2018 World Snooker Championship

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Betfred
World Snooker Championship
World Snooker Championship 2015 Logo.png
Tournament information
Dates 21 April – 7 May 2018[1]
Venue Crucible Theatre
City Sheffield
Country England
Organisation(s) WPBSA
Format Ranking event
Total prize fund £1,968,000[2]
Winner's share £425,000
Highest break Scotland John Higgins (146)
Final
Champion Wales Mark Williams
Runner-up Scotland John Higgins
Score 18–16
2017

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.

Tournament summary[edit]

Seeding and qualifying rounds[edit]

Liang Wenbo made his third professional maximum break

The top 16 seeds automatically qualified for the last 32 positions at the 2018 World Snooker Championship. Defending champion Mark Selby was seeded 1, while other seedings were allocated based on the latest world rankings (revision 10). All the other players (from 17th place in ranking) started in the first round of qualifying and were required to win three best-of-19 matches to reach the Crucible.[4] The qualifying rounds took place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from 11 to 18 April 2018.[5] The 16 qualifiers were drawn at random against the 16 seeds. The draw was due to take place at 10:00 BST on 19 April, but was delayed until 12:00 BST because of technical issues.[6]

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, 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.[7][8]

Liang Wenbo achieved his third professional maximum break, and his second of the 2017/2018 season, in the tenth frame of his first round qualifying 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 making two maximums in the same match, but he missed the final black after a break of 140 in the last frame.[9][10] Ranked at world number 19, Liang also became the highest-ranked player not to feature in the tournament, as both Ryan Day (world number 17) and Stephen Maguire (world number 18) qualified.

Only seven of the 64 unseeded participants (players ranked outside the world's top 80) in qualifying 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. China's Lyu became the lowest ranked player to reach this World Championship's main stage.[11]

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.[12] Eight former world champions (including the defending champion) reached the main tournament at the Crucible: Ronnie O'Sullivan (five times), John Higgins (four times), Mark Selby (three times – defending champion), Mark Williams (two times), Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham (one time each).[4] Five other former finalists also competed: Matthew Stevens (twice), Ali Carter (twice), Judd Trump, Barry Hawkins and Ding Junhui (once each).[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.[13]

Ronnie O'Sullivan made his 26th consecutive appearance in the final stages of the World Championship since making 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. Despite missing much of the 2017/2018 season having undergone eye surgery, Marco Fu participated in the World Championship.[14][15] The first round of the tournament was played over six days, between 21 and 26 April, with matches played on two tables in the Crucible Theatre.[13]

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 719-day 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] O'Sullivan won his 1000th frame at the Crucible, the 16th frame of this encounter. 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]

Youngest player of the main stage, debutant Lyu Haotian, advanced to the second round

Debutant Lyu Haotian defeated world number 11 Marco Fu in his first round match. Fu had recently had eye 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]

2018 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 eighth 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.[a][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] Fifth seed John Higgins defeated Thai debutant Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10–7, with both players attempting maximum breaks.[30] Higgins missed 14th red ball on 104 in the eighth 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] 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. Current Masters champion, Mark Allen and Joe Perry, who defeated the defending world champion in the first round, shared the spoils through the first two sessions of their second round match. 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 frames all 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, scoring seven 50+ breaks.[41] Judd Trump defeated Ricky Walden 13–9, with the score level at 8–8 after the first two sessions.[41] Mark Williams defeated Robert Milkins, 13–7, thereby eliminating the last remaining qualifier in the competition.[41]

Quarterfinals[edit]

Kyren Wilson defeated Mark Allen in the quarterfinals 13–6

The quarterfinals were also played as best of 25 frame matches over three sessions. The quarter-finalists were all top sixteen players, with Masters Champion Mark Allen as the lowest ranked player left in the competition.[b] Three-time ranking event winner Barry Hawkins defeated 13-time ranking event winner 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 quarterfinals. 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 semifinal, having lost in the quarterfinals 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]

In the final match of the quarterfinals, John Higgins played Judd Trump in a repeat 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 taking 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]

Semifinals[edit]

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

The semifinals were played over four sessions, with matches played as best of 33 frames in a single table setup. 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 semifinal saw Barry Hawkins take a similar lead over Mark Williams. Hawkins took 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. 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]

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

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] 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 final frame of the afternoon, winning the session 5–3 and taking a 15–10 lead 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 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]

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:[53]

The prize for a maximum break was boosted to £40,000[54][c] whereas, the prize for a 147 in qualifying was £10,000.[d]

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]

128 players competed in the qualifying competition. There were three qualifying rounds, with the sixteen winners of the third round matches progressing to the main stages of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Qualifying took place between 11–18 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.

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.[59]

Qualifying stage centuries[edit]

111 century breaks – including a maximum break – were made by 53 players during the qualifying stage of the World Championship.[60]

Representation by country[edit]

The table shows the number of players by country in the 2018 World Snooker Championship.

Wales
WAL
Scotland
SCO
England
ENG
China
CHN
Northern Ireland
NIR
Australia
AUS
Hong Kong
HKG
Belgium
BEL
Thailand
THA
Republic of Ireland
IRL
Iran
IRN
Poland
POL
Cyprus
CYP
Finland
FIN
Norway
NOR
Brazil
BRA
Egypt
EGY
Germany
GER
India
IND
Iceland
ISL
Jersey
JER
Malaysia
MYS
Malta
MLT
Pakistan
PAK
Singapore
SGP
Switzerland
SUI
Final 1 1
SF 1 1 2
QF 1 1 4 1 1
R16 2 2 9 2 1
R32 4 4 16 3 1 1 1 1 1
Qualifying Rounds
R48 5
(6)
3
(5)
16
(24)
5
(6)
0
(1)
0
(1)
0
(1)
0
(1)
1 1 1
R80 7
(8)
4
(6)
31
(39)
12
(13)
1
(2)
0
(1)
0
(1)
0
(1)
3 1 1 1 1 1 1
R144 13
(14)
8
(10)
52
(60)
21
(22)
3
(4)
4
(5)
1
(2)
0
(1)
4 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Bold: tournament winner.

Media coverage[edit]

Players and spectators the tournament's first-round draw's two hour delay due to "technical issues".[61] World number 22 Joe Perry called the draw "an absolute joke",[61] claiming the delay caused qualifiers to "have no idea when [they] are playing, have to book hotels and make travel plans".[61]

The tournament was broadcast live in the UK by BBC TV and BBC Online, as well as on EuroSport.[62]

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".[63] Bingham had spent three months of the season serving a ban for betting infringements;[63] he commented, "It's not been the best of seasons in general, but on the table I've been pretty good."[63]

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".[64][17] Following the match, O'Sullivan described it as being "overplayed" by the media.[37]

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.[65] Prior to the tournament, Williams said that if he won the tournament he would attend the post tournament press conference naked.[66] 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".[66]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lisowski had also competed in the 2013 championship, where he lost 10–3 to Barry Hawkins
  2. ^ Mark Allen was ranked at 16th in the world, coming into the championships
  3. ^ The "rolling 147 prize" stood at £5,000
  4. ^ This prize was claimed by Liang Wenbo during his first qualifying round match against Rod Lawler
  5. ^ Luo Honghao could not obtain a visa in time to compete
  6. ^ Mitchell Mann conceded the match due to illness at 1–7

References[edit]

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  19. ^ a b "World Snooker Championship 2018: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Stephen Maguire". BBC Sport. 22 April 2018. Archived from the original on 22 April 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2018. 
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