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World Snooker Championship 2023

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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:39 pm

It's been a tough year for Snooker. The biggest match-fixing investigation in the game's history saw ten Chinese players, including Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong, charged with match-fixing and suspended indefinitely. Weirdly, World Snooker have decided to hold the tribunal during the World Championships, meaning the showpiece event could be overshadowed. All this and persistent poor attendances at ranking events through the season have left a dark cloud over the game. Let's hope the World Championship can raise the game out of the gloom.

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is 4/1 favourite to make it a record-breaking 8th title in the modern era. Last year's finalist, and this year's Masters winner, Judd Trump is close behind at 5/1. Mark Selby's won a couple of ranking tournaments this season and finds himself at 6/1, with the 2010 World Champion, who has struggled ever since at the Crucible, Neil Robertson in at 7/1. One of the form players of the season, Shaun Murphy, has been backed heavily and is going off at 9/1.

This is the draw:

Spoiler:

The top half looks very stacked, with Ronnie, Trump, Lisowski, Williams and Murphy all very strong. Then you've got Milkins who has shown good form this season, plus the dangerous Ding and Brecel. McGill, Hossein and Walden are all good qualifiers too. Any player making it through that will have worked hard for it.

The bottom half looks much weaker. Selby a clear standout on current form, but Allen and Wilson could provide a threat to that. Carter's had a good season and Bingham will be optimistic about his chances. Higgins' level seems to have dropped off a lot, with plenty of early exits this year, and Robertson's failure seems inevitable as he seemingly has a mental block here.

I'm going to be astonishingly, dismally, fantastically dull for my overall prediction - Ronnie v Selby in the final, with Ronnie winning. The two have, of course, dominated this event in recent times, with O'Sullivan or Selby winning it on 8 out of the last 11 times, but they've only met in one final thus far.

O'Sullivan generally falls early or not at all - once he's reached the SF stage, he is very tough to stop. Of the last six times Ronnie has made the semi-finals of this event, he has gone on to win it five times and lost in the final once. The second-round or QF is generally his stumbling block, but he's forecast to play Ding and Williams in those rounds, and he has strong records against both (although I note both Ding and Williams have beaten him in the most recent meeting!). And Selby is in great form, the easier half of the draw, and has a pretty gentle incline to the final.

Outsiders I'd keep an eye on would be Carter and Liswoski. Lisowski has the game to win it, but mentally he falls apart in crunch situations. Maybe he can put it together this time?

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Post by 88Chris05 Sun Apr 16, 2023 5:16 am

Yep, a pretty good draw for Selby indeed. He's an outright favourite against anyone in that half, and he's hitting form at just the right time. Higgins hasn't got the consistency to beat him over three or more sessions anymore, and while Robertson continues to talk a good game about how he's realised what he needs to do to turn his dismal record of Crucible underachievement since 2010 around - we've heard it all before.

Other than Allen as an outsider I don't see much chance of a first-time winner, especially with Yan out of the picture. On a personal note I'd like to see Murphy win it again, and he's got the capabilities (plus he's in form) to become a multiple champion, but he probably needs one or even two of the big hitters on his side to fall a little early. I think Murphy's one of those guys good enough to win five matches at the Crucible, but he needs the right kind of opponents to play against.

Looking at the draw I don't see O'Sullivan failing to get to the semis, and Selby is probably evens to get to the final on his side....So an O'Sullivan-Selby final is a strong shout, Duty. If that happened I'd edge tentatively towards O'Sullivan, but Selby has given him absolute hell at the Crucible repeatedly. Not sure anyone else is capable of beating Selby in a four-session match these days, either.
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Post by Duty281 Sun Apr 16, 2023 8:13 am

O'Sullivan managed to beat the talented debutant Pang Junxu 10-7, but it was hardly vintage stuff, and afterwards O'Sullivan complained of feeling under the weather. Still, he's got a few days to recover until the second round.

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Post by Duty281 Mon Apr 17, 2023 8:06 am

Well, Carter's out. He was very frustrated with his performance throughout and missed several simple pots. His opponent, Jak Jones, will face Robertson in the next round. Robertson was in outstanding form in his first round game, compiling two 146 breaks en route to a 10-3 win.

