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Brecel Secures Lead Over Williams

Luca Brecel earned a 9-7 lead over Mark Williams to leave their second round encounter finely poised ahead of this evening’s concluding session at the Cazoo World Championship in Sheffield.

Belgium’s Brecel scored a momentous 10-9 win over Ricky Walden in the opening round. It was his first ever match victory at the Crucible, having lost on his first five trips to the Theatre of Dreams.

Welshman Williams is bidding for a fourth Crucible crown this year. He made the semi-finals 12 months ago, but lost out 17-16 in a thrilling encounter with Judd Trump. Williams beat Jimmy Robertson 10-5 in the opening round this year to set up his meeting with Brecel.

Yesterday’s opening session left the pair locked together at 4-4, but Williams made his move in the early moments this morning. Breaks of 62 and 53 gave him the opening two frames and a 6-4 advantage. The Belgian Bullet came firing back with consecutive century runs of 113 and 110 to restore parity at 6-6 ahead of the mid-session.

After the interval Brecel moved clear by taking the 13th thanks to a run of 66. The 14th came down to the colours, lasting 36 minutes, but Brecel took it to extend his advantage and a break of 80 then made it 9-6. Williams took the last of the morning, with a contribution of 81, to end just two behind at 9-7. They will play the best of 25 clash to a conclusion this evening from 7pm.

Debutant Jak Jones made a strong start in his second round tie with 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson, but was pegged back to end the first session level at 4-4.

Jones secured his maiden appearance in the final stages by defeating Crucible stalwart Barry Hawkins 10-8 on Judgement Day. He then enjoyed a dream debut by beating two-time finalist Ali Carter 10-6 in the opening round.

Robertson made history in his first round match, making two 146 breaks on his way to beating Wu Yize 10-3. He’s aiming to rectify a poor recent World Championship record, having not made the single table semis since 2014.

The first three frames went the way of Jones this afternoon, who crafted a 122 break on his way to the 3-0 advantage. The Welshman had the first chance in the fourth, but missed a simple red on 46. Australia’s Robertson ruthlessly stepped up with a break of 89 to get his first frame on the board.

A run of 95 then closed the gap to 3-2 for Robertson, before Jones responded with 77 to move 4-2 up. However, it was Robertson who took the last two frames to end all-square at 4-4. They return for the second session tonight at 7pm.