William Goldman, the renowned Hollywood screenwriter, once said of the movie industry: "nobody knows anything."

The same can be said of sport. For all the endless punditry, sport is about human emotions as much as the formbook. It's about seizing the chance.

So for all the predictions, anything can happen. This was certainly the case for Chelsea against Barcelona last night and is increasingly true of the Betfred.com World Championship.

Andrew Higginson seized his chance well against Stephen Lee, the most consistent player since the turn of 2012.

Lee won what looked like a big frame to close the gap to 7-6 at the interval, enjoying a few slices of luck in the process.

But what happened next spoke volumes for Higginson's attitude. Instead of spending the interval down in the dumps he reminded himself he was still in front, made his first Crucible century and won 10-6.

Even after he lost 5-4 from 4-0 up to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the German Masters, Higginson took the positives. He felt he had played well and refused to get on his own case. A few weeks later he reached the semi-finals of the PTC Grand Finals.

There are enough things that can go wrong in snooker, and more than enough people who can beat you, without you having to get down on yourself. Higginson has got the reward for accentuating the positives.

O'Sullivan came through rather tamely in the end against Peter Ebdon but from ten results, five seeds have lost and several more are in trouble.

Judd Trump woke up yesterday with food poisoning. He was seen literally being sick in a Crucible toilet.

He looked pale and in pain but creditably came out 5-4 up on Dominic Dale.

Ding Junhui resumes in touch with Ryan Day, trailing 5-4, but Mark Selby, who has barely practised since withdrawing from the China Open with a trapped nerve in his neck, fell 6-3 adrift to Barry Hawkins in a session which ground on, and on.

Graeme Dott's performance was perhaps the biggest surprise of all. The 2006 champion hasn't had the best of seasons but the way he played against Joe Perry must have been a desperate disappointment.

When you are getting ironic cheers for winning a frame, as Dott did in the ninth, you know it isn't going to be your year.


Dzierzgul said...

I think Matt from ProSnooker blog is right: moving the qualifying round has made a difference. The qualifiers are match-sharp and this comes as a surprise to seeded players, some of whom perhaps got a bit used to taking the first round at the Crucible for granted. This year, they have it harder than they thought and it puts them under additional pressure.

The playing field is really levelling then and Barry Hearn's promised land of true merit in snooker is approaching...

Richie Segal said...

Hi Dave,

What is the record for the most seeds going out in the first round ?

Dott is going, Selby and Ding in trouble.

kildare cueman said...

Fantastic tournament so far. Great to see the seeds finally being challenged. Anyone can win a snooker match these days and with bookies pricing the "old reliables" at odds of 1-7 or thereabouts there is great value to be had backing outsiders.
What happened Graham Dott? I know Perry is a decent player but thought that Dotts B game would, at worse, see him 6-3 down overnight. Hope all is ok off the table with him. All will be revealed in good time I suppose.

Good win for Higginson. Not a huge surprise though. Hes been around a while now and is one of the 28 or so "top 16 players". Lee will be disappointed but should be happy with his season overall.

Sullivan didnt play his best but interestingly, title winners tend to improve as the tourney progresses and rarely set the world alight in round one.

Think Trump has a chance but he's not the huge favourite the bookies make him. I suppose with Murphy and Lee out the top half has opened up with only Higgins or Maguire likely to stop him.

Still cant pick a likely winner. If I won a free bet on the outright winner I think I'd pick half a dozen players and stick a pin for my pick. Thats how open it is. All on the day. All marvellous players.

Dave H said...

The record for seeds losing is 8 in 1992

Richie Segal said...

Cheers dave

Anonymous said...

i dont think any seeds EVER take the first round at the crucible for granted.

some may expect to win, but theyll know that if they play bad, they can lose to anyone who has qualified, so in that respect "taking for granted" is not something i think they do

Anonymous said...

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Hi David. Another great day's play, in my view.

Dott .V. Perry - Resuming 8-1 up, Perry wasted little time, in winning the first two fames of the session, to clinch a 10-1 win. Dott, well below his best. Perry picked up the pieces. Another top 16 seed, is out.

Ding .V. Day - Day held a 5-4 lead, made it 6-4. Ding looked the stronger, as he took the next five frames, to lead 9-6. He had a chance to win, 10-8, missed a red. He had a chance to win, 10-9, missed a red with the rest. Result - A great 10-9 win, fo Day. Another top 16 seed, is out.

Trump .V. Dale - Resuming 5-4 up, with illness, Trump, out of sorts, fell 6-5 down. He won the next fram. Dale went 7-6 up, Trump with good play, in spells, won the next four frames, to win, 10-7.

Williams .V. Liu - Tight and scrappy, early on, to 3 all. Williams's then showed calss, winning the next three frames, the last of these, with a century break, to lead, 6-3, over-night.

Selby .V. Hawkins - Selby was 6-3 down, he never won another frame. Hawkins winning, 10-3. Anoter top 16 seed, is out.

Carter .V. Davis - Davis errors, and Carter great play, including, a Carter century break, lead to carter leading, 8-1. over-night.

Stat Of The Day -

Today, 25-4- 2012, is the 76th birthday, of former professional, and BBC commentator, ray Edmonds. He was born , on, 25-4-1936. Happy 76th birthday, to him.

Anonymous said...

Got to feel for Selby. I'm not his biggest fan, but he didn't deserve to be humiliated by a 10-3 loss to Barry Hawkins. It reminded me a bit of watching Hunter compete with cancer, seeing a player compromised by health issues and being pulverised by a journeyman always leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

John Michael White said...

This might be a stab in the dark, but do you think the PTCs are having an effect? Tournament play must be a skill in itself, and it's got to be a boon to players lower down the rankings to have so many opportunities to play in match conditions.

Anonymous said...

Dave I recall you saying eurosport had "blanket coverage" of the worlds,we won't see a ball potted til 7pm tonight! Care to retract that one

Anonymous said...

who were the 8 seeds to fall way back then?

who did they get beat off?

Anonymous said...

David, question for you please:

Tomorrow i plan to record the Higgins match in the morning.

Is it on Eurosport?

I have the Virgin package on ES1 and ES2 as well as ESHD.

Just wondering if you know just now what channel i should record, if its on any?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the qualifiers kicking some seeded ass. Can't see any of them stopping Trump or Robertson. If either of them will be beaten it'll most likely be by Maguire in sf1 and O'Sullivan in qf3. But for now I'll continue enjoying the drama. What a great tournement!

Anonymous said...

It's been a peculiar tournament. Tons of seeds have gone out but you still have Higgins in the first quarter, Trump in the second, O'Sullivan and Robertson (and possibly Williams) in the third, so the draw hasn't really opened up at all. There is an opportunity for a player to have a good run in the fourth quarter, but I don't see the winner come from that section.

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