And Brecel, finally, got his first ever win at the Crucible, edging out Walden 10-9. Incredible to think such a victory has eluded Brecel thus far.

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Post by Duty281 Mon Apr 17, 2023 9:17 pm

Utterly outrageous from Hossein Vafaei this morning. Trailing Ding 5-4 overnight, he won the first four frames in under an hour with a sublime exhibition of break-building, and eventually won 10-6. Vafaei has the potential to be a future World Champion, and if he maintains that quality, perhaps the future in this instance is in a couple of weeks time. Hopefully he can be an ambassador for the sport in Iran, in the same way that Ding has done so much for the game in China.

And Vafaei's second-round opponent? Ronnie O'Sullivan. Could be the game of the round, perhaps even the whole tournament.

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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 19, 2023 2:44 am

Trump in trouble - 6-3 down to McGill, though it would have been 5-4 had Trump potted a tough brown. Trump's long potting game has been substandard, and he's also missed quite a few that he should have got with his eyes closed. McGill, certainly one of the toughest qualifiers to draw, had a slow start, but entered the zone from the third frame onwards to power ahead.

Higgins is through. Though he won 10-3, I thought he looked quite scratchy in the first session, and he was probably fortunate to draw one of the weaker qualifiers.

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Post by 88Chris05 Wed Apr 19, 2023 3:22 am

I only saw the second session of the Higgins match. He was excellent from what I saw there, but as you say Grace never put him under any pressure and it's hard to tell how he'll fare against the bigger guns based on that. I remember him looking very scrappy and unconvincing early on in the 2011 tournament, which of course he ended up winning....But that was a very different time when he was younger and coming in off the back of a great season after his suspension.

If Trump falls then I really do think an O'Sullivan-Selby final is likely.
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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 19, 2023 8:57 pm

Kyren Wilson with a 147. clap

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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 20, 2023 2:02 am

Trump's out. Lost 10-6 to McGill. Trump started strongly this afternoon, and actually had first chance in the first five frames this session, but could only win three of those frames, and McGill eventually powered home. Trump looked beaten well before the finish and his performance was largely disappointing. He just doesn't have a way to grind to victory when he's off-form, unlike say Higgins or Selby.

McGill will be thinking he can make another deep run now. Next game is against Lisowski, who struggled through his first-round match with an abject display of tactical snooker, although he has the break-building to beat anyone. Should be another great second-round game, and this quarter of the draw, which also features Murphy and Perry, is very open now.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 20, 2023 3:17 am

Trump is a bit of a puzzle to me these days. Absolutely astonishing talent, and he's won a shed load of titles since he got the World Championship monkey off his back four years ago....But he's been very underwhelming since then in the Triple Crown events, the Masters earlier this year aside. His record in the BBC events, despite being the stuff most players could only ever dream of, is relatively weak when compared to his incredible capabilities.
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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 20, 2023 3:43 am

Yeah, I'd agree with that, and he didn't play very well in the Masters this year either, but did come away with the win. His record in the other ranking tournaments seems to have dropped off recently - he managed to win 11 ranking titles in the two seasons after his World Championship success, but only managed 3 titles in the next two seasons, and has of course ended this season with his worst Crucible performance since 2017. At 33 his career seems to be at a crossroads.

Selby's 6-3 up against Selt after the first session. Judging by his play and what he was saying in interviews, Selby seems in a very good place at the moment.

Second Round:

Ronnie v Vafaei - Vafaei has been trying to wind Ronnie up pre-game. If this were 2005 it may have worked, but I think Ronnie's too focused to let it get to him and he'll win by a fairly comfortable margin.
Brecel v Williams - New territory for Brecel, and I expect Williams to be too sharp and too experienced for him.
McGill v Lisowski - A fascinating tie this one, wouldn't be surprised if it went to a decider. Narrowly favouring Lisowski as I think there's a level to his game that is beyond McGill, but the Scot has the tactical game to defeat him.
Milkins/Perry v Murphy/Si - Yeah, we don't know yet! Murphy's in minor difficulty v Si, 4-5 down overnight.
Allen v Bingham - Another tight one between two players who rarely meet. Narrowly favouring Bingham due to Allen's continual struggles at this tournament, but again I wouldn't be surprised if it went to a 25th frame.
Jones v Robertson - Robertson was in superb form against Wu and I expect that to continue against possibly the weakest player left. The Aussie by several.
K Wilson v Higgins - Wilson looked strong v Day, his long potting was sharp, and I think he'll have too much for Higgins who I remain unconvinced by this year.
G Wilson v Selby - Selby not actually through just yet, but I don't think he'll have any issue beating Selt from his present position. I favoured Selby for the final pre-tournament, and I see no reason to go against him in the second round. Selby by a fair few.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 20, 2023 9:33 am

