World Snooker Championship 2014: Round 1 Scores, Results, Fixtures and Analysis

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2014

World Snooker Championship 2014: Round 1 Scores, Results, Fixtures and Analysis

0 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Ronnie O'Sullivan will once again take to the World Snooker Championship stage this month, Saturday, April 19 marking the start of a two-week campaign in which he'll look to defend his title.

    Sheffield's Crucible Theatre will once again welcome snooker's best and brightest in the hopes of unearthing a deserving champion come the final on May 5.

    The snooker masses are currently in a state of slight delirium, as The Guardian's Barry Glendennig reports on Barry Hearn's overhaul of the sport, including its financial restrictions and formatting.

    In that report, BBC pundit and former world champions Ken Doherty notes that Hearn's work has left "professional snooker players feeling like they have a full-time job again," just as O'Sullivan gears up to attempt winning his sixth world title.

    Follow along with our daily results from Sheffield to ensure you don't miss out on any of the key moments from snooker's most hallowed contest.

Day 6, Evening

1 of 16

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Neil Robertson 10-2 Robbie Williams

    World No. 1 Neil Robertson put a quick end to this match with Robbie Williams. He took a 7-2 lead into the evening session and wasted no time slamming the door shut on his overmatched opponent. The evening session took just 44 minutes.

    The 2010 world champion looks primed to make a run at this title and he moved within three frames of a century of centuries. He was nearly flawless in this first-round victory, and he posted the highest break of the tournament with a clearance of 140. He also had a break of 102 to move him to a remarkable 97 centuries for the season. 

    Robertson knows the century of centuries is withing reach. 

    "If I have a good run then perhaps I could crack the 100," ESPN quoted Robertson as saying. "I've got a best-of-25 match and if I play well then I'll probably just get over the 100 mark naturally without trying to think about it."

    He clearly is on a roll and is not oblivious to the fact. ESPN also passed along this quote from Robertson: 

    It didn't matter who came out the hat, they were going to feel the wrath of some of my best snooker. This is the best World Championship I've ever prepared for in terms of the practice and how I feel leading into it. I had to come out and destroy him tonight.

    This is all bad news for the rest of the field. 

Day 6, Afternoon Session

2 of 16

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Dominic Dale 10-5 Mark Davis

    Dale took the first two frames of the day but needed to wait until a re-spot in the 15th to take care of business against Mark Davis, moving on to the second round. The Spaceman will play Michael Wasley, who pulled of an incredible upset over current World No. 2 Ding Junhui in the first round, winning by decider.

    Mark Davis endured a nightmare start to this year's World Championship, falling behind 7-2 in Wednesday's evening session and all but taking himself out of the running for the title. The Englishman clearly meant to draw out today's session and not take any chances, but his lack of aggressiveness hurt him early as Dale built on yesterday's performance to grab the first two frames.

    The situation now seemed hopeless for Davis, who managed to grab three consecutive frames, including the 14th with a fantastic long pot on a re-spotted black.

    But the Spaceman took control of frame 15 early and never gave his challenger much of a chance, winning his first-round match altogether comfortably and setting up a meeting with Wasley in the second round.

    Dale should be favoured going into that match, but Wasley showed the kind of fearlessness needed to play on a stage as grand as the Crucible. If the experienced Welshman can use some of Wasley's excitement against him, Dale should still be a good bet for the next round.

Day 5, Evening

3 of 16

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Dominic Dale 7-2 Mark Davis

    It hasn't been the most exciting match, but Dominc Dale will take it. The Welshman is in firm control. Up 7-2 over World No. 12 Mark Davis at the conclusion of the first session, Dale will sleep sound with the lead in hand over his seeded opponent. 

    Dale built an early advantage and didn't look back. The key moment came in the second frame. After taking the first frame, Dale got a needed snooker and forced his opponent into four fouls. 

    Should Dale advance, it will set up a battle of upset specialists. Gloucester’s Michael Wasley awaits the winner after he authored a shocking defeat of World No. 2 Ding Junhui. 

    This is Dale's ninth trip to this event. His previous best showing was a quarterfinal appearance. He has been in good form and won the Shoot-Out in January.


    Mark Allen 10-4 Michael Holt

    Mark Allen is through to the second round after beating Michael Holt in relatively easy fashion, 10-4.

