World Championship 2011 - Day 9

13:44:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Higgins must put up with McLeod`s slow playing style
More than half of this year’s World Championship has been consumed and we are getting closer and closer to that final that will see a new or an old champion lifting the shiny trophy.
Sunday was partially a slow day for snooker played in Sheffield, partially a thrill to watch.

John Higgins and Rory McLeod had to play their first and second session, and it took ages to complete...well, it was almost completed, because they only played 15 frames, Higgins taking the lead 10-5.
Stuart Bingham fought pretty well in front of his Chinese opponent, leading Ding Junhui 9-7 after their two sessions, O`Sullivan v. Murphy match continued just like the day before (with no fireworks), the Rocket maintaining his lead 9-7, while Selby was writing history hitting one ton after another as to lead Hendry 12-4.

John Higgins was unfortunate enough to face Rory McLeod for a place into the quarter-finals, so their first and second session was a genuine nightmare! By the end of the day, Higgins succeeded in putting his nose in front with 10 frames to five, but that wasn’t an easy task for the Scotsman.

Rory McLeod taking ages on the shot
It all started slow, very slow...too slow for anyone’s patience and it’s truly amazing to see how comfortable feels Rory playing the way he does. I really do respect his style, but I truly hate the way he tends to contaminate his opponents with his “slowliness” :-)) Horrible! Anyway, in all do honesty, Higgins wasn’t at his beat either.

The mid session interval was finding the boys all square at 2-2, although Higgins had a pretty good chance to lead 3-1 considering that Rory won the second frame of the match with a two points difference (65-67).
A top break of 53 was enough for Higgins to take control of the match, as he was leading McLeod 5-2 after their first session. Yes! Only seven frames were played instead of eight! And yes, that’s the second time it happens here at the Crucible, this year, when Rory plays.

The evening session was started with McLeod’s 47 top break, a break that was bringing him two frames in a row, enough to go just one point behind Higgins 4-5, but the Scot hit a 72 to make that gap bigger. Still, Rory wasn’t giving up that easily so a break of 57 was putting him (again!) one point distance of his rival.
From that moment on, although it wasn’t a bed of roses, Higgins managed to win all the remaining frames and set the partial scoreline at 10-5. Phew! That was a real marathon of strong nerves and determination!

Bingham seems a bit too strong for Ding
Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham were also playing their first and second session, the Englishman being a bit too strong for the little Chinese and leading him 9-7 as the last ball was sent to a pocket.

The battle started with Stu taking the first three frames with runs of 59 and another 59, but the mid-session interval was kicking off as the scoreline reached 3-1, Ding winning his first frame with a break of 67.
After a quarter of an hour, Ding pulled back another frame as to go just one point behind Stu 2-3, but the Englishman extended his lead and took the following frame. One more try was going to be made by this year’s Masters` champion to level the match, but the 8th frame was cashed by Bingham, the first session ending on a 5-3 result.

The evening session saw Ding taking the first frame and Bingham the next three to set the scoreline at 8-4 in his favor.
However, we all knew it was a matter of time to see a comeback made by Ding Junhui and breaks of 93, 75 and 91 were a living proof of that. Still, the 15th frame was won by Bingham who’s 72 break was more powerful that Ding’s 61. And so the scoreline ended up 9-7 in favor of Stu Bingham, but watch out for the last session! :-)

O`Sullivan is maintaining his lead over Murphy
Murphy and O`Sullivan were having their second meeting of snooker, starting from a 6-2 result in favor of "The Rocket". The session continued about the same way as the day before, with no fireworks and quite a few mistakes from both players.

Although Murphy seemed pretty determined to put together a full comeback, he only succeeded in winning the first two frames of the second session for a 4-6 scoreline. He would have won the next one also, but he made the mistake of going and missing an easy ball as he was on a 44 break, O`Sullivan taking plenty advantage of that and winning himself a new frame for a 7-4 lead.

Still, Murphy managed to win another frame to reduce the gap, only to see O`Sullivan hitting in breaks of 95 and 56 for a 9-5 lead. It wasn’t too much of a doubt that although none of the players was at their best, I`Sullivan was playing way batter than Murphy.
However the next two frames were going to be cashed by 'The Magician" with runs of 83 and 45, ending the second session on a 9-7 result, in favor of Ronnie.

Selby`s writing history at the Crucible
One of the best matches of these last two days was also disputing its second session, Mark Selby leading Stephen Hendry 12-4. This is an actual case of "raining century breaks" match, as Selby hit no more than four of then during the first session and three more were going to be made in the next one.

Started with Selby leading Hendry 7-1, a break of 100 was being hit by the Leicester man in order to extend his lead. Hendry responded pretty well, with a 62 break to be more precise, but a beautiful 127 and a steady 87 made by Selby were restoring the gap with a 10-2 score.

The Crucible King wasn’t giving up yet, so runs of 75 and 74 were bringing him the next two frames, while a 117 was winning Selby the 15th frame for a 11-4 lead.
The last frame of the day would have had Hendry’s name written all over it, if the Scotsman would have been more persistent. A break of 51 and some more points scored were letting Selby in need of four snooker, snookers that he earn fair and square in order to win him that frame and set him just one step away from victory.

Today’s snooker programme is the following one:

13:00 (UK time)
Stephen Hendry (4) v. (12) Mark Selby*
Rory McLeod (5) v. (10) John Higgins*

19:00 (UK time)
Ding Junhui (7) v. (9) Stuart Bingham*
Shaun Murphy (7) v. (9) Ronnie O'Sullivan*
* the last session

TV coverage:
14:30-16:30 (British EuroSport)
15:00-17:15 (BBC 2)
17:30-19:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00-20:00 (BBC 2)
19:00-22:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00-22:00 (British EuroSport)
00:00-00:50 (BBC 2)
00:50-02:50 (BBC 2)