He's had an underwhelming season by his standards, but I wouldn't say Trump's at a career crossroads yet. 33 isn't very old by today's standards and I don't think his ability to win the big tournaments is going to decline precipitously for a good while yet.

He's still there or thereabouts, but he honestly looked like he could take the game to arguably a new level a few years back. I was absolutely convinced he was going to break the Crucible Curse going into the 2020 Championship. The performance he put in against Higgins in the previous year's final was astonishing. I've never seen anything anywhere near it when you consider all factors.

For a while he has that swagger and arrogance that a truly dominant force in a game can have, and the fear factor amongst his opponents that comes with that. But it seems as if some kind of nervousness or tension has crept into his game and mind somewhere. Starting with that 2020 UK final against Robertson which he threw away.

I'd be surprised if he doesn't win it again, but a player of his raw talent should really be aiming for at least three, maybe four world titles in my opinion. His top gear is frighteningly good, he just hasn't quite had it in key matches these last couple of years.
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Post by Soul Requiem Thu Apr 20, 2023 5:43 pm

88Chris05 wrote:Trump is a bit of a puzzle to me these days. Absolutely astonishing talent, and he's won a shed load of titles since he got the World Championship monkey off his back four years ago....But he's been very underwhelming since then in the Triple Crown events, the Masters earlier this year aside. His record in the BBC events, despite being the stuff most players could only ever dream of, is relatively weak when compared to his incredible capabilities.

He still hasn't developed a competent tactical game (relatively speaking) and you can't rely on break building alone to win the triple crown events consistently. Four wins across the three events is still very good and i'd argue representative of his overall ability, much like Robertson really.

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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 20, 2023 9:56 pm

Barely believable comeback as Milkins recovers from 2-7 to win 10-9 over Perry. Milkins certainly improved from the first session, with a very aggressive tempo, but Perry's ability this morning was that of total collapse.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 20, 2023 10:07 pm

I think it's more a case of his tactical game regressing recently rather than never developing at all, Soul. It was markedly improved around 2019 / 2020 and I don't think it's a coincidence that he was having his greatest success then.

Obviously he's always been able to outscore anyone, but around that time he was out-thinking and outmanoeuvring some pretty good tacticians too. He barely put a foot wrong in that 2019 final from a tactical point of view (obviously his scoring was absolutely sensational) and Higgins was forced to play so many shots from horrible positions.

He was never the best in that area, but he was certainly better than he is now. I suspect he's lost a bit of drive and doesn't feel the need to really do as much hard graft on his tactical game now, as he's won everything and therefore feels no pressure to change his naturally attacking game or answer to anyone, a bit like Murphy has said about himself.

But a potentially bigger issue, for me, is that Trump just seems a little shaky when under pressure or near a winning line these days. Whereas a few years ago he really was looking like a killer in those situations.
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Post by Duty281 Fri Apr 21, 2023 7:50 am

Murphy joins Trump in falling at the first hurdle. A 10-9 loss for Murphy. His opponent, Si Jiahui, just 20 years old and a supreme talent, winning on his Crucible debut. Think we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future and, indeed, at this competition, because Si's got Milkins in the second round, which is a very winnable game.

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Post by Duty281 Sat Apr 22, 2023 2:32 am

Ronnie 6-2 up against Vafaei after the opening session. Ronnie looking in excellent touch all the way through, with a strong tactical game and good shot selection - plus he brought up his 200th Crucible century along the way (the first to do so). But Vafaei has won a couple of close frames to keep himself in it.

One person who is not in it is Bingham. I thought this would be close, but Allen has stormed to a 12-4 lead after winning 7 of 8 frames this afternoon.

