The quarter-finals of the 2018 World Snooker Championship reached a thrilling climax after the second day of matches. Perennial semi-finalist Barry Hawkins once again booked his place back at the Crucible after demolishing Ding Junhui 13-5 in just 41 minutes in the morning session.
The up-and-coming sensation Kyren Wilson quickly followed suit with a facile 13-6 success over Mark Allen to secure his first ever appearance at a World Championship semi-final to avenge his defeat to his counterpart at the Masters earlier this year.
Both John Higgins vs Judd Trump and Mark Williams vs Ali Carter are evenly poised heading into the evening session. The scores are 8-8 and 9-7 respectively as the competition to see who lifts the World Snooker Championship Trophy on bank holiday Monday.
Barry Hawkins vs Ding Junhui
Hawkins seems to save his best for the World Championships, and a phenomenal display yesterday by the world number six left him requiring only two frames in the morning session to progress to the semi-finals.
The 18th frame of the match started off evenly, however after various uncharacteristic shots from Ding, including an inexplicable foul shot by potting the white ball, Hawkins took one step closer to yet another semi-final at the Crucible by extending his lead to 12-5.
The onslaught continued and ‘The Hawk’ shot another century break of 117 – his highest break of the match – to wrap up the quarter-final within the opening hour of the morning session.
For the 2016 finalist Ding, it will be back to the drawing board after crashing out to an authoritative Hawkins. However, snooker will be on hold for the starlet from China for the moment as he swaps the snooker cue for milk bottles because he is due to become a father for the very first time.
However, Hawkins’ drubbing of Ding means that he goes through to his fifth world championship semi-final in the last six years. He has now won the most matches at the Crucible in the past six years with 18 wins.
Hawkins will now face the winner of the quarter-final between Mark Williams and Ali Carter in his quest for a maiden World Championship title.
Barry Hawkins 13-5 Ding Junhui
John Higgins vs Judd trump
The repeat tie of the 2011 World Championship Final was unsurprisingly a close affair after yesterday’s evening session. The new tournament favourite Trump took a 5-3 lead into the morning’s session.
Trump extended his lead to four frames over the Scotsman by taking the opening two frames of the morning session. After a classy break of 89 in the ninth frame, an error on the reds by Higgins after a break of 64 allowed the Bristolian to draw level and take the frame to a dramatic re-spot.
After an incredibly tense couple of minutes the re-spot went the way of Trump, proving the untimely error by Higgins to be incredibly costly and leaving him 7-3 down to the world number four.
There was no error in the 11th frame however as a break of 65 by Higgins reduced the deficit back down to three frames.
After another half century break – his third on the bounce – the four-time world champion showed his customary tenacity to keep himself in the match and reduced the score to 5-7 in favour of Trump as the players headed into the mid-session break.
It was nearly a case of Deja-vu for Higgins in the 13th frame. After a fourth consecutive half-century break of 53, Higgins missed a canon on the reds and very nearly potted the white ball at the other end of the table.
However, after a fluke pot on a red, Higgins wrapped up a third frame on the bounce to skittle Trump’s lead down to a single frame.
As the match reached the three-hour mark, Trump seemingly looked to have the next frame under his grasp, however an easy chance for a pot into the middle pocket went begging and then after potting a red, the white ball followed into the pocket.
Higgins looked to seize control of the frame, and once again he rode his luck with another fluke shot – this time on the green – to seal his fourth consecutive frame and level the match, much to the dismay of his counterpart.
The comeback from the Scot did not stop there, and once again Trump was rendered pointless in the frame as Higgins turned the game on its head with fluent pots to lead 8-7.
Trump was clearly off his game, and early in the 16th frame it followed suit as he potted the white ball for the second time in the session and missed a crucial opportunity on the reds to swing the frame – and the match – back in his control.
However, Higgins faltered. The 42-year-old missed a difficult chance which sparked Trump back into life. Trump was cool, calm and collected as he hit back to take the final frame of the morning session and leave the match poised evenly at 8-8.
The winner of the quarter-final will have a tough task in the semis as they will face the rising superstar Kyren Wilson.
Mark Allen vs Kyren Wilson
Looking to avenge his defeat at the hands of Allen at the Masters earlier on this year, Wilson stormed into a 11-5 lead after the end of their second session, rattling off seven consecutive frames to leave him – just like Barry Hawkins – only needing two frames to secure a semi-final place.
However, the script did not go to plan in the opening stages of the afternoon session for Wilson, as Allen won a cagey 16th frame to keep a flicker of hope burning of getting back into the match.
Any chances for the Northern Irishman to put realistic pressure on the enigmatic Wilson were extinguished in the following frame however, as Wilson showcased why he is one of Britain’s most exciting young snooker talents by firing straight back into a six-frame lead.
The Kettering-based player required only one more frame to progress to his first ever World Championship semi-final and ‘The Warrior’ avenged his defeat to Allen at the Masters with a half century break to confirm his semi-final place in front of his family, who were watching in the stands.
The rapidly-improving Wilson, who will face either John Higgins or Judd trump in the semi-final, said: “It’s very special, it’s obviously a dream to play at the crucible.
“I’ve always believed I can win this tournament, I believe I have come back every year stronger and stronger.
“It’s a new experience tomorrow a brand-new arena, so I’m just going to enjoy the occasion.”
Mark Allen 6-13 Kyren Wilson
Mark Williams vs Ali Carter
After some superb snooker between these two yesterday, including three century breaks, the tie was evenly poised at 4-4 coming into their second session. Carter was looking to reach a third World Championship semi-final in what was expected to be an evenly poised encounter against the two-time world champion Williams.
The Welshman Williams started the ninth frame with a vengeance and secured the frame with a brilliant century break of 114 to gain an early upper hand. The rampage continued as Williams doubled up in the frame after with a break of 77, leaving Carter two sets behind in quick fashion.
Carter, who only four years ago successfully battled cancer for the second time, countered the blistering start by Williams with his own quality break to grab in the next frame to make it 6-5 to keep himself in contention.
However, Williams showed the Sheffield crowd why he is a two-time world champion with determination alongside his natural talent to win back his two-frame lead as the players headed for the mid-session break.
The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued with one of the most pulsating frames of the day. Carter once again wrestled back the deficit to one after a gruelling 23-minute frame which was only decided on the black ball.
Again, another cagey affair followed, but this time it only went down to the yellow ball as Carter missed an opportunity to get back in the frame and eventually conceded the frame to Williams, who restored his two-frame advantage.
More drama unfolded in the 14th frame as yet again it went down to the black ball. Just as it had done before, it went the way of the Colchester-born Carter to leave the tie precariously poised at 7-8.
However, the afternoon session finished the same way as it started, with Williams at his brilliant best with another century break – this time of 118 – to restore his two-frame lead over a dogged and gutsy Carter.
The match so far has proved to be a game of Cat and Mouse, with the Welshman Williams edging it ahead of the evening session.
The winner of the match will face the formidable Barry Hawkins in the semi-final.