Day seven at the dafabet World Championship and Mark Selby became the first man through to the Quarter finals after a 13-9 victory over Ali Carter.
The first session of this one yesterday was high quality stuff with Carter winning the last two frames to trail Selby 5-3 overnight and although the quality wasn't as high today the pattern remained the same,with Selby always looked on the verge of pulling away and Carter holding on to his coattails without ever looking like drawing level. case in point the fact that Selby again at the end of the morning session held a four frame lead at 9-5,before Carter again won the last two to close the session 9-7 behind.
Into the night then and with the finish line in sight,both players would have realised the importance of starting well and it showed in a nervy opening frame that eventually went to Selby to make it 10-7. The next frame was to follow the same pattern,before again going to Selby and when he cleared with a break of 69 to win frame 19 from 63-0 behind to go 12-7 the end looked in sight,
This is Mark Selby though and as his fans know he doesn't often do things the easy way,He would let a great chance to win the match go in the next and again looked on the verge of victory in the 21st only to miss a red and allow it also go to Carter. The score was now 12-9 and things were starting to get interesting again,but Selby dispelled any thoughts of a comeback taking the next to win the match 13-9.
At the start of this championship Selby was perhaps the forgotten man of the tournament with all the talk mainly focusing on Ronnie,Ding & Robertson,but he will be a strong favourite for his last 8 match regardless of his opponent and who is to say this wont be "The Jesters" year.
Defending champion & odds on favourite for the title Ronnie O'Sullivan has his work cut out for him if he is to advance past round 2 here as he still trails Joe Perry by two at 9-7 following a dramatic session this afternoon.
It has been a long time since we saw Ronnie struggle at the Crucible the way he did last night,but it was widely expected that he would come out today with all guns blazing and regain a foothold in this match.That theory seemed to be bearing out as he took the opening frame with a 93 to close to within one at 5-4. Perry though was cuing beautifully and produced two flawless frames to go three ahead again at 7-4,before a 66 from Ronnie closed it to 7-5 at the interval.
The 13th was a close affair with O'Sullivan clearing from the yellow to take it and make it 7-6. From here though just as he had done earlier Perry again produced his best snooker to take the next two with runs of 88 & 73 to go 9-7.
The last frame of the session was now massive in the context of the match and both players seemed to realise its significance as they both spurned chances to take it. the decisive moment came on the yellow and it was Ronnie who potted it and cleared to end the session as he began,two behind at 9-7.
They play to a finish in the morning and on the evidence of today what a session it promises to be with Ronnie certainly playing a little better,if still not near his best and Perry cuing superbly all through,but just at the end of the session showing signs that as the finish line nears he might start to feel it.
The two grand old men of the tournament Alan McManus (43) & Ken Doherty (44) started their second round match today and it is the Scot who holds the advantage at 4-3 after they had to be called in a frame early.McManus was definitely the better scorer of the two with runs of 69,102 & 71,but the Dubliner stuck in there to stay in touch and you feel theres plenty of mileage left in this one.They resume with the second session in the morning.
In the other match to start today Ricky Walden holds a 9-7 lead over Barry Hawkins after two sessions.Hawkins beat Walden in the semi final here last year and it was he who got off to the better start here leading 3-0 before Walden eventually got off the mark to make it 3-1 at the interval.That scoreline was then reversed in the last four frames to leave it houours even at 4-4 going into the evening.
Here again it was Hawkins who got off to the better start taking the opener to lead 5-4.,but from here Walden seemed to find a different gear to,knocking in a couple of centuries on his way to winning five frames in a row and taking a 9-5 lead.Hawkins though wasn't for rolling over and he took the last two of the night to trail 9-7.They play to a finish tomorrow afternoon.