2018 World Snooker Championship

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Betfred
World Snooker Championship
World Snooker Championship 2015 Logo.png
Tournament information
Dates21 April – 7 May 2018[1]
VenueCrucible Theatre
CitySheffield
CountryEngland
Organisation(s)WPBSA
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£1,968,000[2]
Winner's share£425,000
Highest breakScotland John Higgins (146)
Final
ChampionWales Mark Williams
Runner-upScotland John Higgins
Score18–16
2017
2019

The 2018 World Snooker Championship (also referred to as the 2018 Betfred World Snooker Championship for the purposes of sponsorship) was a professional snooker tournament, held from 21 April to 7 May 2018 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 42nd consecutive year that the World Snooker Championship had been held at the Crucible and was the twentieth and final ranking event of the 2017/2018 season. The tournament was broadcast in Europe by the BBC and Eurosport.

Mark Williams won his third world title and 21st ranking title by beating John Higgins 18–16 in the final.[3] The win came 15 years after Williams' second world title in 2003 and he became, at the age of 43, the second oldest winner at the Crucible. Three-time world champion Mark Selby had won the title for the previous two years but lost in the first round 4–10 to Joe Perry.

Overview[edit]

The 2018 World Snooker Championship was held on 21 April to 7 May 2018 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. This was the 42nd consecutive year that the tournament was held at the Crucible, and the 50th consecutive year the championship was contested through the modern knockout format. The tournament was the last of twenty rankings events in the 2017/2018 season on the World Snooker Tour. It featured a 32-player main draw, as well as a 128-player qualifying draw. Qualifying took place elsewhere at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from 11 to 18 April 2018, finishing a few days prior to the start of the main draw.

The top 16 players in the latest world rankings automatically qualified for the main draw as seeded players.[a] Defending champion Mark Selby was automatically seeded 1st overall. The remaining seeds were allocated based on the latest world rankings (revision 10), which were released following the China Open, the penultimate event of the season. Since Selby was ranked as the world number 1 entering the event, every player's seed matched their respective world ranking. Matches in the first round were played as best-of-19 frames. The number of frames needed to win each match increased with each successive round, leading up to the final which was played as best-of-35 frames.

All 16 non-seeded spots in the main draw were filled with players from qualifying. The qualifying draw consisted of 128 players, including 113 of the remaining 115 players on the World Snooker Tour. There were also 15 wildcard places allotted to non-tour players. These invited players included the women's world champion, the European junior champion, and all four semifinalists at the amateur championship. Like the main draw, half of the participants were seeded. Every player ranked from 17th to 80th was given one of 64 seeds in order of their ranking, while all other participants were placed randomly into the draw. Players needed to win three best-of-19 matches to reach the Crucible.[4]

Notable participants[edit]

Eight former world champions participated in the main tournament at the Crucible. They included Ronnie O'Sullivan (five titles: 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012–13), John Higgins (four titles: 1998, 2007, 2009, 2011), Mark Selby (three titles and two-time defending champion: 2014, 2016–17), Mark Williams (two titles: 2000 and 2003), Shaun Murphy (one title: 2005), Graeme Dott (one title: 2006), Neil Robertson (one title: 2010), and Stuart Bingham (one title: 2015).[4] O'Sullivan was making his 26th consecutive appearance in the final stages of the World Championship since his debut in 1993. This is one short of Stephen Hendry's record of 27 consecutive appearances and four short of Steve Davis's record of 30 total appearances. Five other former finalists also competed: Matthew Stevens (twice: 2000 and 2005), Ali Carter (twice: 2008 and 2012), Judd Trump (once: 2011), Barry Hawkins (once: 2013), and Ding Junhui (once: 2016).[4] The youngest player to participate at the tournament main stage was Lyu Haotian at 20 years of age, while 43-year-old Joe Perry was the oldest. Both of them came through qualifying.[5] Despite missing much of the 2017/2018 season having undergone eye surgery, Marco Fu was able to participate in the World Championship.[6][7]