    Allen carried a 5-4 lead into the day, and dominated on Wednesday by winning every frame. Allen's highest break of the match (72) came in the first frame on Wednesday.

    He flashed great form in the final frame with a break of 65.  

    The world No. 14 has previously made the semifinals in this event, and he looks primed for another deep run. He has a potentially tough match next, however.

    He awaits the winner of the match between World No. 1 Neil Robertson or Robbie Williams. Robertson is in firm control of that one, up 7-2. Robertson is the 2010 World champion. 

Day 5, Afternoon Session

4 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Marco Fu 10-7 Martin Gould

    Marco Fu defeated Martin Gould in a highly entertaining matchup, finally beating the Londoner in the first round of the World Championships in three tries.

    The man from Hong Kong has been in fine form all year and played a very clean match early, grabbing an 8-4 lead to place the pressure on Gould, but his challenger answered in excellent fashion to 8-6 and 9-7. The two players seemed to alternate high breaks and table-clearances throughout much of the afternoon, and Fu continued that trend in the final frame with an 80-break to pt Gould away for good.

    Speaking with, Fu was clearly satisfied with his performance in such a difficult matchup, and things won't get any easier in the second round, when Shaun Murphy will be waiting:

    We both played well throughout the match. I was happy with how I played and Martin kept putting pressure on me throughout the match. I’m just pleased I was able to produce some good snooker towards the end.

    I’m pretty happy with my game coming here. I can’t ask any more than that. I’m happy with the consistency I’ve produced through the season.

    It’s either really good or terrible here for me at the Crucible. I nearly got to the final (in 2006) but otherwise it’s been average. After 15 years I’m starting to feel comfortable here.

    It’s a tough draw. I won’t look any further than Shaun. It’ll be very tough. I lost to him once here 13-3 with a session to spare – hopefully that won’t happen this time.

    Murphy needed a decider to overcome Jamie Cope in the first round and seemed to struggle with his safety a bit, so if Fu can keep up the clean play he displayed in the first round, the right-hander from Hong Kong should feel goods about his chances.

    Neil Robertson 7-2 Robbie Williams

    World number one Robertson opened up a commanding lead against a clearly overmatched Robbie Williams, scoring two centuries on his way to a five-frame lead at the conclusion of the afternoon session.

    The debutant was clearly impressed by the surroundings and failed to string together consistent breaks, while the 2010 winner looked very comfortable on the floor of the Crucible, taking his time for every shot on his way to his 94th and 95th century of the season.

    Ronnie O'Sullivan looked very strong during the opening round and last year's runner up Barry Dawkins won eight consecutive frames in his 10-4 win over David Gilbert, but neither played as cleanly as Robertson did during his first nine frames, and if he can keep up this level of play throughout the event, The Rocket's streak of wins might soon come to an end.

Day 5, Morning Session

5 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Barry Hawkins 10-4 David Gilbert

    Last year's runner-up Barry Hawkins made fairly short work of David Gilbert in Wednesday's morning session, winning five consecutive frames to put himself into the second round.

    On Tuesday, Hawkins had been given an early scare as the world No. 31 took a 4-2 lead.

    However, it was clear that Hawkins was finding his rhythm and he came into Wednesday's session with a 5-4 lead.

    Indeed Hawkins, on his 35th birthday, picked up where he left off and took the first frame of the day with a break of 93.

    That set the tone for the rest of the session as qualifier Gilbert, a big underdog coming into the match, could not regain the momentum he had early on and Hawkins patiently made his quality show.

    A break of 71 in the penultimate frame stretched the Kent-born Hawkins' lead to a daunting five frames, and he proceeded to see out the final frame with ease. 

    He goes into the second round on the back of a comfortable win and will look to continue his improving form and go one better in this year's tournament. 

    Judd Trump 10-8 Tom Ford

    Judd Trump somehow managed to force his way into the second round with a workmanlike victory over qualifier Tom Ford.

    The 2011 runner-up came into Wednesday's morning session with a 6-2 lead but Ford won the first three frames, Trump unable to score in the first two.

    A rattled Trump managed to take a 7-5 lead in a low scoring 12th frame before the mid-session interval.

    However, the 24-year-old could not find any rhythm at all despite a visit of 72 which put him into an 8-6 lead.

    Continued misses from Trump allowed world No. 36 Ford to take the next two frames and tie the game up at 8-8.

