29 april 2021 publish date
Mark Williams suffered one of his heaviest ever Crucible defeats as he lost 13-3 to Mark Selby in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
Selby led 6-2 overnight and soon extended that to 10-2 today with top breaks of 96, 58 and 66. Williams pulled one back with a run of 79, and needed another frame to ensure the match would go to a concluding session on Wednesday night.
But could not avoid that ignominy. Runs of 48, 50 and 54 helped Selby to finish the contest and he now has the rest of the day to recuperate: “I felt great from start to finish – I have done since the start of the event,” said Selby. “It’s nice to produce that out in the arena. I watched Mark play John Higgins and he played great, although John wasn’t at his best. I knew it would be a tough match but I was on my game. It’s nice not to have any stress tonight, I’d much rather have the night off than be going out there again at 8-8.
“Hopefully I can sustain the same level and in a few days time win a fourth world title. But I’m not getting ahead of myself because I need to keep playing the same way. I will try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. I don’t mind who I play next, when you are at the table it doesn’t matter who is in the other seat. If anything this means more to me because I know the feeling of being last man standing. That makes me want to go out and do it again.”
Williams said: “I was totally outplayed, I knew it was over once it got to 10-2. If Mark plays like that then no one can stop him.”
Stuart Bingham made what he described as the best break of his career to beat Anthony McGill 13-12, setting up a semi-final with Mark Selby at the Betfred World Championship.
When it mattered most, Bingham compiled a fantastic run of 125 to finish a thrilling contest in style and reach the one-table situation in Sheffield for only the second time. The first was in 2015 when he went all the way to the title: “At 12-10 I went into the reds and landed on nothing,” said Bingham, winner of six ranking titles. “After that I felt it wasn’t going to happen for me. Fair play to Anthony he came back strong to go 12-12. Luckily for me he didn’t fall on anything in the decider. My break was the best of my career.
“Last night I had a great sleep because I was so drained. I was a bit gutted to be 9-7 behind but I felt I hadn’t done much wrong. I have lost a lot of deciders this year and that can make or break your season. But this time I held myself together and maybe that’s a good omen.
“My game is getting stronger and hopefully I can keep scoring heavily. The emotion is coming out now when I think about playing on the single table for the first time in six years. It’s a totally different atmosphere. I will enjoy every second.”
McGill said: “I didn’t play that well today and Stuart played brilliant. I wish I could have put a bit more pressure on him. One part of my game I don’t doubt is my bottle. I made a great dish at 12-10, and then held my nerve for 12-12. In the last frame I couldn’t have hit the brown any better, but I didn’t finish on a red. I have played a lot of good stuff here, my game is so good right now. I won’t let today’s result get me down. What I am doing is working, I am going in the right direction.”
Last year’s Crucible runner-up Kyren Wilson came from 5-2 down to score a 13-8 win over Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship, then stated his belief that he can lift the trophy.
World number six Wilson made a 133 in the opening frame today to take a 9-8 lead. Robertson had first chance in frame 18 but made only 23. He didn’t score another point until he was 11-8 down as Wilson made breaks of 59 and 62 to extend his lead.
Wilson got the better of a fragmented 20th frame to make it 12-8 at the interval, then sealed victory in the next with a run of 84: “I am delighted to get over the line,” said Wilson. “Today I focussed on what was at stake and what I needed to do. I channelled the positive thoughts and went for it. The century in the first frame today got me motoring. Neil can go off into the distance if you let him so I had to put a stop to that and make him think. He can go into his shell sometimes. When he is scoring fluently he is probably the best player in the world so I had to neutralise that. I wasn’t going to hand him the table and say mop them up. I was going to try to make him earn it and work for it. Neil started the match strongly, he had his scoring boots on. I had to get the best result I could out of the first session, and to be 5-3 down and then 8-8 last night gave me a great opportunity going into today. Last year Judd was tipped to win the event and I managed to beat him, this time Neil was tipped for it and I have knocked him out. I believe in what I can do, I can beat anyone on my day. I don’t see the point in being in this sport to just turn up for the money and say quarter-finals will do. If I lose in the semi-finals I will go away from here annoyed, it wouldn’t be good enough. I want to push on and I believe I can win it.”
World number three Robertson said: “I wasn’t able to reproduce the form I showed in the last few weeks. It has still been a brilliant season, it’s just a shame I couldn’t finish it on the single table here.
“I feel I lost it in the the second session yesterday. Not every session is going to be free flowing, certain players will make it tough and Kyren did that very well against me. I wasn’t good enough to keep the game open. I allowed the frames to go on for too long and that knocked me out of my rhythm.”
Shaun Murphy scored one of his best Crucible wins since he won the title 16 years ago as he beat world number one Judd Trump 13-11 in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.
Murphy said: “It was epic, it was a really high quality match. I’m just thrilled to take the chances in the last two frames having taken an onslaught before that. Between sessions I was watching the other match on TV, then they were talking about our game and Stephen Hendry said ‘I expect Judd Trump to come out and play like a world number one.’ I was thinking ‘I don’t want that!’ But the way Judd started tonight was outrageous.
“I’m not an O’Sullivan, a Williams or a Higgins where runs to semis and finals of this event are commonplace. My career has taken a different path. These matches are a big deal. I will savour it because Judd has been the best player on the planet for the last two years. I have won a match that nobody expected me to win.
“Without doubt it’s one of my best wins of recent years. Judd threw everything at me. But at 11-11 it was the calmest I felt all night because the equation was simple, I still had to win two frames. I have played enough of those matches to know that I will get a chance, I just had to be patient.
“The Crucible has been a house of horrors for me to come back to every year since 2015. I had only won two matches here in the last five years. Usually I’d be at home now watching it on the sofa so I’m very excited to be here.
“Kyren and I grew up close together, I was in Irthlingborough and he was in Kettering, and there’s an intense rivalry between those two towns, though Kyren and I get on very well, we have practised a lot together. He is now a course and distance runner here, he builds his whole life around performing well here. It’s going to be tough.”
Trump, who won the title in 2019, said: “I just couldn’t get going. Shaun played amazing in the second session and built a strong lead. I had kind of given up, but then Shaun really struggled tonight and at 11-11 I was in full control until I missed the black and let him back with an easy chance. That shot summed up the whole match for me. It’s disappointing because I felt it was mine to lose at that point.
“I had a lot of support and it was amazing to feel the energy of the room, that was the only thing that kept me going because I was poor all day. I tried to dig in and find something but I couldn’t get into a rhythm and missed too many easy balls.”
The article is based on WST.TV