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Monday, 25 April 2016

World Championship Day 10 Round Up

Day 10 and the most dramatic day of the tournament so far,as the hot favourite for the title Ronnie O'Sullivan,went down 13-12 to Barry Hawkins in a real Crucible classic.

Hawkins had lead 5-3 in this one after they had shared the second session he lead coming into tonight 9-7.Its funny how often you see in these long matches that an early lead can last the whole way through a match and it seemed to be happening here as twice Ronnie got within one,only for Hawkins to win the next to keep the gap at two going to the interval 11-9.

Out they came to play to a finish and what looked the decisive moment as Hawkins moved within one of victory at 12-9.This was not a case of Ronnie been disinterested and just how much he wanted this was evident as two quickfire frames brought him within one again at 12-11.

Hawkins had a chance to seal the victory,but after a kick he never gained full cueball control and when he presented Ronnie with one last chance he duly took it to set up dramatic conclusion.

Into the decider and it was Ronnie who potted the initial red,but failing to get position on a baulk colour a tense safety battle ensued. With only a few reds in the open it looked like whoever got the first scoring chance would be in pole position and when Hawkins got in,he build a lead that despite his best efforts Ronnie could not retrieve.The final nail in O'Sullivan's coffin came when in potting a red the cueball went in off and Hawkins was left with the easiest of match ball reds to claim a famous 13-12 win.

So Hawkins marches on to the quarter finals and can take great pleasure from the fact that not only has he laid some of his "Ronnie ghosts" to rest,but he did so against a Ronnie playing very very well.If that doesn't give him confidence going forward,nothing will.

With Ronnie now gone suddenly the bottom half of the draw looks very open and those left will start to maybe fancy their chances.That will certainly be the case for Kyren Wilson who held off a Mark Allen comeback to book his last 8 place.

Starting off this morning with an 11-5 lead Wilson was a big favourite to advance,but just as he had done last night Allen won the first four of the day to pull back within two again at 11-9.

The interval though once again checked the Ulstermans momentum and Wilson held his nerve to take the two he needed to win 13-9.

There will also be those who feel that this may just be the year that Ding Junhui finally makes a charge at the games biggest prize after seeing off Judd Trump here 13-10.

This one had not been the free scoring match we.had expected early on,but that changed this morning as both men started to fire in the big breaks.The tone for the session was set in the opening frame with Ding first in with 65 only to see the frame go to Trump with a 70.Ding though quickly re-established his four frame lead with a 72 and moved to the hill with a 91,his lead 12-7.

Trumps back was now very much against the wall,but to his credit he came out fighting.Runs of 61,56 & 88 saw him claim three in a row as Ding looked to be feeling the pressure,but the Chinese managed to hold himself together to win the next and win the match 13-10.

Ding can now look forward to facing Mark Williams in the quarter finals ,but for Trump its a case of back to the drawing board.He has played it down since,but surely the fact he lost four frames in a row following his interval Twitter spat with Dominic Dale during the first session cannot be discounted as coincidence.Maybe he needs to learn how to focus more during a game. If he doesn't change something we may well be looking back at 2011 as the closest he's got to winning a title that for so long looked to be his birthright.

Meanwhile making his way serenely through the tournament is John Higgins who clinically saw off Ricky Walden to set up an all Scottish quarter final against fellow veteran Alan McManus.

Starting the night 10-6 ahead Higgins took the opening frame to go 11-6.Walden to his credit managed to pull two back to make it 11-8,but runs of 92 & 99,either side of the interval,saw Higgins home with a comfortable 13-8 win.

So eight men start out tomorrow maybe just feeling this could be their year.Whatever happens we have a few very interesting days ahead.

Quarter Final Draw
Alan McManus v John Higgins
Ding Junhui v Mark Williams
Marco Fu v Barrly Hawkins
Kyren Wilson v Mark Selby

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