    But Ford began to truly feel the pressure of the Crucible and could not continue his momentum to see out the match with the rest causing him real problems on more than one occasion.

    Trump stuttered to a 10-8 victory but he will feel enormously fortunate to have reached the second round after an inauspicious performance.

    He will take on Welshman Ryan Day, who overcame Stephen Maguire 10-9 in his first round match.

    Trump will have to improve significantly if he wants to make his not inconsiderable talent show and push him deep into this competition. 

Day 4, Afternoon Session

6 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Barry Hawkins 5-4 David Gilbert

    Barry Hawkins finished runner-up in last years competition, and he’ll be desperate to go one better this time around. He got his tournament under way against the qualifier David Gilbert, who will be looking to build on his impressive performance in the preliminary rounds.

    It was the qualifier who started the better of the two players in this first-round clash. After a tight opening frame, it was Gilbert who took an early lead, edging out his opponent 63-45.

    He extended his advantage to 2-0 in the very next frame with a tidy break of 77, before Hawkins battled back in the third frame to make it 2-1.

    Gilbert was a big underdog heading into this one, but he was playing with plenty of fluency and without fear in the early stages of this match. Another tidy break of 51 allowed him to re-establish his two frame advantage and Hawkins may have been a little concerned a shock was on the cards.

    But, there’s a reason why Hawkins made it to the final last season, as he responded once again with a break of 72 in the seventh frame. Gilbert won again to go 4-2 up, but at this point it was clear Hawkins was starting to find his rhythm.

    The 2013 runner-up rattled off three consecutive frames that included breaks of 72, 115 and 69 to move into the lead and leave the inexperienced Gilbert a little shell-shocked come the end of the session. Hawkins leads this one 5-4.

    Judd Trump 6-2 Tom Ford

    The prodigious Judd Trump will be looking to finally convert his indisputable potential into a World Championship crown this year, and he starts his tournament off with a clash against qualifier Tom Ford.

    Trump lost to the eventual winner Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals last year and he will be hoping the all-out-attack approached that he has showcased throughout the course of this season will serve him a little better in this year's championships.

    Ford beat the 2000 and 2005 runner-up Matthew Stevens in the qualifying round, and if anyone thought he was going to roll over for the world No.8 here, the early indications certainly suggested otherwise.

    Trump took the opening frame but Ford responded well after some lacklustre play from the “Juddernaut”, levelling it up at 1-1. Neither player was able to find their rhythm early on, but when Trump went back into the lead with a visit of 62, he seemed to be finding his feet. But another rash shot in the fourth frame cost him, as Ford capitalised to win the frame at the death.

    With Trump reeling, Ford did his utmost to capitalise, trying to play in aggressive, attacking style. Trump just shaded the fifth frame 66-59, but in the sixth Ford needed to pot the pink and the black to go back on level terms.

    But he left the pink over the pocket and Trump, who was six points back, went on the clean up and establish a two frame lead. That looked to knock the stuffing out of Ford and he lost the seventh frame 85-30, with Trump starting to sense blood.

    Trump won the last frame of the session to lead 6-2 at the interval. Ford will feel as thought he has missed some great chances, Trump will relieved to have such a substantial lead despite being well short of his best.

    Mark Allen 5-4 Michael Holt 

    This match will resume during Wednesday's morning session. 

    Both matches will resume on the morning of Day 5.

Day 4, Morning Session

7 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    John Higgins 7-10 Alan McManus

    Two of Scotland's greats faced off against one another in the first round in Sheffield as two-time semi-finalist Alan McManus took on four-time world champion John Higgins.

    On Monday, McManus shook Higgins by building up a 6-1 lead, ending the session 6-3. Higgins finally got his game going in frame eight after a break of 80 without reply gave him a small chance of getting back into the match. He then took the ninth frame with a break of 57 and his comeback had gained a foothold. 

    But McManus took the first two frames in Tuesday's morning session to build an 8-3 lead and edge closer to the finish line in the first-to-10 encounter.

    The players then shared a frame apiece to make it 9-4, with Higgins then hitting the break of the match in next frame. He hit a wonderful 111 to claw his way back, taking three consecutive frames to make it 9-7.

    However, McManus finally beat his fellow countryman, taking the final frame on the blue ball to win the match 10-7.

    Marco Fu 6-3 Martin Gould

    Hong Kong's experienced campaigner Marco Fu battled world No. 36 Martin Gould in the first round on Tuesday.