Three former world champions participated in the qualifying rounds: Ken Doherty (1997), Peter Ebdon (2002) and Graeme Dott (2006).[4] Of these, only Dott qualified for the main tournament at the Crucible. Also, three former world championship finalists participated in the qualifying rounds: Jimmy White (six times: 1984 and 1990–1994), Nigel Bond (once: 1995) and Matthew Stevens (twice: 2000 and 2005).[4] From these, only Matthew Stevens qualified for the main tournament at the Crucible. The youngest participant in qualifying was Jackson Page at 16 years of age, while 55-year-old Jimmy White was the oldest participant; however, neither qualified.[8][9]

Tournament summary[edit]

Qualifying rounds[edit]

Liang Wenbo made his third professional maximum break

The qualifying rounds took place at the English Institute of Sport from 11 to 18 April 2018.[10] In the first round, Liang Wenbo achieved his third professional maximum break, and his second of the 2017/2018 season, in the 10th frame of his match against Rod Lawler. It was the second consecutive year that a 147 was made in World Championship qualifying, and the fourth time overall. Liang came very close to becoming the first player to score two maximums in the same match, but he missed the final black after a break of 140 in the last frame.[11][12] Ranked at world number 19, Liang was also the highest-ranked player not to feature in the main draw of tournament, as both world number 17 Ryan Day and world number 18 Stephen Maguire were able to qualify.

Only seven of the 64 unseeded participants in qualifying (players ranked outside the world's top 80) made it through the first qualifying round. Only one of them, Adam Duffy, made it to the third qualifying round. He did not, however, qualify for the main stage at the Crucible. Four players qualified for the Crucible for the first time: Liam Highfield, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Lyu Haotian and Chris Wakelin. Lyu was the lowest ranked player to reach the main stage at world number 68.[13]

First round[edit]

In the first round, Joe Perry defeated world number 1 and defending champion Mark Selby

The draw for the first round of the tournament was on 19 April 2018, two days before the start of the competition.[14] was due to take place at 10:00 BST on 19 April, but was delayed until 12:00 BST because of technical issues.[15] The matches for the first round were played over two sessions, as best of 19-frames matches. These matches were spread out over six days between 21 and 26 April, and played on a two table setup in the Crucible Theatre.[5]

The defending champion, Mark Selby, played in the opening match of the first round. His opponent, Joe Perry, won the first four frames before pulling away to 7–2 ahead after the first session of play. Selby was unable to catch Perry and was defeated 10–4. This ended his 10-match undefeated streak in the world championships and his two-year reign as world champion.[16][17]

Ronnie O'Sullivan trailed 0–4 and then 3–6 after the opening session in his match against Stephen Maguire but then won seven of the last eight frames to win 10–7.[18][19] The 16th frame of this encounter, was O'Sullivan's 1000th frame at the Cruicible. It was his 15th consecutive first round victory at the World Championship.[20][17]

Masters finalist Kyren Wilson defeated Matthew Stevens 10–3 in the opening round.[19] In the 12th frame of the match, Stevens declared a foul on himself, after nudging the pink ball with his hand, allowing Wilson to win the frame.[21]

Debutant Lyu Haotian, the youngest player of the main stage, advanced to the second round

Debutant Lyu Haotian defeated world number 11 Marco Fu in his first round match. Fu recently had surgery to repair retinal degeneration and myodesopsia in his left eye.[22] Lyu was 6–3 up after the initial session of their match, and won the match 10–5.[23] Ali Carter defeated Graeme Dott 10–8 in his first round match, despite being three frames behind at 3–6 overnight.[24]

Reigning Masters champion Mark Allen defeated debutant Liam Highfield 10–5 in his first round match. Neither player scored a century, however there were two 99-breaks by Highfield.[25] The 8th seed Shaun Murphy played qualifier and world number 51 Jamie Jones in the first round. The game was tight, with the scores being level at various stages until Jones defeated Murphy 10–9.[26] 2013 World Snooker Championship runner-up Barry Hawkins defeated Stuart Carrington 10–7, after winning a 55-minute 14th frame.[26]

