World Championship 2019: Ding Junhui beats Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy leads

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Betfred World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 20 April – 6 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, Red Button, iPlayer, Connected TV, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Ding Junhui showed signs of his best form before scrapping his way into round two of the World Championship with a 10-7 win in a high-quality match against Anthony McGill.

The Chinese, who led 6-3 overnight, made a tournament-high break of 134 and scores of 99 and 91 for a 9-5 lead.

Scotland’s McGill, the world number 24, battled back to 9-7 in Sheffield.

But an increasingly edgy Ding finished with a stylish 106 to reach the last 16 for the 10th time.

“I played well but it is not good enough if I want to win the tournament,” he said.

“He came back strong, but I had chances to win it. I need to get better and have good concentration for the whole match.”

Ding, the 2016 runner-up, has not reached a ranking event semi-final this season but managed nine breaks of 50 or more.

McGill also scored six half-centuries and played a full part in a fascinating game, but Ding’s heavy scoring when he got a chance eventually proved the difference to set up a potential meeting with Judd Trump.

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“I am not worried about the draw,” added 10th seed Ding. “I have to beat the best players to win titles. I need more confidence because I haven’t played good this season.”

Meanwhile, English qualifier Gary Wilson, the world number 32, leads Belgium’s number 14 seed Luca Brecel in a match that will play to a finish when a table becomes free on Sunday night.

Wilson trailed 7-5 but scored breaks of 106, 75 and 65 in a four frame burst to go 8-7 ahead but Brecel won a 40-minute frame to make it 9-8 when play was halted.

Magical Murphy piles on misery for Luo

Shaun Murphy graphic

The 2005 winner Shaun Murphy scored four centuries – including a tournament high 138 – as he romped into a 9-0 lead against 19-year-old Chinese debutant Luo Honghao at the end of their opening session.

World number 92 Luo scored just 78 points in the nine frames and could become just the second player to suffer a Crucible whitewash.

Only Eddie Charlton has been beaten 10-0 at snooker’s showpiece event in Sheffield, losing by that margin to John Parrott in 1992.

But Michael Georgiou is also on the verge of creating unwanted Crucible history, with the Cypriot trailing Neil Robertson 9-0 heading into their second session on Sunday night.

Higgins ahead as veterans tussle

In the other morning match, four-time champion John Higgins took a 6-3 lead over fellow veteran Crucible campaigner Mark Davis.

Davis, at 46 the oldest player in this year’s event, won through qualifying for a record 10th time to reach snooker’s showpiece event for the 11th time in his career.

He began with a break of 57 to take the opener, but scores of 100, 61 and 75 helped Higgins to a 4-2 lead.

Davis replied with his second half-century, but Higgins, on his 25th consecutive World Championship appearance, took the next three, scoring three-half centuries in the process.

However, Higgins’ impressive performance was marred by an injury to his brother Jason, who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg after reportedly falling down some stairs backstage during the morning session.

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