Bingham fell to the Crucible curse, becoming the 17th first-time champion unable to defend his title at the venue. Ding Junhui and Alan McManus set a new record in their semi-final for the most century breaks achieved in a professional match, scoring ten. In defeating McManus, Ding became the first Asian player ever to reach a World Championship final. In the other semi-final, Mark Selby and Marco Fu set a new record for the longest frame of snooker ever played at the Crucible, at 76 minutes 11 seconds. The defending champion Stuart Bingham lost 910 against Ali Carter in the first round. Ding also setting a new record for the most centuries by one player in a single world championship match with seven. During the tournament, six-time champion Steve Davis played the last professional match of his 38-year career against Fergal O'Brien in the qualifiers; he announced his retirement later during the first round of the event.
Will it be Chinas glory year or can Leicester look to bag a champions double? But before then, there is the small matter of who will be our champion to decide. Another World Championship draws to a close and no doubt lots of snooker nuts will be a bit depressed on Tuesday morning when its all over for another year.
Murphy won frame 13 to need just one more frame for victory. Allen won the next two frames to push the match into the interval. Murphy won the first five frames of the match, with Allen not scoring a single point until frame four. Allen fought back to trail 36 after the first session. Murphy won the first frame of the second session, before Allen won the next two. The second semi-final was a rematch of the 2019 Scottish Masters final between Murphy and Allen.
Its almost like to some I have accused them of rogering a goatthe way people can react. All I have to do is simply say something mildly non on message about John Higgins and all hell breaks loose. He was only joking. Talking of agreeing to differ, Twitter is getting a bit more tetchy these days. Maybe thats the post-Donald world we now live in, where people can do something wrong one minute and the next its all forgotten about like it never happened, much like Donny himself who now seems to love, respect and admirethose whohe has been spouting his venomous bile towards these last few months.
SNOOKER PREDICTIONS STATS
I wouldnt be surprised to see a player outside of the top 16 go deep in this so its worth spreading your bets around in each quarter in the hope that youve found the right man. Snooker in the early season isnt always dominated by the big name players and although you have to look at Neil Robertsons draw and make him a worthy favourite, there really isnt any such thing as a certainty when we get down to the last 32 or so of a ranking event, particularly this early in the season when a lot of them would probably much rather be on their holidays. Im also going to throw in a few each way punts on players that are more than capable of having a run in this.
But the newbies need not be too despondent as when the calendar picks up again there are plenty of opportunities to watch snooker. It kicks off at the back end of August in Furth for the annual Paul Hunter Classic which of course was famously won last year by the returning Ali Carter, who is also involved at the business end of the current tournament.
Alan McManus came from 911 behind against John Higgins to win 1311 and reach his first Crucible semi-final since 1993. At the age of 45, he became the oldest Crucible semi-finalist since Ray Reardon, who was 52 when he reached that stage in 1985.Marco Fu led Barry Hawkins by 91 before Hawkins won five straight frames to within one at 10-9.
The nostalgic amongst us, in that I of course include myself, will be rooting for Alan McManus, his press conferences (if you havent watched them yet, do yourself a favour), have endeared him to the press and public alike and his general sense of wonderment and reflection on his achievement already are somewhat reminiscent of Stuart Bingham last year and we all know what happened then.
Hawkins prevailed in the decider to win the match 1312, the first time in 14 years that Hawkins had beaten O'Sullivan in a competitive match. Trailing Barry Hawkins 912, Ronnie O'Sullivan won three consecutive frames to take the match to a deciding frame.
Snooker Picks/Predictions STATS
Eleven former world champions competed in the tournament.
Kyren is the only debutant in London this year, his win at the Shanghai Masters in 2015 saw him zoom up the rankings, hes managed to hang on to his top 16 place for this being around 30k ahead of Walden and he also plays on day one against Ding Junhui, so Sunday sees a big day for the Chinese snooker fans as well as for Kyren on his first visit to the sacred palace of potters.
There are a few regulars that are missing out this year after an undignified topple down the rankings, we have no Ricky Walden or Stephen Maguire, two players who we are used to liningup with the games elite. Indeed in Maguires case you need to go back to 2003 for the last time he didnt compete at The Masters, he made his debut in 2004 and has been an ever present since then until now; his current ranking of 25 not helping his cause. In Rickys case, his run of four consecutive years in the top 16 has come to an end although at 17 he was pipped to the final place by that peskie newbie Kyren Wilson.
No doubt another reason that this event will get the interest of a wider public is the fact that Ronnie OSullivan makes his seasonal debut. Indeed the top quarter is something of a *cliche claxon* quarter of death with 6 Reds Champ Ding Junhui, recent Indian Champ Anthony McGill, the in-form Michael Holt and Mark Allen all in the mix. Its a long time since Ronnie has played competitively in China and he will face either Liang Wenbo or wildcard and Santa Claus impersonator Hu Hao in the first round, setting up a possible meeting with Kyren Wilson in Round 2.
Ding of course would be a huge winner for the sport and its global ambitions, it would even be worth us having to endure the inaccurate talk of the Chinese Snooker Revolution just to see his smiling face when he won. He may not get a better chance than this and looks more relaxed this year than any other, what I will say however is that his last match for me was something of a false result, given the problems MJW had with his equipment, in MJWs words, Dingplayed alright but hed have lost that match to anybody.