Defending champion Mark Selby reached the second round of the World Cup despite looking far from his best in a 10-7 victory over Jamie Jones. Selby spent three centuries, but struggled for consistency in a match that marked his first appearance at the Crucible since he revealed he was struggling with his mental health.
Selby had sat at recent tournaments in Gibraltar and Turkey and it was perhaps inevitable that he would take the time to settle down. But Jones had to thank him for missing a number of chances to make the game much tighter. Turning a 6-3 lead after the morning session into an 8-3 lead on his recovery in the evening, Selby proceeded with difficulty as Jones slammed his way back into contention at 8-6.
But Selby responded after showing the kind of battle quality that earned him four world titles, with a score of 137 which also marked his 100th century of career in this tournament. Jones reduced the deficit again, but Selby got the best of a number of visits in the next quarter, taking advantage of a costly in-off from his opponent to finally end up a stunning victory.
“It was pretty emotional to come back here today,” he said. “The result was irrelevant until I went out and tried to please and smile a little, and that’s what happened. The main thing for me at the moment is just getting better.” When it came to 9-7 , I saw that he liked the job. But I sat in my chair and thought, if he comes back and beats me 10-9, I’ve always liked him. The time I stop having fun is when I hang up my tail. ”
Ronnie O’Sullivan dispelled an early fear to establish a 6-3 lead over David Gilbert in the opening session of his first-round match, which concludes Sunday. O’Sullivan, who was looking to break Stephen Hendry’s modern record of seven world crowns, lost the first three frames to the 2019 semi-finalist, but responded with two seconds to move into a dominant position.
Gilbert was the toughest possible first-round pick for O’Sullivan, who spotted Friday’s “carnage” between seeds in the early stages of this year’s competition because of the quality of those who came to qualifying.
And it looked like the 46-year-old could become the most prominent victim as the 56 and 94 breaks helped Gilbert ease into a 3-0 lead, before an 122 from O’Sullivan put him back on track before the game. mid-session interval. .
O’Sullivan intensified the pace after the break and Gilbert began to walk under pressure, producing a series of errors that the favorite exploited in a characteristic manner.
Jackson Page, at the age of 20, the youngest player in this year’s main draw, has established a 6-3 lead for the night over former finalist Barry Hawkins.
Page scored six half-yards, including a 102-yard break in the eighth quarter, and could be a blow for Hawkins, who got the snooker needed to win the final quarter of the day.
UK champion Zhao Xintong was in cruising control, hitting two centuries and four more centuries as he set up a 7-2 lead over Jamie Clarke while Stephen Maguire led Shaun Murphy 6-3.