    Fu stormed ahead early on with some impressive break building. He took the first frame with a break of 124 and the second with a break of 83 to make it 2-0.

    But Gould hit back quickly with a break of 63 to gain a frame back on his opponent. 

    However, Fu's form on the table continued and he opened up a 4-1 lead as he took the fourth and the fifth, amassing a run of 88 en route.

    Gould then hit a fantastic 92 to claim yet another mark back, and also took the seventh to make it 4-3.

    Frames eight and nine went to Fu as he took control once again to open up a strong 6-3 lead. At this stage, he appears to have the extra gear.

    The match will resume in the afternoon session. 

Day 3, Evening Session

8 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Mark Selby 10-9 Michael White

    Mark Selby overcame a late rally, sloppy play and one of the oddest frames in snooker history to win a decider over the young Michael White in the evening session, booking his place in the second round.

    The former world No. 1 had dominated White coming into the evening session, going up 5-1 and 8-4 before losing four consecutive frames as his aggressive play led to too many unforced errors.

    White's confidence started to grow as the Welshman aggressively started to attack long pots, and while the 22-year-old made plenty of errors of his own, Selby kept giving the youngster chances to get back into the frame.

    Frame 17 saw several bizarre twists and turns, as the experienced Selby mistakenly played a shot on pink that wasn't free, to the shock of the crowd, the commentators and himself most of all. Selby couldn't believe his mistake and was visibly shaken in his next few pots, but in an even stranger twist, the error left the pink ball out of play, forcing a 20-minute standoff between the players on yellow.

    Several bad safeties and two missed pressure pots later, White would make the final mistake that gifted the frame to Selby, who finally scored on his third pressure pot of the frame.

    White took one back to force the decider, but Selby seized control in the 19th early and never gave the youngster any chance, nearly recording a century on his way to the next round.

    Losing in such fashion will have been hard on White, but the youngster showed remarkable poise and fighting spirit and looks like he could develop into a fan favourite at the Crucible for decades to come.

    Selby, meanwhile, looked fantastic during the early sessions but will need to clean up his game if he is to make a serious run at a World Championship win.

    Ricky Walden 6-3 Kyren Wilson

    Ricky Walden went from being down 3-1 to taking a 6-3 lead into Tuesday, as brilliant control of his safeties led to five straight frames and a relatively comfortable lead over 22-year-old Kyren Wilson.

    Wilson had controlled much of the early proceedings with a few crucial, aggressive pots, but Walden adapted accordingly and started putting pressure on the debutant, leading to a handful of mistakes that turned the tie around.

    A crucial miss on black up 63-0 in the final frame seemed to perfectly illustrate Wilson's evening session, as the youngster will need to recover going into the next day of competition.

    But last year's semi-finalist seems to have excellent control of his game early in the tournament, unlike some of the other favourites for the title. And while he did struggle a bit early with Wilson's attacking play, he figures to be in complete control of this matchup.

    Michael Wasley 10-9 Ding Junhui

    Wasley and Ding were allowed to finish their match late in the evening, with the Englishman scoring one of the greatest upsets in Crucible history, defeating Chinese hopeful Ding in a decider.

    Last year's World Championship saw only two deciders in total, but Wasley and Ding squared off in the fourth of this year's first round as the 24-year-old qualifier, who had needed a decider to make it to the main tournament, convincingly won the 18th frame when he scored a century, never giving his opponents much of a chance at the table.

    Wasley continued his aggressive play into the final frame and went up early, but a miss on red and a short safety battle gave momentum back to Ding, who scored three wonder pots in the course of five shots.

    Two near-identical shots on red and a difficult side-pot on pink seemed to turn the tide in favour of the Chinese superstar, who forced three consecutive penalties on a double-cushion snooker on red.

    Wasley eventually found his shot, and the two went into the final portions of the frame with Ding sporting a sizeable lead. Eventually, some difficult ball-placement forced another safety battle with one red remaining.

    Facing a near-snooker, Wasley attempted to play a little kiss on the final red and overshot his mark, only to see the ball go into the side pocket, setting the table for a final run. Wasley remained cool and seemed to put his opponent away for good, only to miss on pink, the final shot he had to make.

    Incredibly, Ding was able to record three consecutive snookers off of long shots, refusing to go down. A double-play on his fourth attempt resulted in a makeable pot near the side cushion, however, and Wasley delivered.

