Ding Junhui scored a 10-7 victory over Mark Davis in the first round of the World Championship. The Sheffield-based player looked in danger of another early exit when he lost the first four frames against Davis, but managed to win the next three frames with breaks of 66, 109 and 76. Mark Davis won the first frame of second session, trough a century of 106 points, increasing the length between him and his rival to 2 frames. In the next Ding potted 12 reds with blacks and looked to have a clear chance of a 147, which would have been the 11th maximum ever made at the Crucible. Remarkably, though, he failed to notice that he was on for a 147, and played for the blue off the 13th red. As the crowd gasped, Ding immediately realized his mistake, but was unable to cut a thin black into the top corner. In the next six frames we saw only 1 break of more than 50 points, made by Ding which saw leading for the first time in the match, 8-7. He finished strongly with runs of 73 and 85 to book an intriguing last 16 clash with John Higgins.
“The start of the match was not very good but I think I grew into it and played ok. I was just thinking about enjoying the World Championship, in the same way that the fans enjoy being able to watch it.”
“John Higgins is an old friend of mine and I’ve played him many, many times. I lost the first five times we played but I learned a lot from him and I’ve got more confidence to play him now. I need to just stay focused and play the right shots in the match, then I have a chance.”
For Higgins, the match proved to be a relatively comfortable one, a 10-5 victory over Milkins seeing him through to the last 16 at the Crucible for the first time since 2012 when he lost heavily to Stephen Hendry. Breaks of 62, 64 and 72 saw John leading 5-1 in the first session of the match, played in the afternoon session of the first day at the Crucible. In the sixth frame, after a missed black by Milkins while being on a 13 points break, Higgins was not able to produce a winning break, and after a long safety battle Milkins missed a red to the green pocket, Higgins misjudging another red saw Milking closing the gap in that frame to 50-41. The winning chance for Milkins came after Higgins failed to pot the yellow and sent it flying off the table, Robert taking that frame 66-54 and the next one with a break of 50. The crucial moment of the match was the last frame of the first session, with Milkins nearly edging the game to a single frame difference with a 58 break and counting, but missed a pink with the rest, Higgins winning that frame 67 by 58 points. Next day John started the second session with winning break of 77 and 75, losing the next two frames, but performed two winning break in the last 2 frames of the match, 69 and 106.
H2H: Junhui 9-7
Prediction: Higgins to advance.