Neil Robertson - Liang Wenbo | Ad-Free
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That concludes our live coverage for the evening, join us again tomorrow for more first round action from the 2021 World Snooker Championship. Take care out there, night night.
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Neil Robertson is through to the second round
I believe they call that putting a marker down. Robertson utterly dominated Liang in both sessions of this match, and with two centuries and a 73 tonight he polished off this match before the mid-session interval. He is going to take some stopping, and one of Ali Carter and Jack Lisowski will get the first crack at that in the second round. It's a tough side of the draw, with Kyren Wilson and Judd Trump potentially lurking later on, but Robertson's performance here thoroughly justified his status as one of the short odds favourites for the title.
In other news, Jamie Jones has swept the first mini-session tonight against Stephen Maguire, and is just one frame from victory at 9-4.
Robertson 10-3 Liang
That's all; Robertson empties the table for a 73 that takes frame and match.
Robertson 9-3 Liang (46-35)
Robertson does indeed split the reds, potting the blue and sending the pink into them; from there, a plant on two into the bottom left as put frame and match at his mercy. All of the reds are mopped up with colours, and the baulk colours will be enough...
Robertson 9-3 Liang (10-35)
Liang misses a black off its spot to halt his break on 34. Robertson can't then convert a red to counter, but after dropping in another red Liang misses the black into the left middle. That's a shocker as it was such a simple cut; one good split on the reds from Robertson in a few shots time and Liang could be out of the tournament.
Robertson 9-3 Liang (0-20)
Surely all Liang can do now is delay the inevitable. He gets the 13th frame popping with a stunning long red, deadweight into the bottom left to land on the black, but he can only make eight before missing a red across the table and into the right middle. Robertson gets a bad contact when trying to drop a red into the same pocket, sending the pot offline and bringing Liang back for an easy starter.
Robertson 9-3 Liang
The ton's done, Robertson's second of the night. That 110 has put Robertson just one frame from victory.
Robertson 8-3 Liang (55-0)
There's the half-century, and all seven remaining reds are in the open. If any player serves up chances like this to Robertson in this next fortnight, they're going to get annihilated; his break building skills are among the best we've ever seen.
Robertson 8-3 Liang (23-0)
Liang absolutely wallops a mid-range red to the bottom left, almost jumping out of the shot before he'd delivered the cue, and he's missed it by a mile. He's also left the world on for Robertson, and already it looks like an open door to 9-3. Robertson gets away with one early on, rattling one red furiously in the jaws of the bottom left before it dropped, but he's looking good now.
Robertson 8-3 Liang
A second bite for Liang, as Robertson escapes a snooker but sticks the green up over the right middle. Liang needs the lot but again plays a bad positional shot, this time on brown to blue, and he misses his thrash at a mid-range blue to the bottom right. It lands invitingly for Robertson, who calmly slots home that and the pink to take the frame.
Robertson 7-3 Liang (50-37)
Uh oh. Robertson goes in-off when escaping a snooker; he's left Liang with ball in hand, an easy starter and only the green in what could be considered a slightly awkward position. Liang simply has to take this, but he makes an almighty mess of trying to get over to the green and is forced to play safe. What a let off for Robertson that is.
Robertson 7-3 Liang (50-25)
Oh what a pot from Robertson! He drains a bullet straight long red into the bottom right to get control of the table. You really couldn't draw the mechanics of the perfect cue action any better than what he does naturally. He can't bag a colour with it but he takes control of the safety exchange that follows and forces an error from Liang, who leaves him an easy red to the bottom right. Robertson moves 25 ahead, with one red left on the table.
On the other table Jamie Jones now leads Stephen Maguire 7-4. That's some turnaround, as Maguire own the first three frames of that match.
Robertson 7-3 Liang (40-25)
Liang gets a reprieve, as Robertson motors to 32 but is unluckily snookered by a respotted black after playing a canon into two reds near the black spot. He plays safe instead, and there's still 59 out there.
