David Gilbert reached the second round of the Betfred World Championship after beating Joe Perry 10-7 on day four in Sheffield.
Gilbert is competing as a seed at the Crucible for the first time, having enjoyed his best season on tour to date. Finals at the Yushan World Open and the German Masters have seen him force his way into the world’s top 16. He’s now booked a second trip to the last 16 of the World Championship.
The Tamworth cueman faces defending World Champion Mark Williams up next. Williams was also his opponent in the Yushan final and on that occasion Gilbert surrendered a 9-5 advantage to lose 10-9. He also fell agonisingly short in the German Masters final in Berlin, losing 9-7 to Kyren Wilson.
Perry, a World Championship semi-finalist in 2008, came through the qualifying stages for this event in emphatic style. He won 30 of the 35 frames he played, comfortably booking his Crucible spot. The Gentleman secured a memorable 10-4 victory over the then defending champion Mark Selby in last year’s first round, but failed to replicate that result today.
Gilbert came into this afternoon’s session with a healthy 6-3 advantage. He added to that by taking the opening frame this evening, but Perry responded emphatically with a break of 136 to make it 7-4.
After Gilbert edged a tight 12th frame, Perry continued to try and cut into the advantage. He composed breaks of 69 and 72 to close in at 8-6. Former Players Champion Perry then drew within one after stealing the 15th on the black.
However, it was Gilbert who claimed two on the bounce to progress 10-7 and set up his last 16 showdown with Williams.
“Well I fell over the line in the end, but I’ll certainly take it. This is a very good result, as my form hasn’t been good lately. I feel like I didn’t play that well in the end, but I scrapped like mad. I am delighted to come through,” said Gilbert. “I woke up on Monday with severe man flu. I just didn’t feel like getting up at all, so I’ve struggled with concentration and my headache is bad, but this is the Crucible so you can’t just throw the towel in.
“This is a massive win for me. I have fallen off the tour before and now I am in the top 16 and in the second round of the World Championship about to play the defending champion. It is all to play for and I’ve got nothing to lose now.”
Perry said: “I thought I played alright. I just missed too many easy balls at crucial times. I feel like I played the better snooker and outplayed Dave. I made chances for myself, but just kept missing colours off their spots. You can’t do that against anyone.”
On the other table Thepchaiya Un-Nooh took a surprise 6-3 lead over Judd Trump in a clash between two of the tour’s most explosive talents.
Un-Nooh, the fastest player on the circuit, won the single frame Shoot Out earlier in the year to claim his maiden ranking title. While Trump has enjoyed his best season on the World Snooker Tour. He secured a second Triple Crown victory at the Masters and captured further silverware at the Northern Ireland Open and World Grand Prix.
A show-stopping session this afternoon lasted just over two hours, with fireworks from both players. Trump top scored with a sublime 141. However, breaks of 69, 60 and 54 helped Thailand’s Un-Nooh into a commanding 6-3 advantage. They will play to a conclusion tomorrow morning at 10am.