For the second successive year, Ding Junhui faced a fellow Chinese player in the first round of the World Championship. Having defeated Zhou Yuelong in 2017, he faced Xiao Guodong in 2018. Ding came out as a comfortable 10–3 winner, despite losing the opening two frames of the match.[27]

Two more qualifiers won their first round matches. Ricky Walden defeated Luca Brecel 10–6. Walden was originally five frames ahead at 8–3; Brecel won the next three frames, to leave the game at 8–6, before Walden won the final two frames of the game.[28] Jack Lisowski defeated 2015 World Snooker Champion Stuart Bingham 10–7, thereby securing his first world championship match win.[b][28]

Two-time champion Mark Williams defeated Jimmy Robertson in his first round match 10–5. Williams led 7–2 after the initial session. In the 13th frame, he hit a tournament highest break at that point of 140, to go 9–4 ahead, before winning the deciding frame in the 15th frame.[29] The 5th seed John Higgins defeated Thai debutant Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10–7, with both players attempting maximum breaks.[30] Higgins missed the 14th red ball on 104 in the 8th frame of the first session. In the final session, Un-Nooh scored 14 reds and blacks, before missing the final 15th red on 112 in the 12th frame on course for his second maximum.[30] The 2010 champion Neil Robertson was also defeated, losing to Robert Milkins 10–5.[31]

Anthony McGill defeated Ryan Day, despite being 5–8 behind. He won the final five frames of the match to win 10–8. McGill said he could not believe he won;[32] the BBC referred to his win as an "unbelievable comeback.[33] The final match of the first round saw the second final frame decider, with Chris Wakelin winning four frames in a row, to level at 8–8, coming from 8–4 behind against Judd Trump. The two took the match to a decider at nine a piece, before Trump took the final frame.[32]

Out of eight former world champions playing in the tournament main stage, three made it through to the second round. The three former champions to progress were Ronnie O'Sullivan (five-time champion), John Higgins (four-time champion) and Mark Williams (two-time champion), all professionals since 1992.[34]

Second round[edit]

The second round of the tournament saw matches being played as best of 25 frames (13 frames needed to win), played over three sessions. The first match of the second round was between Mark Allen, the current Masters champions, and Joe Perry, who defeated the world champion in the first round shared the first two sessions of their second round match at 8–8. In the third session, however, Allen won all five frames to go through to the quarter-finals with a 13–8 win.[35]

John Higgins scored a 146 break in his second round match, and later won 13–1

Barry Hawkins entered the quarter-finals for the sixth consecutive year after beating Lyu Haotian 13–10. Hawkins and Lyu were level at 10–10 before Hawkins won the final three frames of the match.[36] In a rematch of both the 2008 and 2012 World Snooker final, Ali Carter played Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round. Having only defeated O'Sullivan on one occasion from seventeen attempts (in the group stage at the non-ranking 2010 Championship League), Carter won 13–9 to advance to the quarter-finals.[37][17] The match saw Carter and O'Sullivan come into contact and exchange words after the 19th frame.[38]

Kyren Wilson entered the quarter-finals by defeating Jamie Jones 13–5, winning the last six frames of the match. In the penultimate frame, during a clearance, Wilson played a screw shot, jumping the cueball off the table. During the shot, he damaged the head of his cue tip.[39] John Higgins defeated Jack Lisowski 13–1 with a session to spare, with Lisowski scoring his only frame at 10–0 behind. Two frames later, Higgins scored a break of 146, one shy of the maximum. It was Higgins' highest break at the Crucible and the highest anyone scored in the tournament.[40][17]

The remaining three matches of the second round finished with Ding Junhui defeating Anthony McGill 13–4 after winning the first session of their match 8–0, while scoring seven 50+ breaks.[41] Judd Trump defeated Ricky Walden 13–9, taking the lead late after the score was level at 8–8 following the first two sessions.[41] Mark Williams defeated Robert Milkins, 13–7, thereby eliminating the last remaining qualifier in the competition.[41]

Quarter-finals[edit]