    The crowd erupted, Ding acknowledged his opponent and Wasley had difficulties controlling his emotions, as one of the greatest upsets in the history of the World Champions unfolded in a final frame that took all of 41 minutes.

    Regardless of his opponent in the next round, Wasley will already be able to look back on arguably the most famous victory of his career. For Ding, this result is but the latest in a line of disappointing finishes at the Crucible, a tournament the player has never won.

Day 3, Afternoon Session

9 of 16

    Alan McManus looks poised to go through to the next round.
    Alan McManus looks poised to go through to the next round.Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Ding Junhui 9-8 Michael Wasley (to be completed during evening session)

    Ding Junhui's match will head into a third session after the game was was stopped at 9-8 with the advantage to the Chinese cue-master.

    Coming into the session with a 6-3 overnight lead, Ding was immediately put on the back foot by a reinvigorated Wasley.

    The first three frames of the session all belonged to the Englishman, the second of which included some tantalising shot-play in a superb 135 clearance. After having claimed the final four frames in the previous evening session, Ding wasn't going to have things all his own way.

    A 73 break followed by a 64 in the next frame saw the pendulum swing again as Ding led by two, but Wasley managed to dig deep once again to take a frame that was finely poised right up until the last few colours remained.

    Unbelievably, Walsey brought proceedings level again but Ding still had the last word in the session to leave him just a frame away from victory.  

    John Higgins 3-6 Alan McManus (to be completed on Tuesday morning)

    Scotland's Alan McManus looks set for a place in the next round after a fine display of cuing excellence during his match against John Higgins.

    Former World Champion Higgins just retains an interest in the contest and had to draw on all of his reserves to stop the match from completely slipping away from him.

    The opening frame went to Higgins after his opponent had failed to pot a relatively simple green, but from there on it was all about McManus. He was simply relentless and like a dog with a bone he just would not let go. Quick-fire breaks of 87 and 47 enabled him to take the lead and they were followed by three consecutive frames as the signs began to look ominous for his opponent.

    Higgins began to fight back, but a missed chance whilst on 49 in the seventh allowed McManus back in. Confidence oozing from every pore, the Glaswegian cleaned up to take him 6-1 ahead and leaving Higgins with a mountain to climb.

    It was imperative that Higgins gave himself something to cling to and the final two frames of the day were reward for his endeavours.

    At this point, it remains just a lifeline. He will have to significantly up his game on Day 4 if he wants to progress at the expense of McManus.

Day 3, Morning Session

10 of 16

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Joe Perry 10-7 Jamie Burnett

    Joe Perry won six successive frames in the second session of his clash with Jamie Burnett, laying the foundations for a sensational turnaround.

    Perry was 6-3 down after Sunday's morning meeting but found himself 9-6 up before then sacrificing another frame, having seemingly undergone some sort of dramatic turn in fortune on Sunday evening.

    Frames 10 and 11 saw the 39-year-old record back-to-back breaks of 87 and 70, and it wasn't until the 16th frame that Burnett launched a valiant consolation effort, breaking for 111 to pull the scoreline back to 9-7.

    However, it was all for nought as the Scot's collapse was sealed in the 18th frame, Perry sealing the deal with a lavish break of his own at 81.

    In his post-match notes, presenter George Riley quotes Perry as saying of his upcoming meeting with Ronnie O'Sullivan: "We've all got to believe we can win. He's an intimidating character, but he's beatable."

    Mark Selby 5-4 Michael White

    Mark Selby began his Crucible campaign in confident fashion on Monday morning but weakened as his opening-round meeting with Michael White dragged on, eventually settling for a 5-4 lead in the first round.

    The tournament's No. 3 seed quickly assumed a 3-0 lead, and the alarm bells were ringing for White from the beginning, as he had no choice but to watch as his opponent notched a break of 88 in the opening frame.

    Two more high breaks of 78 and 63 in the fifth and sixth frames, respectively helped Selby into a 5-1 lead, and it looked as though the favourite was in cruise control. At this stage, the 30-year-old had potted 138 balls while White had managed to sink just 35. 

    From there, though, wastefulness crept into Selby's game and White, while still not superb in his performance, took full advantage by winning the final three frames of the morning session.

    Selby will be extremely disappointed with the current score considering he could have easily finished the session 6-1 up, but the Leicester native now moves into Monday evening's session with far tighter margins separating him from his opponent.