Robertson 7-3 Liang (8-25)
Now then! Robertson gets in after a deadweight safety leaves a red on to the bottom left. He starts motoring, but upon splitting the reds open off the blue he sends a red in-off into the bottom right, and what a chance for Liang now. There is an absolute load on here, and one good pot on the black that relocates it to the pink spot for now has opened everything up. Disaster strikes on 15 though, as he catches the bottom jaw of the right middle with the black. It stays out, and he's left it all on for Robertson.
Robertson 7-3 Liang (0-5)
Can Liang fire back? He's kaboomed a red into the bottom right from distant at the start of frame 11, so that's the right way to go about it. He can only make five though after overrunning the black, so it won't be at this visit.
Robertson 7-3 Liang
It's 'only' a round hundred, as Robertson leaves the final red in the jaws of the bottom left. More importantly, he's now just three frames from victory.
Robertson 6-3 Liang (70-0)
The frame ball black wobbles in the bottom left a little, but it's there. Liang won't be coming back here, unless he's gifted some potting practice to get his arm moving.
Robertson 6-3 Liang (50-0)
Robertson abandons his run of red-blacks at 6-5 to go up for the blue. The half-century soon follows, and the reds are so nicely spread that you'd back him not only to extend his lead but bank a chunky ton here.
Robertson 6-3 Liang (25-0)
No messing around here, as Robertson picks off a stray red after Liang's break and is flying already. He almost loses position when going into the pack but recovers it by draining a long red into the green pocket. Robertson was very impressive in the first session, and he looks bang up for it here.
The boys: baize; baize: the boys. Formalities over, let's get about it.
State of play
Robertson needs four to reach the second round, Liang needs seven. The winner will face either Jack Lisowski or Ali Carter in the second round.
We’re steaming on with the World Championship action, and it’s time for the evening session. We’ll have the conclusion of the first round match between Neil Robertson and Liang Wenbo shortly, with Robertson leading 6-3. On the other table, Stephen Maguire and Jamie Jones will settle their tie, with Maguire currently one frame up.
Higgins 3-4 Tian
Higgins drills in a long red, and then puts the yellow safe; he's 49 ahead with 43 on. This frame has felt longer than the entire run of Coronation Street, but it's over now as Tian serves up a red over the left middle and Higgins slices it in. The players come off and will resume tomorrow, with Tian holding a slender one frame advantage.
We'll be back with you from 6.45pm for the conclusion of Neil Robertson versus Liang Wenbo.
Higgins 2-4 Tian (65-17)
Finally a red goes down after Tian rattles one in the jaws of the bottom right and Higgins mops it up. He's not on a colour though, so on we go.Higgins plugs the next red too, again without a colour attached; if he can dispatch another, Tian will need a snooker. There's a hint of desperation about this frame now, as losing or winning it will be huge in either case. Tian clips the pink when playing a rest shot meaning he then requires a snooker, only to then watch Higgins go in-off immediately to keep the frame alive. What a shambles!
Higgins 2-4 Tian (57-13)
Higgins gets another chance but can only make nine from it, and picks up four more as Tian misjudges another thin contact safety and misses the object red. Higgins then fouls on the black, and Tian on the pink; another lengthy frame is snarled up in safety play with all five remaining reds clustered near the bottom cushion.
Higgins 2-4 Tian (38-6)
It’s 34 from Higgins, before he has to give up on a losing battle with position and play safe. Tian misses a thin contact safety to concede four points, and we're now locked in a safety battle. In commentary, Dave Hendon advises that this will be the last frame of the session.
Higgins 2-4 Tian (6-6)
For the second time today, Tian pots two reds in one shot; these are both preposterous flukes after he wildly misses an attempt at a long red into the bottom left. Higgins then sends four points his way after shorting a deadweight safety off one cushion. Higgins then forces a red down, followed by a superb long brown into the bottom left off which he canons into three reds near the pink spot to open up the frame. That’s a great shot.
Higgins 2-4 Tian
He needed that. A 71 from Higgins winds a quick fire frame, and he now trails by two frames.
Higgins 1-4 Tian (58-0)
Tian leaves a long tempter for Higgins, who rolls it into the heart of the bottom right to land on the black. It’s been a torrid start, but there are signs that Higgins might be getting it together in this one. Another 30 goes in to his score, and the reds are perfectly set for a quick win here.
