top seed fall. A round-up of the action so far.
Mark Williams, current world champion booked his place in the next round with a 10-7 win v Martin Gould.
Gould came through the qualifying rounds to face the world champion. Falling 9-4 behind, Gould staged a defiant and determined comeback, pushing the world champion into a tense final few frames. But Williams finally put his opponent away with a scrappy 17th frame win.
Mark Williams said:
“Overall, I played really well.
“It was only towards the end that I started to get twitchy when it went 9-7 and I was under pressure.
“It was a tough first-round match. He is probably one of the toughest qualifiers you can have.
“I feel like I am in the tournament now. It was absolutely brilliant walking out. The cheers and support was the loudest applause I have ever had walking into any arena.”
Neil Robertson completed a 10-1 destruction of World Championship debutant Michael Georgiou, who narrowly avoided a Crucible whitewash.
Robertson led the first-round tie 9-0 but Georgiou scored a brilliant 90 break to take his first frame of the match. Georgiou’s 90 saw him fall just short of becoming the first debutant to make a century at the Crucible.
The Crucible crowd cheered Georgiou’s only frame win, delaying the Australian’s progress by less than thirty minutes.
Former world champion, Roberson, is the only Australian in the tournament and said he was pleased with his result.
Neil Robertson said:
“I had a great start and put him under a lot of pressure.
“I took full advantage of playing a debutant. I was really pleased with the way I played. I was pretty ruthless.”
“The crowd were fantastic and I still loved the experience,”
Luca Brecel became the first seed to fall when he lost to qualifier Gary Wilson in match that went to a deciding 19th frame marathon, a frame recorded as the longest ever in Crucible history.
The 19th frame was also noted for the phenomenal safety exchange in an otherwise scrappy frame. Both players laid devilish snookers and made superbly skillful escapes of the greatest quality ever seen in any Crucible match.
Brecel, the up and coming Belgian player, lost the 76 minute 19th frame and was noticeably disappointed at his post match press conference. When asked about the final frame’s duration Brecel answered briefly and with dark humor.
“It’s great I got a record.”
Winner of the mammoth match, who has worked part-time to fund his snooker ambitions, was a qualifier for this year’s tournament,
Wilson said of the 19th frame:
“It wasn’t snooker. I am not sure what it was but it was me getting over the line and that’s the main thing.
“It’s brilliant. I am over the moon to get over the line. There was not a lot of quality and it was absolutely draining.
“It dragged on but I wasn’t going to give up on any shot. Some of the fans were thinking what have I come to this for? I was half-embarrassed but I had to block that out.”
The 2005 winner Shaun Murphy scored four centuries including a current tournament high break of 138 as he stormed to a 10-0 win against this year’s youngest Crucible competitor, 19-year-old Chinese debutant, Luo Honghao.
Honghao accepts his place in Crucible history with the unenviable record of being only the second player to ever suffer a whitewash crucible history.
Eddie Charlton was beaten 10-0 at snooker’s showpiece event in Sheffield, losing by that margin to John Parrott in 1992.
Stephen Maguire has appeared in every world championship since 2003 and is one of the games most reliable competitors. He put away his opponent, Tian Pengfei in a tense 10-9 match. Determination and a fluke helped out the Scotsman through to the next round.
Chinese superstar Ding Junhui, the 2016 runner-up beat Anthony McGill 10-7. Ding led overnight and made breaks of 99 and 91 to establish a 9-5 lead. But Scotland’s McGill, the world number 24, battled back to 9-7.
Ding finally finished with a 106 break to reach the last 16 for the 10th time.
“I played well but it is not good enough if I want to win the tournament.
“I need to get better and have good concentration for the whole match. I need more confidence because I haven’t played good [sic] this season.”
The first round continues on Monday with John Higgins concluding his match against Mark Davis. Higgins led 6-3 over night.
At 46, Davis is the oldest man at the Crucible and has the record for reaching the Crucible through qualifying on more occasions than any other player and has the beating of Higgins, holding the head-to-head record for wins between the two players.
“Mark is such a tough all-round competitor and I know I will have to be on top of my game.”
Four-time champion Higgins is aiming to reach his third successive Crucible final, having been runner-up two years running.
The Snooker World Championship first round continues with Ronnie O’Sullivan making his first round appearance against amateur qualifier James Cahill and Mark Selby, 3 times world champion taking on Zhao Xintong one of the world’s most promising young talents.
The Snooker World Championship runs until 6 May at Sheffield’s Crucible Theater.