Judd Trump and Ding Junhui have been the season’s two heaviest scorers. Trump yesterday made his 56th century of the campaign in beating Dominic Dale 10-5. This sets a new record for a single campaign, surpassing Mark Selby’s 55 last season, but Ding, a 10-5 winner over Alan McManus, has made 53.
Trump has come good again after a few tournaments in which he failed to shine. He looked super confident against Dale and, though it’s still early days, many are already looking forward to a semi-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Next for Trump, though, is Marco Fu, who felt the pressure before seeing off Matthew Stevens 10-7, having led 9-4.
Our old friend ‘clincher’s disease’ seemed to play a part here. Some players would have you believe this anxiety doesn’t exist. It does, and not just in snooker or even sport.
Put simply, it’s getting close to achieving the thing you want and, therefore, becoming worried you won’t achieve it, thus affecting your ability to achieve it.
In life it could be going over to chat someone up and fluffing your lines. In snooker it has led to many a collapse.
Anyway, Fu won and can test Trump, but the latter’s heavy scoring and reborn confidence will make him favourite.
Ding was given a battle by McManus, who will look back on the second half of the first session as his bad spell. Ding won all five of these frames, otherwise it was closely matched.
Sam Baird, like many a debutant before him, struggled last night as Stuart Bingham coasted into an 8-1 overnight lead, which he’ll be looking to convert this evening to set up a meeting with Mark Davis.
Neil Robertson and Robert Milkins return this afternoon after playing out an entertaining first session in which Robertson built a 5-2 lead with the aid of a wonderful 143 total clearance – the highest break so far – only for Milkins to close to 5-4.
Tonight it’s time once again for Poom to shake the room.
Dechawat Poomjaeng became an unlikely cult hero during his 10-9 win over Stephen Maguire and now faces Michael White, who at 21 is looking to continue his own Crucible adventure.
Has there ever been a second round match at the Crucible between two players outside the world’s top 40? Or who are each appearing in the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time?
It’s a clash of the unknown quantities. Some are saying that Poomjaeng has effectively had his final and may now struggle but it’s worth pointing out that the Thai won four matches to qualify for Sheffield and is really match fit.
The other second round match to start today features two former champions: Shaun Murphy, the winner in 2005, and Graeme Dott, who superseded him as champion in 2006.
We’re up to best of 25s now which tells you the World Championship is starting to get serious.