Higgins 1-4 Tian (28-0)
It's looking like we might not get through the nine frames in the session today, with the players due to come off in 45 minutes or so in time for the change over for the evening. Can John find a way back before then? He's in first in frame five with a red into the left middle, and has a decent table to go at here. His break stalls on 28 though as he sticks to a red when going into the pack, and a promising chance vanishes.
Higgins 1-4 Tian
It’s all six colours for the frame, and Higgins starts dispatching them as calmly as someone strolling to the shops to buy a pint of milk. Just as it looks like he’s going to do that thing that John Higgins does though, he’s missed the blue to the left middle! Oh my oh my. Tian mops up blue and pink, and he’s won another one.
Higgins 1-3 Tian (35-54)
Tian’s had a touch, fluking one red off another and into the bottom right, and he’s on the green. That goes, but a hugely ambitious cut on a long red to the bottom right doesn’t go close and it’s freed up the only safe red to leave Higgins an easy starter. If Higgins can get it together here, Tian could well regret that choice. The remaining reds go with colours, and Higgins is right back in this one as he goes up for the yellow.
Higgins 1-3 Tian (7-50)
Higgins is having one; he's missed a gun barrel straight green from short range early in his break, and Tian is in again. A good recovery pot on a long red to the green pocket keeps him on track. Tian looks really composed this afternoon. He adds on 26, but loses position after underhitting the pink when potting it, and he's not on anything. That's a massive let off for Higgins, as 4-1 looked a certainty there.
Higgins 1-3 Tian (0-24)
We're back, just as we hear that on the other table David Gilbert has beaten Chris Wakelin 10-4 to advance to the second round. After Higgins catches the pink from a one cushion snooker escape, Tian bags himself a two-for-one at the start of the fifth frame, planting one red onto another and watching both roll into the bottom right, and he's away again. On 18 though he misses a black off its spot while concentrating on opening the pack, and he's gifted a chance to Higgins.
Higgins 1-3 Tian
In trying to get some points together before playing a snooker, Higgins goes in-off again, and that's end of frame. Tian leads it by two at the mid-session interval, we'll be back with you in 15 minutes.
Higgins 1-2 Tian (5-69)
Higgins has a yahoo at a high risk shot, trying to pot a red into the bottom left by playing off the cushion first. If he misses it he’s leaving the frame on, and duly does. He is really struggling so far. Tian steps forth and quickly puts Higgins into snookers required territory; he looks like he'll have a deserved lead at the interval. Tian then misses a pot with the rest, and Higgins will play on for the two snookers he needs.
Higgins 1-2 Tian (5-39)
Tian has unquestionably settled the better of the two here, as he calmly takes his break into the thirties. It stalls on 34 though, as his attempt to develop reds off the blue leaves him on nothing. That’s a reprieve for Higgins, as a decent split there was surely frame over.
On the other table, David Gilbert now leads Chris Wakelin 9-3.
Higgins 1-2 Tian (5-9)
Both players miss several early sighters at reds in the fourth, before Higgins finally breaks the deadlock with a red into the green pocket. It’s a useful chance if John can develop a few more reds, , but he catches the pack on the side after stunning into it off the blue, which volleys the cue ball in-off in the bottom right. With ball in hand Tian drops a red into the bottom right, and he’s off.
Higgins 1-2 Tian
Tian isn't giving John a sniff of coming back to the table in this one; he empties the table for a superb 118, and takes the lead in the match.
Higgins 1-1 Tian (4-69)
This is nice, rhythmic stuff from Tian after those drawn-out opening frames. A black takes him to his half-century, and the red that follows is frame ball.
Higgins 1-1 Tian (4-32)
Tian wins a long safety battle, forcing an error from Higgins and snicking a long red into the bottom right to workshop a scoring chance. There’s a short break as Tian picks up the wrong rest, and has to sanitise his hands thereafter, but it doesn’t disrupt his flow; he’s ticking along nicely on 20 so far.