Day 2, Evening Session

11 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Shaun Murphy 10-9 Jamie Cope

    Murphy and Cope did battle in an exhilarating evening session that saw their contest come down to a deciding frame that remained exciting until the very last pot, with the experienced Brit showcasing best control of his nerves.

    The evening session between both men was filled with sloppy errors and faults, and unsurprisingly, the final frame turned into a battle of safeties and snookers, with Cope perhaps displaying too much patience in the end. Known as a normally aggressive player, Cope refused to take any risks down 9-8 and was lucky enough to see Murphy make a decisive error on a long pot to extend the match to the decider.

    But Murphy remained the more aggressive player throughout the night and found great success on his long pots, as he looked like a player in control. Consecutive frames saw him inadvertently drop the cue ball on red, though, keeping Cope in the match.

    One final stroke of genius on green however made the decision in the final frame, as Murphy set the highest mark of the evening session at 88 to secure the win and advance to the next round.

    Ryan Day 10-9 Stephen Maguire

    Fans were treated to even more drama in the evening session, as Day also needed a decider to overcome a late comeback from Maguire to book his ticket to the next round.

    Maguire trailed 8-4 and 9-6 in this contest and looked very much done in the 18th frame, but the Scotsman refused to go down without a fight. Forcing a decider, Maguire must have had flashbacks of previous entries into the tournament, as he had already lost four deciders at the Crucible, three of which at 10-9.

    Maguire seemed to be in control up 18-16 before handing Day a difficult and makeable pot, and the experienced Welsh player finally got over the hump as he made a difficult red and controlled the rest of the frame on his way to his best score of the evening, a 108.

    Maguire's magical comeback came to a screeching halt, but Day should have never allowed the Scotsman to get his foot in the door in the first place, and like several other of the tournament hopefuls, he will need to clean up his game quite a bit going into the second round.

Day 2, Afternoon Session

12 of 16

    Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Ding Junhui 6-3 Michael Wasley

    World No. 2 Ding Junhui got his World Championship campaign off to a strong start against the man 73 places beneath him in the world rankings, Michael Wasley.

    Wasley wasn’t expected to have much of a say in proceedings against the highly rated Ding, but the 24-year-old looked comfortable on his Crucible debut in the opening exchanges despite the nature of his opponent.

    When the draw was made, the Gloucester cueman said that he didn’t care who he faced, and he certainly approached Sunday’s match with that attitude—per BBC Sport:

    An opponent is an opponent and I am out to win so I don't mind. I went to watch many years ago. I saw Paul Hunter play and I saw my good friend Judd Trump in 2006. I am just so happy to be playing there now, as opposed to watching.

    Wasley opened with a break of 53, but lost the frame to Ding after the Chinese ace pounced on a nervy mistake.

    There was nothing Ding could do about Wasley’s 63 in the second, though, as the young Englishman moved into a 2-1 lead after also winning the third.

    However, Ding then started to show why he’s one of the best in the business, winning five of the following six frames.

    A magnificent 136 break in the seventh frame was the 27-year-old’s highlight of the day, setting up a 6-3 lead at the halfway stage.

    The pair return to action tomorrow afternoon, with Ding looking to build on his five ranking tournament wins this season.

    Ali Carter 10-8 Xiao Guodong

    Ali Carter closed out his match over Xiao Guodong after taking a 5-4 lead into Day 2 with a 10-8 triumph.

    The Essex potter found himself in a tense battle against the young Chinaman, with the tie’s outcome in the balance throughout.

    That was, until the 18th frame, where Carter’s break of 80 set him up for victory. A two-time finalist at the Crucible, Carter has fond memories of the famous venue and did well to scrap his way through against Xiao.

    The Chinese cueman played his part in a magnificent match, posting breaks of 73 and 70 during the session, but couldn’t cope with Carter when he hit top gear and eliminated mistakes from his game.

    Carter will face either Mark Selby or Michael White in the second round, but will need to take to the practice tables to fix errors that could potentially halt his World Championship run.

    If he can do that, then expect the 34-year-old to roll back to years and make a big impact on proceedings in Sheffield.

Day 2, Morning Session

13 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Stuart Bingham 5-10 Ken Doherty

    Ken Doherty's triumphant comeback was solidified on Sunday morning.

