Bookies favourite Junhui Ding has a mountain to climb at the end of the first day of quarter-finals at the Snooker World Championships. The Chinese starlet finds himself 5-11 behind to Barry Hawkins. Meanwhile, Mark Allen trails Kyren Wilson 5-11, Judd Trump leads John Higgins 5-3 and Ali Carter is tied 4-4 with Mark Williams.
Beginning in 1927, The World Championships is the biggest event in the snooker calendar. The event has been hosted in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre since 1977. The competition forms part of the ‘Triple Crown’ with the UK Championships and the Masters. Last year’s winner and world number 1, Mark Selby, was eliminated in the first round to Joe Perry in a surprise result.
Mark Allen vs Kyren Wilson
The pair progressed into the quarter-finals after victories over Joe Perry and Jamie Jones respectively.
The affair was a big moment in the careers of both players as well as a repeat of the Masters final. Allen has never reached a World Championships quarter-final in his career, meanwhile Wilson was attempting to reach a semi-final at the third time of asking.
The Kettering-based potter held his nerve after a strong start from Mark Allen to break with 125 and 90.
Wilson brought himself back into the match in remarkable fashion in the seventh frame, coming back from 45 points down to take the point. Wilson’s determination paid dividends at he went in at the end of the session tied at 4-4, justifying his nickname of ‘The Warrior’.
Wilson took the lead in the evening, winning the first three frames, including a break of 105. Mark Allen won his first frame of the evening in the final frame of the first-half of the session thanks to a break of 78. Both players had a pot success of 92% going into the break.
Wilson picked up two frames in a row to put the pressure on Allen with two to play.
Wilson kept his nerve, and made it in four in a row to match Hawkins’ lead of 5-11 going into tomorrow afternoon.
Barry Hawkins vs Ding Junhui
Hawkins and Ding earned their places in the quarter-finals by defeating Lyu Haotian and Jamie Jones respectively.
The Sheffield-based world number three Ding, who reached last year’s semi-finals, found himself behind to Hawkins early on. Hawkins potted more than double the number of balls and won double the number of points in the first period of play.
A tense final frame of the session saw Hawkins, who was competing in his sixth competitive semi-final, take the points after 22 minutes.
In the evening, Hawkins picked up where he had left off, taking the first three frames thanks to breaks of 60, 73 and 76 with a 96% success rate.
Ding pulled back two frames as he begun to find his feet in the evening session. Hawkins quickly reasserted his five-point lead to take the scores to 5-9 and built further to 5-10.
Hawkins rounded out the night in style with a ton to put all the pressure on Ding as the night ended 5-11.
The 2013 finalist finds himself two frames away from the semi-finals.
John Higgins vs Judd Trump
Coming into this match fresh from victories over Jack Lisowski and Ricky Walden, the tie was a repeat of the 2011 Championship final.
It was a remarkably close affair, but Trump found some form in the fourth frame, picking up a break of 100, completing a pot success rate of 94%.
Trump ended the session in a 3-1 lead and started again strongly, picking up a 71-point break.
John Higgins did not let this deter him, pulling the match back to 3-4, before Trump restored his lead to 3-5 to end the day’s action.
The pair will resume play at 10am tomorrow morning (Wednesday May 2).
Ali Carter vs Mark Williams
Ali Carter would have been buoyed by his 13-9 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan coming into this match-up, while Mark Williams defeated Robert Milkins 13-7 in the previous road.
Mark Williams began the game in style with a superb 135 break. This was not indicative of things to common with the second frame being a much closer affair.
Ali Carter demonstrated that he is capable of the same quality, winning a 126 break to take the lead early on.
In an epic 33-minute frame, Williams pulled back and the pair tied at 2-2 to end the session. After the break, Williams began as he did the first session, picking up an 84 break.
Carter scored a big 125 break to put himself into the lead.
The final frame of the day saw two re-racks, with Williams taking the points to end the day at 4-4.
The pair will resume their match tomorrow morning.
Photo credit and source: Lwp Kommunikáció