Kyren Wilson defeated Mark Allen in the quarter-finals 13–6

The quarter-finals were also played as best of 25 frame matches over three sessions, with all matches played on 1 and 2 May 2018. The quarter-finalists were all seeded players, with Masters Champion Mark Allen as the lowest ranked player left in the competition, ranked 16th. Barry Hawkins defeated Ding Junhui, 13–5 and made it through to his fifth Crucible semi-final in six years.[42]

In a repeat of the 2018 Masters final, Kyren Wilson played Mark Allen in the quarter-finals. Masters runner-up Wilson, won 13–6, after leading Allen 11–5 overnight.[43] With this win Wilson made it through to his first ever Crucible semi-final, having lost in the quarter-finals in the two previous World Championships.[43]

Two time champion Mark Williams defeated Ali Carter, 13–8.[44] Williams took leads of 5–3 and 9–7 after the initial two sessions, and won four of the last five frames with four breaks of 100 or more.[44]

The closest match of the round was the final match between John Higgins and Judd Trump, a rematch of the 2011 final. Trump gained an early lead in the second session at 7–3, but Higgins won the next five frames, and the pair finished the session at 8–8. Trump won the next two frames to take a two frame lead at 11–9, before Higgins won the next three frames to take a lead at 11–12.[44] Trump forced a final frame decider, before Higgins won the frame and defeated him in a match he described as a "classic", jokingly saying that Trump "must hate the sight of him".[45][44][17]

Semi-finals[edit]

Barry Hawkins reached the semi-finals, but lost 17–15 to Mark Williams

The semi-finals were played over four sessions, with matches played as best of 33 frames in a single table setup; which were played between 3 and 5 May 2018. The first semi-final was between John Higgins and Kyren Wilson. John Higgins took an early lead in the opening session leading Kyren Wilson 5–3, and retained this lead into the next two sessions, at 9–7, and 13–11. The pair shared the next four frames to leave the match at 15–13, before Higgins won the final two frames to win 17–13.[46][47][17]

The second semi-final was between Barry Hawkins and Mark Williams. Barry Hawkins took a similar lead over Mark Williams, with Hawkins taking 5–3, 9–7 and 13–11 leads before going into the final session. Williams made a comeback, drawing level at 14 frames a piece, and then again at 15 all. Williams took the lead for the first time in the match at 16–15 before winning it 17–15.[17] His victory ensured that for the first time since the World Championship moved to the Crucible in 1977 both finalists would be over 40 years of age.[48]

Final[edit]

The final was played as a best of 35 frames over four sessions, between John Higgins and Mark Williams, played on 6 and 7 May 2018. The first session of the match saw Williams take an early lead, winning the first four frames. Higgins won the second mini-session 3–1, and so the first session ended with a 5–3 lead for Williams.[49] In the second session, Williams took the next two frames, to lead 7–3 before Higgins scored four frames to level the score at 7–7. Williams pulled away once again winning the final 3 frames to take a 10–7 lead overnight.[50]

Mark Williams won his third world crown with an 18–16 final win against John Higgins

Williams won the first four frames of the final day, extending his winning streak to seven frames and his lead to 14–7, before Higgins pulled two frames back after the mid-session interval. In the second of those frames, Higgins won with a 72 counter-clearance after Williams missed on a break of 65. In the following frame Higgins started on a maximum break, which had never been achieved in a World Championship final. He potted ten reds with blacks but could not complete the clearance. Nevertheless, the break of 80 secured his third successive frame and reduced the deficit to 10–14. Williams won the session 5–3 after taking the last frame, giving him a 15–10 lead heading into the final session of the championship.[51]

Higgins responded by winning the first five frames of the final session to level the match at 15–15, including three clearances and a match highest break of 131. Williams then won his first frame of the evening and followed up with a 100 break to take the score to 17–15. In the 33rd frame, Williams missed a pink that would have clinched the title when on a break of 63; Higgins cleared the table for a break of 65 to pull the score to 16–17. In the 34th frame, Williams held his nerve to make a match-winning break of 69, clinching the match 18–16 and winning his third world title.[52][17]

After winning the championship Mark Williams said that, "The turnaround in the past 12 months is something I cannot work out", after not appearing in the competition in the previous season.[53] Prior to the tournament, Williams said that if he won the tournament he would attend the post tournament press conference naked.[54] After his victory, Williams entered the conference wearing only a towel around his waist, but removed it once seated behind a table.[17] Williams then promised that if he was to win the next season, he'd "cartwheel round here naked".[54] Williams' win came 15 years after his last world title in 2003—the longest span between two successive wins in the history of the tournament. He became, at the age of 43, only the third player to win at the Crucible in their 40s, joining Ray Reardon (who was 45 in 1978) and John Spencer (who was 41 in 1977).

