Si Holds Advantage / Selby Edges Ahead
Chinese debutant Si Jiahui opened up a 6-2 lead over Englishman Robert Milkins following the first session of their second round clash at the Cazoo World Championship in Sheffield.
Si came through three rounds of qualifying, culminating in a 10-7 win over Jordan Brown, to earn his Crucible debut. He then stunned the World Snooker Tour’s in form player Shaun Murphy 10-9 in the opening round to set up a showdown with Milkins.
Gloucester cueman Milkins has enjoyed the best season of his career so far, capturing the title at the Welsh Open by defeating Murphy 9-7 in a thrilling final. That victory earned him a seeded place at the Crucible. He rallied from 7-2 down to beat Joe Perry 10-9 in their opening round encounter.
A fragmented 33-minute first frame went the way of Milkins this evening, before 20-year-old Si showcased his talent to take control of the tie. Breaks of 82 and 103 helped him on the way to taking the next three and heading into the mid-session 3-1 ahead.
When play resumed, Si made it four on the bounce to move 4-1 in front. Milkins halved his deficit, but it was Si who claimed the last two frames of the session, with breaks of 69 and 66, to secure his 6-2 advantage. They recommence tomorrow evening from 7pm.
Meanwhile, four-time World Champion Mark Selby ended 5-3 up on Gary Wilson after a fiercely contested first session.
Selby has picked up two tournament wins this season at the English Open and the recent WST Classic. The 22-time ranking event winner was made to work in his opening round tie this week, but eventually saw off Matthew Selt 10-8.
Wilson claimed a momentous maiden ranking event win earlier this season at the Scottish Open. He’s only gone beyond the first round at the Crucible on one occasion in 2019, when he defeated Selby on his way to making the semi-finals. Wilson beat fellow Tyneside cueman Elliot Slessor 10-8 in the first round.
Selby established an early 2-1 lead, before Wilson took the fourth with a break of 71 to head into the mid-session all-square at 2-2.
When play resumed there was a marathon fifth frame. The pair got bogged down when the pink landed over the green pocket. Two reds ended up on top of it and a length safety battle ensued. Eventually, after 53 minutes of play, Wilson took it on the pink to move 3-2 up.
Selby then rallied and breaks of 74, 64 and 47 saw him take the last three of the session to end 5-3 in front. They return tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm.