World Championship – Day 8 – Hendry stops Higgins to defend title; Maguire and Day march on
Current world champion John Higgins was defeated 13-4 by Stephen Hendry, thus losing the chance to defend the crown that he so proudly won last year at the Crucible.
Stephen Maguire and Ryan Day booked themselves a place in the quarters after the Scottish player beat Joe Perry 13-7, scoreline also used by the Welshman against China’s Cao Yupeng.
John Higgins saw his Crucible dream being crushed by his fellow countryman, a player that slipped out of the Top 16 last year and had to qualify for this event and many more ever since.
The match started with Higgins taking the first two frames with just a top break of 52 and although his opponent managed to draw level, a century break of 124 points (the 500th century break of his career as a professional) was sending him once again in the leading position at 3-2.
Still, from this point on everything went from bad to worse for Higgins, the first session ending with Hendry leading 5-3, while the second one saw the seven-time world champion fluently cruising up until 12-4 with breaks of 123, 67, 48, 43 and 41.
With only one more frame needed to secure the victory, Hendry returned the next day into the arena and in less than ten minutes the match was over. A break of 64 was enough to send the Scottish qualifier into the next round and eliminate the top-seeded one from the tournament.
Another Scotsman, this time Stephen Maguire, earned his right to play in the next round (actually against Hendry himself) after winning 13-7 over Joe Perry.
Maguire took an over-night lead of 11-5 after two sessions in which he was clearly the player in charge from beginning to end, breaks of 101, 101, 65, 88, 82, 91, 80 and 75 making Perry’s runs of 115, 68, 56, 47 and 103 not enough for standing a chance to win the snooker encounter.
Still, as the players returned into the arena for their last session, Perry fought back and won the first two frames before Maguire replayed by winning the next two with a top break of 79 to end the match.
Welshman Ryan Day defeated the last of the remaining Chinese players, Cao Yupeng by 13-7, after a match that had its ups and downs.
Although the first session ended with Day taking a considerable advantage of 6-2, the second session the Welshman started struggling and let his opponent in.
Fortunately for Day, the Chinese player, although winning three frames in a row, didn’t manage to catch up with him, a strategically break of 112 sending Day at 7-5.
After two more attempts of Cao’s to draw level, the session finished at 9-7 in favour of Day. During the last one, the Welshman keeping the Chinese player away from the table and firing in breaks of 113, 53, 87 and 119 to end the match and secure himself a place in the next round where he’s meeting with the winner of Matthew Stevens v Barry Hawkins match.
Two more matches kicked off today, after the first session Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter taking a 5-3 lead over Mark Williams and Judd Trump respectively.