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Post by Duty281 Sat Apr 22, 2023 6:55 am

Another big name falling as Williams loses 11-13 to Brecel, a brilliant win for the Belgian. Brecel showed great maturity to close it out after Williams pulled it back to 11-11. The top half was stacked, but Trump/Murphy/Williams have all failed to reach the QFs.

Could be an even greater upset on with Jones leading Robertson 8-5. The Australian made a very slow start to proceedings in both sessions so far.

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Post by Soul Requiem Sun Apr 23, 2023 1:38 am

O'Sullivan beats Vafaei with a session to spare, based on that showing the Iranian isn't going to be making a dent at any of the major tournaments any time soon. After the wild break off in the second frame it was effectively already game over, seemed more concerned trying to rile Ronnie than trying to win.

Robertson is also out, not sure why but i've always disliked him and he's the one guy I always want to go out early which he invariably does. Much like Trump he highlights the difference between being a great break builder and being a great player.

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Post by Duty281 Sun Apr 23, 2023 1:53 am

Vafaei was beaten before the game started, it seems. Ronnie was so unbothered by his antics it was almost hilarious, but maintained top form throughout the game and gives himself a day off.

Never thought Robertson would make a serious run at this tournament, don't think many did, but I didn't see him getting comfortably beaten by Jak Jones, who has been (up until now) a journeyman pro who barely made it through qualifying.

Ronnie also up to 1,200 centuries today. Still waiting for anyone else to reach 1,000...

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Post by Duty281 Sun Apr 23, 2023 8:35 am

Selby grinding his way to a 5-3 overnight lead - the eight frames nearly dragging on to midnight. Selby not in top form, his cue ball control and long potting a concern, but he had the typical grit to win the last three frames and assume a solid position going into tomorrow.


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Post by Duty281 Sun Apr 23, 2023 10:00 pm

Wow, Higgins at his majestic best and leads Wilson 8-0 after one session, in a game many thought would be close. A lot of these second round games have been very one-sided. Three centuries for Higgins, very clinical, and Wilson couldn't grasp any of his limited opportunities.

A Higgins-Selby QF, with Higgins in this form, could be superb.

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Post by 88Chris05 Sun Apr 23, 2023 11:27 pm

Excellent session from Higgins. He'll have one eye on winning this with a session to spare now, which would be a huge bonus. Wilson was unlucky on a couple of occasions, and then understandably folded a little under the onslaught. But Higgins' superb play was clearly the biggest factor in this score line.

Couldn't see him beating Selby, unfortunately, just because Higgins has been such a shaky clincher under pressure these past few years. His bottle and coolness under the cosh, once one of his greatest strengths, has been a weakness in recent seasons.

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Post by Duty281 Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:34 am

Selby will need to show improvement to beat Higgins, and that's if he gets there, because he's currently toiling hard against the other Wilson, with the scores at 6-6 in a turgid contest.

Lisowski getting smashed 10-1, although it looks as though it'll soon be 10-2. The move to hire Ebdon as a coach/mentor doesn't seem to have paid dividends. If anything, Lisowski's tactical game has actually regressed.

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Post by Duty281 Mon Apr 24, 2023 7:15 am

The very talented Si Jiahui takes a commanding 11-5 lead over Milkins going into tomorrow. Selby controlled the second mini-session, with G Wilson very worn down, to move 10-6 up. And Higgins duly beat K Wilson in two sessions, although he broke down on a possible 147 in the last frame.

Means there's not going to be much interesting snooker played tomorrow, barring a stupendous comeback or two. It's been a very odd second round with only Williams/Brecel being a tight finish (as things stand).

A very curious QF line-up is in the offing. Only three of the top eight seeds have made it, along with three qualifiers, two of whom are actually debutants at the Crucible and ranked outside the world's top 50.

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Post by Duty281 Tue Apr 25, 2023 6:19 am

No great comebacks, not even a hint of one, so the QF line-up is as expected.

O'Sullivan hasn't been tested much so far, but I don't think Brecel has the tools to seriously challenge him. McGill v Si is an intriguing match-up - the young Chinese player is riding a great wave of momentum, but McGill has the experience and tactical game to severely limit his opponent's chances. For that reason I'm favouring the Scot.

