World Snooker Championship 2013 - Welshman White dispatches Williams
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Wales's Michael White became the youngest person to make a century break (a 105) at the age of 9 and showed huge promise when he joined the pro tour in 2007 at the tender age of 15.
He has had mixed results in previous years but qualified for three other venues (including the UK Championship) this season and today showed what he was truly capable of as he reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time, beating two-times world champion Mark Williams 10-6 at the Betfair World Snooker Championship in the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
What was symbolised as a 'changing of the guard' with countryman Williams faltering in recent years, White (no reltation to Jimmy) showed no fear on snooker's biggest stage and raced to a 6-3 first session lead with runs of 87, 55, 67 and 57 before finishing up today with further breaks of 65, 72, 90 and a fine 96 in the final frame to record the biggest victory of his career so far.
Michael White at the table against Mark Williams
"It is difficult to take it all in at the moment," said White, who won two matches to qualify for the Crucible. "It is an unbelievable place to come and I was really pleased with the way I coped with it all out there."
"It is just something that you dream all your life for. So for me to actually do it, I cannot put it into words. I will be back on the practice table tomorrow and hopefully if I can put in another performance like that who knows where I can go in this tournament."
It wasn't to be a win for another Crucible debutant today as fellow young prospect Jack Lisowski showed promise in the first session against Australian Open champion Barry Hawkins, making a 82 in the first frame and a further break of 100 to reduce the gap to only 3-2 behind.
However from then on and in today's second session it would only be one way traffic for Dartford's Hawkins as he made breaks of 97, 100, 66 and 68 before winning three close frames to take a comfortable 10-3 victory.
"I put Jack under pressure throughout the match. My safety was very good and I was creating lots of chances," said Hawkins. "I knew I had to play like that because Jack is a great potter and if he starts knocking all those long balls in then he can reel off frames in next to no time."
After reaching the China Open quarter-finals and generally having a decent season, Lisowski will no doubt be full of confidence and i'm sure that along with Michael White we will be seeing a lot of these boys in the years to come.
It was mixed fortunes for four other former world champions at the Crucible today. Probably the least happiest of them all would be Shanghai Masters winner John Higgins who saw a 2-0 lead pegged back to a 3-6 deficit by experienced cueman Mark Davis.
After taking the first two frames, four-times winner of the famous world trophy Higgins just couldn't get any momentum and apart from a break of 51 in frame 6, it was Sussex's Davis doing all the scoring, making breaks of 68, 85, 69, 96 and a 64 to take a commanding 6-3 lead going in to tomorrow's final session.
Davis beat Higgins in the recent UK Championship quarter-finals even with the Scot making a maximum break. He will no doubt fancy his chances to reach the last 16 at the Crucible for the first time since 2010 and get himself back in to the game's elite top 16.
Graeme Dott had to beat 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon in 2006's epic Crucible final which finished long past midnight, and the Scot was probably not best thrilled to draw him again in this year's tournament first round.
As expected, the match was a rather turgid affair with Dott the only one being able to make any sizable breaks (60, 52, 55 & 70). Eventually it had to be stopped one frame early due to slow play, however i'm sure that Dott will be thrilled to be taking a 6-2 lead going in to it's conclusion tomorrow.
The winner of that match plays the 2005 champion Shaun Murphy who was expected to be ran closer by Shootout and Championship League winner Martin Gould. However it was the more experienced man who came out on top as 'Magician' Murphy worked his magic to come out a clear 10-5 winner.
Gould kept himself in contention at the end of the first session, by only trailing Murphy 5-4. But when they resumed tonight it was all one-way traffic for the man from Harlow who recorded runs of 95, 78, 106 & 95 to see him through comfortably.
"It was pleasing to see that the hard work that has been put in for this tournament came out just when I needed it," said 30-year-old Murphy, who hasn't lifted a trophy since the 2011 Brazil Masters. "I knew that if I got my chances I would be able to score and thankfully I showed that at the end."
Click here for the updated draw from the Betfair Word Snooker Championship.