Higgins 1-1 Tian (4-12)
Tian goes in-off at the start of the third. Higgins can't capitalise though, and Tian gets the first chance after potting a mid-range red to the bottom left. It breaks down on 12 though, with Tian losing position and having to play back to baulk.
Higgins 1-1 Tian
Higgins goes in-off, and that'll do us; we're all square.
Higgins 1-0 Tian (36-69)
Finally the red goes down, glided into the right middle by Tian, followed by green and then yellow. He can't get the green down thereafter though, and with two snookers required by Higgins to tie and the balls well set, on we go.
Higgins 1-0 Tian (36-63)
And isn't he giving it a go! Higgins lays two excellent snookers on the final red, picking up a four pointer from each one, but can't cut in a free ball on the pink to take control of the frame. After more saftey play though, Higgins draws out the third snooker he needs and Tian clangs into the green rather than the final red, again leaving a free ball. In getting onto the final red though he leaves only a difficult cut with the extended rest, and he's missed it by a mile. It's safe, though, and the frame is back on.
On the other table, David Gilbert leads Chris Wakelin 8-3.
Higgins 1-0 Tian (19-63)
Pink to right middle takes Tian to a half-century. Red, blue and another red follow, and Higgins now requires snookers. He's back to the table, and will give it a go.
Higgins 1-0 Tian (19-35)
Two excellent shots from Tian - a long red into the yellow pocket and a cut on a black to left middle across the table - keep going a break that looked certain to fall apart in its formative stages. With the black respotted this is a great chance now, and Tian's up to 31 and counting.
Higgins 1-0 Tian (19-4)
Higgins rolls in a long red at the start of the second frame, but nudges the black safe and lands stranded in the pack as he does so. He needs two goes to escape and clip the yellow off two cushions. Tian has served one up for him over the bottom left now though, and Higgins drops it in, glancing conveniently off the pack thereafter to land on the green. There's a decent spread of reds and, if Higgins can get the black back to its natural habitat, this is a chance. As I type that though he's missed a red into the bottom left with the rest, and it's an opportunity for Tian instead.
Higgins 1-0 Tian
Tian leaves Higgins a look at a longish brown to the bottom right. The cue ball only just squeaks past the nearby pink but Higgins guides it in, and lands perfectly on the blue. The positional shot from blue to pink, using the extended rest, isn't a classic from HIggins and he's left himself a tough cut on the pink for the frame; no matter, as Higgins middles it into the bottom right to take the opening frame.
Higgins 0-0 Tian (55-53)
Playing like Paul Newman by the way! Another double by Tian, launching the final red into the right middle, is quickly followed by the black. Tian can't get on the yellow though, but after an exchange of safeties he tags it into the green pocket. He can't pot the green thereafter however, and he's left it on for Higgins to the bottom left. That disappears, but Higgins can't land on the brown; it's a battle over the last four colours for the frame.
Higgins 0-0 Tian (52-43)
A chance for Tian, as Higgins misses a long tempter into the bottom left, and sticks it up near the yellow pocket. Tian drops it in with the rest but a poor shot means he's not on a colour, so he plays a vicious snooker tight in behind the brown instead. Higgins misses it, and gives up another 16 points from a different but equally taxing snooker soon after. Higgins eventually escapes, but his lead has evaporated and Tian has control of the table.
Higgins 0-0 Tian (52-22)
A lovely shot from Higgins, stunning the blue into the left middle and coming off the top cushion to gently nudge the two reds away from the black, opens the gateway to a half-century. There are still three reds close to the left rail though and Higgins misses a wafer thin cut on one with the rest, bringing his break to an end. Tian then doubles a red but misses a difficult thin cut on a blue to right middle; he's not left anything though, so we've still got a live one.
Higgins 0-0 Tian (24-21)
Tian misses a long red into the bottom left. It's on to the left middle now for Higgins, a delicate shot but it's executed to perfection to leave him on the blue. Higgins soon moves into the lead, but has work to do with two reds that are welded to the black and will need to be freed up in order to win the frame at this visit.