    Stuart Bingham remained seated for much of his Sunday outing as Doherty's ruthless streak was on full display, putting together a streak of six frames, not permitting his opponent even a single score this time around.

    Let us not forget that Bingham made it to the last eight of last year's competition, but he simply wasn't at his accurate best on Sunday. It seemed as though a lifeline had emerged at 9-5 when the Basildon native developed a head of steam, but again it was his own profligacy that proved his undoing.

    Setanta Sports quote Doherty's delight following this most recent triumph:

    It was magnificent, just fantastic. I was starting to get really emotional. When I went 9-5 up I started to feel the nerves a little bit but I was loving every minute.

    I came here with no great expectation. I knew I could surprise a few people but I knew I would be up against it. It’s a fantastic feeling to beat Stuart and get through to the next round. I don’t know how many more times I’m going to be here again. I have to savour every moment.

    There’s a lot to do yet though. I’m here to enjoy myself but I’m not here to make up the numbers. I’ve had a lot of special memories out there and they came flooding back.

    Chances were lost and Doherty once again seized his opportunity, creating his own luck as momentum continued to run in his favour, moving onto the second round.

    Bingham needed 48 points at the end of proceedings to turn around the 19th frame, but with only 35 left on the table, Doherty's progress was a foregone conclusion as Bingham's shaky collapse was brought to a sheepish end.

    Joe Perry 3-6 Jamie Burnett 

    Jamie Burnett took a first-session advantage from Sunday morning's meeting with Joe Perry, not too unlike the resounding lead Ronnie O'Sullivan established just 24 hours earlier against Robin Hull.

    The pair resume action on Monday morning, where Burnett will seek to build on the 6-3 win he deservedly built over his opponent, finishing matters with a break of 94 to end on a high.

    This outcome was especially hard for Perry to take considering he found himself 3-2 up at one point, but let things slip as the match progressed.

    Burnett was controlling in all regards during the clash, potting 162 balls with a success rate of 90 percent, whereas Perry could only sink 102, boasting an accuracy of 86 percent which, while not far off his foes', was a telling difference between the two.

    The one facet of the head-to-head in which Perry did dominate was the long-pot success, but when it came to closer parameters, there was only one victor in sight.

    Burnett now looks to Monday's meeting, where a berth in the second round is the prize at hand for whomever the overall winner.

Day 1, Evening Session

14 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-4 Robin Hull

    O'Sullivan booked his ticket to the second round with a fairly simple win over Robin Hull, thanks to a strong morning session.

    The defending champion and five-time winner struggled early in the evening session, allowing his opponent to lessen the 7-2 gap to four frames at 8-4, but the difference in class between the mercurial O'Sullivan and Hull, who is the tournament's lowest-ranked player showed late as the Englishman would take the final two frames to advance comfortably.

    Speaking to the BBC, O'Sullivan tried to downplay any pressure on his shoulders as he goes looking for a third consecutive title, a feat no player has achieved since the legendary Stephen Hendry in 1996:

    I'm just pleased to have got through.

    I don't really see there's a massive expectation on me. I'm just here to do a job and I go about it as professionally as I can. There's one out of the way and I just move on to the next.

    The Rocket never played with the same intensity he had shown during the morning as he was unable to break the century mark, but a player as experienced as O'Sullivan knows his best play won't be needed until the latter stages of the tournament.

    Ali Carter 5-4 Xiao Guodong

    Guodong can't have been satisfied with the draw for his very first appearance at The Crucible, as the 25-year-old was forced to take on two-time finalist Carter in the other evening match, but the Chinese youngster held his own against the local hero, ending the evening down by a single frame.

    Carter scored the highest total score of the session with 92 and took a 4-1 lead as the pressure seemed to be getting to his young opponent a bit, but Guodong recovered superbly to take the next three frames before surrendering the final frame of the night.

    The revival of the Chinese youngster came after the interval, indicating he was able to control his nerves a bit as he outplayed the 2012 runner-up during the final few frames, with the older and more experienced Brit showing why he made the final two years ago in winning a long safety battle in the ninth.

    But if said revival is any indication, a second session in The Crucible will come with a lot less pressure on Guodong, and an upset might be in the making as play will resume at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday.

Day 1, Afternoon Session

15 of 16

    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Shaun Murphy 4-5 Jamie Cope

    Day 1’s afternoon session saw Englishman Jamie Cope claim a slender first-round advantage by taking a 5-4 lead against 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy.