Allen should have far too much for Jones. Allen's form has been good so far and he has dispelled recent struggles at this venue. Jones has picked up two highly impressive wins, but neither Carter nor Robertson played well. Selby against Higgins is a fantastic match-up. Pre-tournament I would have plumped for Selby no hesitation, but while I still favour him, Higgins' break-building and his destruction of K Wilson shows he has a very viable chance.

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Post by 88Chris05 Tue Apr 25, 2023 7:02 am

I think O'Sullivan deals with Brecel comfortably. I'd also pick McGill over Si - he's such a solid match player and, excellent as Si has been so far, he won't get the same chances against McGill as he did against Murphy and Milkins.

Allen should do away with Jones without all that much bother.

And so on to the meeting of two of the genuinely greatest players to have ever graced the baize. No doubt Higgins has been playing better than Selby in the tournament so far. However, both of these guys will know only too well that that counts for little at the Crucible in these kind of circumstances. That's been the issue with Higgins these past few years - he produces his nigh-on unplayable best in spurts, then chucks in a horror show out of nowhere. Selby, conversely, is a master of winning when not being in great form. He doesn't necessarily have the incredible highs of Higgins, but he has far fewer ugly lows as well.

I'd love to be proved wrong, because the sentimental side of me wouldn't mind seeing Higgins somehow win a fifth title, but I just see Selby slowly strangling the life out of him in the third session. Two evenly-matched players, as their very close head to head record and 3-2 (to Higgins) Crucible score line indicates, but I've got to go with the one who's closer to his prime, has a much more recent history of winning in Sheffield and who won't hand anything to his opponent. Sadly, you can't guarantee that last bit with Higgins these days.

But I'm rooting for Higgins.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue Apr 25, 2023 7:48 pm

Brecel takes a 2-1 lead over Ronnie. He has started very coolly - still take Ronnie to win.

Allen I take to beat Jak Jones.

McGill V Si is an interesting one as the 20-year-old looks pretty unfased with the situation and even the most difficult shots. Maybe just edge for McGill but I would not be surprised if Si were to win.

Higgins V Selby is mouth-watering. On tournament form then Higgins takes this but Selby has all the tools to win. I am going for a Higgins win.
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Post by 88Chris05 Tue Apr 25, 2023 9:24 pm

O'Sullivan wins a crazy seventh frame to go 5-2 up.

Brecel chucked in the worst miss of the championship so far (straight blue which he was just trying to roll in) to give O'Sullivan a chance, O'Sullivan then fluked the frame ball red. Brecel clawed back one snooker, O'Sullivan handed him the second when he accidentally brushed the black with his waistcoat while leaning over it. Brecel eventually worked his way into a chance to clear the colours, and then played a poor positional shot from blue to pink. Missed what was still a very gettable pink, and handed it back to O'Sullivan.

Absolute shocker there from Brecel.
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Post by 88Chris05 Tue Apr 25, 2023 9:33 pm

Brecel misses a black off the spot in the next frame, and O'Sullivan does the rest to move 6-2 ahead.

Think this one develops into an absolute whooping from here.
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Post by Duty281 Tue Apr 25, 2023 9:36 pm

That 7th frame was one of the most bizarre frames I can ever recall seeing. Ronnie has been short of his A game in this session, but Brecel hasn't taken advantage and will be trailing 6-2 going into tonight. Doesn't bode well for the Belgian, will need a minor miracle to overturn that deficit.

Jones looks as though as he's giving another more illustrious opponent a headache on the other table.

4-4 between Jones and Allen at the end of the first session. Both players having chances in a nervy final frame, but Jones with the key miss.

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Post by 88Chris05 Tue Apr 25, 2023 10:23 pm

A high-quality session between Allen and Jones ends with a very error-strewn eighth frame. Honours shared at 4 apiece.
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Post by 88Chris05 Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:02 am

Higgins wins a tense opener against Selby on a re-spotted black. Great final pot under pressure to edge it.

Superb opening frame.
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Post by 88Chris05 Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:22 am

2-0 Higgins, and an excellent start from him. He really is hitting the ball sweetly and positively in this tournament. Crunching those long ones in.
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Post by 88Chris05 Wed Apr 26, 2023 1:00 am

3-0 Higgins with an early 63 break doing most of the damage. Some dazzling tactical and safety play from both players, with Higgins getting the best of those exchanges so far.

