Just short of two weeks ago, 32 of the best snooker players in the world descended on the Crucible Theatre Sheffield to contest this year’s World Snooker Championship. Mark Williams was the defending champion of the event and there was plenty of focus on the in-form Ronnie O’Sullivan who was seeking his sixth World Title in an illustrious career.
However, this year’s tournament has seen a number of upsets, a stunning performance from a qualifier who has now reached the semifinals, while some of the younger talent in World Snooker have produced some stellar performances to knock out some of the older guard and claim their spot in the latter stages of the event.
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Before we bring you the latest on the four quarterfinals taking place as I write, let’s give you a brief round up on how some of the bigger stars who fell before this stage got on.
World Championship Snooker Round Up
Defending Champion Mark Williams opened up the 2019 World Championships with a solid win over Martin Gould, winning 10-7, but then he ran into an in-form David Gilbert in the second round, who saw off the Welshman 13-9 in a high-quality encounter.
There was no doubting the shock of the first round though as that came in the game between Ronnie O’Sullivan and qualifier James Cahill, with the Rocket misfiring and allowing the youngster to claim a stunning 10-8 victory. Cahill then pushed Stephen Maguire hard in the second round, only losing out 13-12 to the experienced Scotsman.
Ding Junhui defeated Anthony McHill 10-7 in the opening round but then ran into an in-form Judd Trump who produced a sensational last session of snooker to rattle off six frames in a row to win heir encounter. 13-9.
Former world champion Shaun Murphy made light work of Luo Honghao in the first round winning 10-0, but ran into the in-form Aussie Neil Robertson with the fourth seed emerging with a comprehensive 13-6 victory. The best two second round games though saw Barry Hawkins and Kyren Wilson produce a superb game with Hawkins coming out the loser, Wilson winning 13-11, while in another second round classic, two former World Champions met with John Higgins earning a 13-11 victory over Stuart Bingham.
However the player for shocks was unheralded qualifier Gary Wilson. In an incredible first round match, which featured the longest frame in Crucible history, Wilson defeated 14th seed Luca Brecel 10-9 and he then saw off third seed and former World Champion Mark Selby 13-10 to set up a quarterfinal with a former Crucible finalist, Ali Carter.
World Championship Quarterfinals
Wilson cuts no slack for Ali
Gary Wilson’s incredible run at the Crucible continued in his quarterfinal withAli Carter. The former, a two-time finalist here, was the favourite to win the game but Wilson produced some fine snooker in the best-of-25 frames match to close out a 13-9 victory and become the first player into the one-table set up of the semifinals.
His opponent looks likely to be Judd Trump who after struggling in the opening two rounds found his form in the last session against Ding Junhui and has been in irrepressible form since, opening up a 7-1 lead over Stephen Maguire, raising the prospect that Trump could well seal the victory with a session to spare.
The other two semi-finals are more delicately poised. After the morning session today David Gilbert’s good run of form has continued as he leads Kyren Wilson 10-6, although Wilson did come back from a similar deficit against Barry Hawkins in the last round, so he cannot be written off just yet.
Finally, at the time of writing, John Higgins and Neil Robertson, two of the big favourites to win the tournament now, are embroiled in a fierce tactical battle with Robertson leading 7-6 at the time of writing, although it looks very likely that Higgins will take the 14th frame between the pair to level things up at 7-7.
Bet365 has currently outright betting on the seven remaining players in the tournament and the odds (correct as of 1.15pm on Wednesday 1st May 2019) are as follows:
- Judd Trump – 11/10
- Neil Robertson – 9/4
- John Higgins – 15/2
- Gary Wilson – 12/1
- David Gilbert – 14/1
- Kyren Wilson – 22/1
- Stephen Maguire – 150/1
It is abundantly clear that the stellar form shown by Judd Trump, particularly in his last two sessions of snooker at the World Championships have been a key factor in his odds shortening so greatly. Neil Robertson has been in solid form in every game throughout the Championship and whoever wins out of him and John Higgins, is likely to find their odds shorten considerably overnight.
Gary Wilson is the unknown quantity here and he has beaten a number of high quality players, including a former World Champion and World Number 1 in order to reach this stage. He is untested at this level in reality, and the longer format may well play into the hands of the more experienced players, but he could be worth an each way bet to reach the final at 12/1 although I don’t think he quite has the quality to win the title.
The value bet for me is Kyren Wilson. He may well be bejind in his quarterfinal with David Gilbert but he is capable of pulling back that deficit. He is in form and when he plays well is a real threat and at 22/1 at the moment, if he can win three of the first four frames of the afternoon session, I’d expect those odds to tumble, so grab them while you can.