Kyren Wilson booked his second round spot at the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield with a 10-4 defeat of Scott Donaldson.
World number eight Wilson has shown his Crucible pedigree in recent years. The Warrior reached his maiden World Championship semi-final 12 months ago. On that occasion Wilson fell short against John Higgins by a 17-13 scoreline. He also made the quarter-finals in the two years prior to that.
Donaldson was making his Crucible debut, having come through qualifying for the first time. The Scot won an epic deciding frame with China’s Lu Ning. He had held a 9-4 advantage, before Lu clawed his way back to level. However, Donaldson managed to claim a 67-minute final frame to win 10-9.
It was Donaldson who required a fightback this evening, after trailing 6-2 following the first session. The Perth potter did take the opening frame with a break of 63, but the turnaround never fully materialised.
Wilson won the following two frames to make it 8-3, with Donaldson taking the last before the mid-session to go in at 8-4. When they returned Wilson powered over the line. He made breaks of 63, 52 and 55 on his way to completing the 10-4 win. He will now face Barry Hawkins up next for a place in the quarter-finals.
27-year-old Wilson said: “That was a potential banana skin avoided. I think that’s the best way to sum it up. I was on a bit of a hiding to nothing playing Scott, who is a debutant. Firstly I would just like to say I think he handled himself very well, was very professional and I’m sure he will be back here again for many years to come. For me, I’m very pleased to get the win.
“Barry Hawkins is a fantastic match player. He has a brilliant record at the Crucible and I think the only thing missing from his resume is the trophy. It is going to be a very tough game. I think there is going to be a lot of tactical play, as we try to out manoeuvre each other.”
Donaldson said: “I was beaten by the better player. My cue ball was all over the place in the first session, understandably given it was my first time here. I really enjoyed the second session tonight, so I’ll go away happy to be honest. I know what to expect if I get here again.”
On the other table, three-time champion Mark Selby slipped 5-3 behind against Gary Wilson in the first session of their second round match.
World number 32 Wilson is playing in the last 16 at the Crucible for the first time but has impressed so far against an opponent ranked 30 places higher.
Breaks of 55, 68 and 100 helped Wilson take a 3-1 lead. The next two frames were shared, then Selby made a 72 to close the gap to 4-3. And Selby looked favourite in the last of the session when he led 53-0, but Wilson snatched it with runs of 39 and 24 to take an overnight lead.
They play eight more frames at 2.30pm on Friday, with the final session at 10am on Saturday.