As well as Higgins has played until this point, though, he has missed frame ball twice already in this match. Hasn't cost him yet but he'll need to eradicate that, because Selby looks as though he's playing well himself. He just hasn't had the chances yet.
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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 26, 2023 1:31 am

It's been a great chess game so far. I think Selby taking that 4th frame was crucial. He does look good when he gets presented with a chance, but such opportunities have been rare thus far. Selby's long potting hasn't been good, that was an area that he struggled with early on in the last round, before showing improvement.

Higgins has looked very good overall, long potting strong, safety play mostly excellent, but like you say he has thrown in some key misses.

Looks like McGill is struggling on the other table - 1-3 down and 52 points down in the 5th.

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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 26, 2023 2:49 am

Selby dominated the second half of that session. Was in first in the 5th, but broke down and Higgins countered to make it 4-1, then Selby blitzed the final three frames, getting a century in the last, without Higgins getting so much as a point in any of them. Selby was fortunate with a ridiculous fluke in the 6th, and Higgins played perhaps the worst safety shot I've ever seen from him in the 8th

4-4 overnight and Selby the happier of the two, I'd wager.

McGill v Si looking equally close.

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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 26, 2023 6:24 am

Pretty low-quality session between Ronnie and Brecel, eventually shared 4-4 on the night and taking the overall score to 10-6. Ronnie's shot selection has been prudent so far, but tonight it was cavalier, bordering on reckless, and his focus seemed to have deserted him. If his focus was down because he was fatigued, that's a concern going forward, though it may have been complacency. His long potting was also substandard tonight.

Mind you, no matter how many chances Ronnie coughed up, Brecel seemed to give up an equal number as he just couldn't take proper advantage of his opponent's lapses.

Allen is leading Jones 7-5. Jones went 4-5 up, but Allen countered through winning three consecutive frames which were all very tight affairs. May have just broken the spirit of his opponent, we'll soon see.

No, Jones won't go away, and it's 8-8 overnight. Three games tied and could go either way; just Ronnie looking assured of a semi-final spot at the moment.

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Post by Duty281 Wed Apr 26, 2023 11:02 pm

Allen squeezes through 13-10, after a marathon 23rd frame. Jones went 8-9 ahead, but what followed was a succession of basic misses that cost him any realistic chance and ended a very unlikely run at this tournament. Allen was well below his best, a better player would have defeated him, and he'll need a big improvement to get past either Selby or Higgins in the semis.

McGill v Si is locked at 8-8 after the second session. Selby and Higgins now asked to play two consecutive sessions to resolve their quarter-final.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 27, 2023 12:11 am

Bad miss from Higgins there, with the frame at his mercy. Selby capitalises and nudges 5-4 ahead.

Some portentous signs for Higgins here. He's making a lot of mistakes as he nears the winning line in frames.
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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 27, 2023 12:35 am

Higgins looking pretty shoddy at the moment, Selby's in danger of running away with it.

Looks like Ronnie's in trouble as well, Brecel's levelled it at 10-10. The defending champion will be grateful for the interval.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 27, 2023 1:23 am

Astonishing victory for Brecel. I never thought he had a chance against O'Sullivan to begin with, but trailing by four overnight? Forget about it. O'Sullivan was well off the pace for most of that session, but I loved the fearless way Brecel pounced to take advantage, and how he attacked the match-winning chance when it came.
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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 27, 2023 1:32 am

Yep, Brecel wins 13-10, a big shock. Ronnie led 6-2 after one session, but the Belgian won the rest 11-4 to knock out the champion. 7-0 today.

Ronnie was very poor again today. I'm not sure what the issue was, but it was reminiscent of his loss to Ding earlier in the season. Yesterday he was poor but wasn't punished for it. I thought he would have enough to win 3 of the 9 frames today, but his level today was even worse. He throws in these lapses from time to time.

Brecel was fantastic today and took his opportunities with fast, aggressive play. A dream run for him having already turned over Williams in a previous round, and now just McGill or Si standing in his way of a first world final, having previously never got past the first round. First continental European winner?

Ronnie's loss also means Mark Allen may have a chance to pip him to world number one. I believe Allen needs to win his semi-final for that to happen, which would be the first time he's reached number one, otherwise Ronnie stays at the top.