Prize fund[edit]

The breakdown of prize money for this year is shown below:[55]

The prize for a maximum break was boosted to £40,000[56][c] whereas, the prize for a 147 in qualifying was £10,000. This prize was claimed by Liang Wenbo during his first qualifying round match against Rod Lawler.

Main draw[edit]

The numbers in parentheses are players' seedings.

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 33 frames
                           
21 April            
 England Mark Selby (1)  4
26 & 27 April
 England Joe Perry  10  
 England Joe Perry  8
22 & 23 April
   Northern Ireland Mark Allen (16)  13  
 Northern Ireland Mark Allen (16)  10
1 & 2 May
 England Liam Highfield  5  
 Northern Ireland Mark Allen (16)  6
21 & 22 April
   England Kyren Wilson (9)  13  
 England Kyren Wilson (9)  10
27 & 28 April
 Wales Matthew Stevens  3  
 England Kyren Wilson (9)  13
22 & 23 April
   Wales Jamie Jones  5  
 England Shaun Murphy (8)  9
3, 4 & 5 May
 Wales Jamie Jones  10  
 England Kyren Wilson (9)  13
25 April
   Scotland John Higgins (5)  17
 Scotland John Higgins (5)  10
28 & 29 April
 Thailand Thepchaiya Un-Nooh  7  
 Scotland John Higgins (5)  13
24 April
   England Jack Lisowski  1  
 England Stuart Bingham (12)  7
1 & 2 May
 England Jack Lisowski  10  
 Scotland John Higgins (5)  13
23 & 24 April
   England Judd Trump (4)  12  
 Belgium Luca Brecel (13)  6
29 & 30 April
 England Ricky Walden  10  
 England Ricky Walden  9
25 & 26 April
   England Judd Trump (4)  13  
 England Judd Trump (4)  10
 England Chris Wakelin  9  
23 & 24 April            
 China Ding Junhui (3)  10
29 & 30 April
 China Xiao Guodong  3  
 China Ding Junhui (3)  13
25 & 26 April
   Scotland Anthony McGill (14)  4  
 Scotland Anthony McGill (14)  10
1 & 2 May
 Wales Ryan Day  8  
 China Ding Junhui (3)  5
21 & 22 April
   England Barry Hawkins (6)  13  
 Hong Kong Marco Fu (11)  5
26, 27 & 28 April
 China Lyu Haotian  10  
 China Lyu Haotian  10
23 April
   England Barry Hawkins (6)  13  
 England Barry Hawkins (6)  10
3, 4 & 5 May
 England Stuart Carrington  7  
 England Barry Hawkins (6)  15
24 & 25 April
   Wales Mark Williams (7)  17
 Wales Mark Williams (7)  10
28, 29 & 30 April
 England Jimmy Robertson  5  
 Wales Mark Williams (7)  13
24 & 25 April
   England Robert Milkins  7  
 Australia Neil Robertson (10)  5
1 & 2 May
 England Robert Milkins  10  
 Wales Mark Williams (7)  13
21 & 22 April
   England Ali Carter (15)  8  
 England Ali Carter (15)  10
27 & 28 April
 Scotland Graeme Dott  8  
 England Ali Carter (15)  13
21 & 22 April
   England Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)  9  
 England Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)  10
 Scotland Stephen Maguire  7  
Final (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 6 & 7 May. Referee: England Brendan Moore.
John Higgins (5)
 Scotland
16–18 Mark Williams (7)
 Wales
23–75, 15–65, 35–72, 60–70 (55),
120–4 (119), 0–133 (95), 98–0 (52), 82–21 (59)
Session 1
3–5
23–75, 15–65, 35–72, 60–70 (55),
120–4 (119), 0–133 (95), 98–0 (52), 82–21 (59)
46–81 (72), 75–31 (51), 127–8 (127), 12–76,
85–9 (56), 123–15 (117), 0–123 (118), 35–64 (64), 43–80
Session 2
4–5 (7–10)
46–81 (72), 75–31 (51), 127–8 (127), 12–76,
85–9 (56), 123–15 (117), 0–123 (118), 35–64 (64), 43–80
5–98 (61), 19–73 (56), 0–126 (69, 56), 7–63 (52),
92–29 (67), 76–65 (72, 65), 80–0 (80), 8–84
Session 3
3–5 (10–15)
5–98 (61), 19–73 (56), 0–126 (69, 56), 7–63 (52),
92–29 (67), 76–65 (72, 65), 80–0 (80), 8–84
131–1 (131), 68–58 (67, 58), 82–47 (82), 91–0,
67–47 (62), 0–74, 15–104 (100), 65–63 (65, 63), 0–71 (69)
Session 4
6–3 (16–18)
131–1 (131), 68–58 (67, 58), 82–47 (82), 91–0,
67–47 (62), 0–74, 15–104 (100), 65–63 (65, 63), 0–71 (69)
131 Highest break 118
4 Century breaks 2
16 50+ breaks 14
Wales Mark Williams wins the 2018 Betfred World Snooker Championship

Qualifying[edit]

There were 128 players in the qualifying competition. There were three qualifying rounds, with the 16 winners of the third round matches progressing to the main stages of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Qualifying took place between 11 and 18 April 2018 at the English Institute of Sport, also in Sheffield, in a 12-table set-up. All matches were best of 19 frames.

The total 113 tour players (ranked outside the top-16, including Invitational Tour Card holders Ken Doherty and Jimmy White) were joined by 15 amateur players who had achieved success through the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association(WPBSA) qualifying criteria. Among the 131 World Snooker Tour players, only Boonyarit Keattikun and Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn (both from Thailand) were not participating in qualifying rounds. The following 15 amateur players were invited to compete in qualifying:[4]

Players ranked 17–80 in the world rankings were seeded in qualifying. The rest of the tour players plus the invited amateurs were drawn randomly.[61]

Round 1[edit]

Round 2[edit]

Round 3[edit]

Winners advanced to the main draw.

Century breaks[edit]

Main stage centuries[edit]

84 century breaks were made by 21 players during the main stage of the World Championship.[62]

Qualifying stage centuries[edit]

111 century breaks – including a maximum break – were made by 53 players during the qualifying stage of the World Championship.[63]

Coverage[edit]

The tournament was broadcast live in the UK by BBC TV and BBC Online, as well as on EuroSport.[64]

Controversies[edit]

Players and spectators criticised the two-hour delay to the tournament's first-round draw, which was caused by "technical issues".[65] World number 22 Joe Perry called the draw "an absolute joke",[65] claiming the delay caused qualifiers to "have no idea when [they] are playing, have to book hotels and make travel plans".[65]

Following his first-round loss to Jack Lisowski, 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham stated he was going to take a leave of absence from the game. Bingham said he wanted to "spend some time with the family and put my cue down for a while".[66] Bingham had spent three months of the season serving a ban for betting infringements;[66] he commented, "It's not been the best of seasons in general, but on the table I've been pretty good."[66]

Following the second round match between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter, O'Sullivan referred to Carter as "Mr Angry". The pair had brushed shoulders, in an incident the Independent described as a "barge".[67][17] Following the match, O'Sullivan described it as being "overplayed" by the media.[37]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the event that the defending champion was ranked outside of the top 16, they would have replaced the player ranked world number 16 as an automatic qualifier.
  2. ^ Lisowski had also competed in the 2013 championship, where he lost 10–3 to Barry Hawkins
  3. ^ The "rolling 147 prize" stood at £5,000
  4. ^ Luo Honghao could not obtain a visa in time to compete
  5. ^ Mitchell Mann conceded the match due to illness at 1–7

References[edit]

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