Higgins 0-0 Tian (0-21)
Tian gets away first here, plugging a red into the bottom left and then fortuitously landing on the pink. He stitches together a quick 21 before losing position on the colours, and plays safe back to baulk. He'll be thrilled to be out there today; Tian was so emotional at having qualified for Sheffield, after a tough year where he at one point had to self-isolate for three months after testing positive for COVID-19.
Our MC Rob Walker is baizing the boys. On the other table today is the conclusion of the first round match between David Gilbert and Chris Wakelin, with Gilbert currently leading 7-2. We'll keep you posted.
This is only Pengfei’s second ever appearance at the World Championship, after losing a final frame decider to Stephen Maguire on his debut two years ago. He’s faced Higgins three times in his career and lost them all, most recently at the UK Championship in 2015. Tian will take heart from the qualifiers though, where he beat former world champion Graeme Dott for his place at the tournament this year.
What more can you say about John Higgins? He has been champion here in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, and also a runner-up in four other finals, including three on the spin from 2017-19. John might not win ranking events with the regularity that he used to, but he’s in scorching form of late. Just seven weeks ago he utterly decimated the top-ranked field at the Tour Championship – Jordan Brown, Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson and then Ronnie O’Sullivan – by an aggregate of 28-4 to take the title.
Welcome to live coverage of day two of the 2021 World Snooker Championship from the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Our featured match this afternoon is four-time former world champion John Higgins versus Tian Pengfei, and we’ll be up and running in around 15 minutes.
A quick update on this morning’s action for you – Yan Bingtao, who won the Masters back in January, has eliminated Martin Gould 10-6 to advance to the second round. Anthony McGill, who lost that heartbreaking semi-final here last year, has his campaign underway too, and leads Ricky Walden 5-4.
'The fans forced me to find something'
After his 10-4 win over Mark Joyce in the first round of the World Championship on Saturday, Ronnie O'Sullivan has made it very clear that the fans helped him to progress in Sheffield.
The Rocket had his ups and downs in the match at the Crucible but ultimately he believes the fans enabled him to pull through and secure his opening win.
"It was great to have the fans out there," he told Eurosport after the opening-round match.
"If the fans weren't there today maybe I just would not have found anything, because you just think there is no one to play for, really.
So in a way, maybe it was the fans that forced me to kind of really find something, because it is nice to perform in front of a crowd.
"It is fantastic. I love having a crowd there. A crowd, full capacity or whatever they want... it's fine, no problem."
'The fans forced me to find something' - O'Sullivan on victory
- Anthony McGill v Ricky Walden
- Yan Bingtao 4-4 Martin Gould
- John Higgins v Tian Pengfei
- David Gilbert 7-2 Chris Wakelin
- Stephen Maguire 4-5 Jamie Jones
- Neil Robertson 6-3 Liang Wenbo
Recap: O’Sullivan is through to the second round
He was out of sorts in the morning but gave us all sorts this evening. It speaks volumes for O’Sullivan’s matchplay that he could survive such a ropey first session to lead 6-3; that initial performance would be more severely punished by the seeded players, but few can live with what he produced to round out the evening. Four superb breaks, three of them tons, pulled him serenely away to victory just as Joyce had closed the gap on him. O’Sullivan’s in the market for his seventh world title, and the game to bring it home was on full display tonight.
'Harassed like you wouldn’t believe' – O'Sullivan on 'nightmare' fan
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was confronted by a "boozed-up" snooker fan in Sheffield as his grim pre-tournament prediction of being confronted by "smotherers" carrying a Covid-19 risk came true at the Crucible.
After finishing with three straight centuries in a 10-4 win over Mark Joyce in the first round, O'Sullivan admitted he will need to review his movements in and around the city.
“I was harassed like you wouldn’t believe it. This geezer was a nightmare," said O'Sullivan after beginning the defence of his world title with a 10-4 win over qualifier Mark Joyce in the first round.
He came up to me. He was p****d-up. I was like: ‘Please, I have to get through this tournament Covid-free. I beg you'.
“The guy at the restaurant came out with his two staff members, and they got him away. That was nice."
'Just too much thinking' - O'Sullivan on his slow start
How to watch the event
You can watch every match of the World Championship live and ad-free on the Eurosport App and eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app now for iOS and Android.
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