Selby...the way looks clear for him to add number five, especially now he's taken control of the Higgins game.

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Post by Duty281 Thu Apr 27, 2023 9:07 am

Si Jiahui into the final, winning a final-frame decider against McGill. Si was trailing for much of the session, but never let go and pipped his more experienced opponent to the post with some fantastic long-range potting and quality safety play. The first semi-final Si has ever reached in his professional career, what an astonishing run it has been, and so badly needed with much of Chinese snooker currently in disgrace.

Earlier, Selby absolutely savaged Higgins, winning 13-7, after initially trailing 1-4. Made it look quite easy in the end.

So two interesting semi-finals lined up, with some great sub-plots:

Si v Brecel - Two unlikely semi-finalists. Brecel could be the first world finalist from continental Europe and, potentially, the first winner. Si is bidding to be just the second Chinese finalist of the event, potentially the first Chinese winner, and possibly the youngest ever world champion, eclipsing Stephen Hendry. This should be a fantastic game between two attacking players. Close to 50-50, I reckon. Brecel is capable of greater peaks than Si, but his lows can be quite devastating. I'd love Si to go all the way and win it.

Allen v Selby - An Allen victory would make him the first Northern Irish finalist since Taylor in '85, and I believe it would put Allen up to number one in the world. Selby, now the outright favourite, looking to win his fifth world crown in ten years. I have to favour Selby quite comfortably in this one. In his last nine best of 33/best of 35 matches, Selby has won eight, losing just the once to O'Sullivan, while Allen has only been this deep in the worlds once before, and it was a fair while ago. Allen will need to show a big improvement from his win over Jones in the QF to get close to Selby. But Selby will probably ensnare his opponent in the tactical web, then finish him off with a ruthless nature.

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Post by 88Chris05 Thu Apr 27, 2023 10:10 pm

Didn't see any snooker last night (was in the stands watching Forest get a vital three points!), but not at all surprised that Selby ended up clobbering Higgins. He's just too tough and too good all-round for Higgins now.

Selby is going to win a fifth (and maybe even more beyond) sooner or later, and I'd be slightly surprised if it wasn't this year now. From a fan perspective I'd be happy with any of the other three pulling it off - all scenarios would be exciting and very good for the game in their own way.

My guess would be a Brecel-Selby final, with Selby winning it....But I was wrong on two of the four quarters, so what do I know?
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Post by No name Bertie Fri Apr 28, 2023 3:39 am

This championship favours the tortoise over the hare.
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Post by 88Chris05 Fri Apr 28, 2023 9:32 pm

He might not win it this year, but wow, Si really is looking like a killer and it makes you wonder how this is his first ranking semi final, despite him being so young.

Plays with so much calmness and composure, and his long potting technique is superb. 11-5 up on Brecel going into tonight's session.
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Post by Duty281 Fri Apr 28, 2023 9:43 pm

Si has been astonishing. His long potting and cue ball control have been fantastic, and the composure for a 20-year-old debutant playing at the biggest event, in a foreign land, has been unbelievable. It reminds me a little of Trump's run to the final in 2011, but of course Trump had already done a little bit on the circuit before that effort, whereas Si was almost a complete unknown - he is the lowest ranked player to reach the semi-finals since Griffiths (who was unranked) in 1979.

In a first to 17 Brecel isn't quite out of it, but he'll need a 6-2 win tonight (minimum).

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Post by 88Chris05 Sat Apr 29, 2023 1:13 am

Sickener for Allen there. Had Selby at a snooker required, had two very gettable pots to really put it to bed, but he missed both and sure enough Selby got the snooker and pinched the frame on the black. 6-4 to Allen but really should have been 7-3.

Very, very hard watch at the moment. There's already been a lot of scrappy, 40-plus minute frames and dour, dogged tactical battles. Selby is below par here and Allen needs to capitalise, but he'll be kicking himself for letting that one get away from him.
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Post by Duty281 Sat Apr 29, 2023 3:23 am

Just Selby being Selby, isn't it? Near unbeatable over these longer format (best of 33/35) games. And after the marathon 10th, Selby took the next three to take a 7-6 overnight lead (they fell three frames short due to timing issues).

Two more sessions to resolve it. Will Allen fade away like Higgins and G Wilson, or push Selby close?

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