    After losing the opening frame, Murphy showed his world-class credentials with a 112 break to level the scores, but struggled to find his usual superb rhythm against the talented Cope.

    After heading into the mid-session interval at 2-2, Murphy looked to have restored normal service as he raced into a 4-2 lead in double-quick time with breaks of 87 and 70, but Cope came back to close proceedings with a 5-4 lead.

    The 28-year-old Stoke cueman considered quitting the sport after a string of poor performances that saw his world ranking fall to No. 53, but he looked back to his best against Murphy.

    Cope has reportedly been seeing a sports psychologist to bring his game back up to speed, and has been reaping the benefits lately, as the Daily Star reported:

    I have missed it for the last three years, but things are going better for me now. Over the past three years, up until about six months ago, my main goal was just to be able to keep playing —nothing else. Every tournament I went to made me think would never get back to the Crucible, I could no longer compete. It was the worst feeling in the world.

    He showed no signs of psychological damage against Murphy, though, who needs to find a way to restore his break-building brilliance in Sunday’s evening session.

    Stephen Maguire 3-6 Ryan Day

    Former world No. 6 Ryan Day enjoyed a fruitful session, as he wound back the years to put Stephen Maguire on the brink of first-round elimination for the second time in as many years.

    Day’s opening break of 75 set the tone for the rest of the session, with the Welshman racing into a 6-2 lead against his Scottish counterpart, though Maguire did pull a frame back at the death to close the gap.

    Maguire, who won the UK Championship back in 2004, did muster a break of 112 in the second frame, but it was a rare highlight for him in a session to forget.

    His long potting seemed to elude him, while his positioning also left a lot to be desired, but take nothing away from Day, who took his chances well when they came around.

    The 34-year-old won four frames on the spin after heading into the mid-session interval locked at 2-2, with the seventh frame proving a massive scalp.

    Sitting on 64 and looking odds on to take the frame, Maguire slipped up to give Day the chance of clearing up—which he did, winning 71-64.

    The pair return to action on Sunday evening, with Maguire needing a drastic all-round improvement. The Scot is one of the best in the business when it comes to grinding opponents down in scrappy frames, and he’ll need to find that form once again if he’s to stand any chance of progression.

Day 1, Morning Session

16 of 16

    Ronnie O'Sullivan 7-2 Robin Hull

    With five world crowns to his name, O'Sullivan couldn't have hoped to begin his title defense in much more confident a manner on Saturday, opening up his best-of-19 frames clash against Robin Hull with a 7-2 lead, heading into this evening's session.

    And O'Sullivan came back to the World Snooker Championship spotlight with aplomb, too, making a 124 total clearance to assume a 2-0 lead very early on in the tournament.

    That was the highest break the champion would muster in his first session, although clearances of 90, 81, 69 and 60 also impressed on his part.

    Hull will have been dreading the sight of his draw upon learning that it would be O'Sullivan he took on in his opening matchup, and it will take a stroke of genius for the Finn to rescue his own hopes from this deficit upon resuming later on Saturday evening.

    Stuart Bingham 5-4 Ken Doherty

    Matters were far tighter between Stuart Bingham and Ken Doherty, who set up an intriguing evening encounter with just a frame separating them after the morning session.

    And it's Doherty who will have been the far more pleased of the two to settle for that scoreline at the break, after having slipped into a 3-0 deficit early on in the matchup.

    That gulf was swiftly eradicated, though, as 1997 world champion came back with some ferocity, albeit never establishing a lead in the head-to-head.

    Prior to this meeting, Bingham noted that he was keen to set up another match with O'Sullivan after being beaten out of last year's quarter-finals by "The Rocket."

    The Echo's Chris Phillips quotes Bingham as saying:

    If I play Ronnie this year then I’m in the final and I would certainly take that right now. Last year I go whooped against him but there’s a long way to go before I even think about playing him again.

    You can’t afford to look too far ahead and all I’m really thinking about is playing Ken Doherty in the first round because if I don’t play well in that one then I won’t be playing else at all.

    Those hopes are at least on course for now thanks to Bingham's work early on against Doherty, but the veteran has shown glimpses of his more prolific form, proving this match is far from done just yet.

    Bingham will be hopeful that, despite the momentum swinging in his opponent's favour he'll be able to resume the action on Sunday with a similarly decisive tack to that with which he started his tournament.