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World Snooker Championship 2020 Day Seven preview and order of play: Trump resumes title defence

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Martin Gould thrashes Stephen Maguire to complete Last 16 line-up at the World Snooker Championship

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John Higgins produces majestic maximum break at the World Snooker Championship

World number one Judd Trump (Photo by PA Images)

Judd Trump continues the defence of his world title when he kicks off his Second Round quest on Thursday as one of four World Champions in action at The Crucible.

Trump is bidding to become the man to end the infamous ‘Crucible curse’ which has seen no first-time champion retain this crown since the event moved to the venue in 1977.

The world number one has picked up a record six ranking titles this season in 13 tournament appearances and is looking to round it off in dream fashion.

He began with a hard-fought 10-8 victory over Tom Ford on the opening day of the tournament and now faces another tricky test against emerging force Yan Bingtao.

Yan, seeded for the first time at this year’s World Championship, recorded his first win by overcoming Elliot Slessor 10-7 despite a spirited fightback from the debutant.

The 20-year-old claimed his first ranking title at the 2019 Riga Masters and was denied a second by Trump when the pair met in the final of the Players Championship in early March.

Meanwhile, three-time champion Mark Selby aims to go through the gears and utilise his vast experience to end the run of Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

Selby has been the most successful player in the tournament over the past decade, claiming glory in three of his last six World Championship appearances.

The former world number one, however, has suffered First and Second round exits in his last two outings to the sport’s spiritual home but returned on the back of a fine season which has seen him claim two ranking titles.

He was below his best in Round One but dug deep in trademark fashion to fend off the challenge of debutant Jordan Brown and prevail 10-6.

Noppon became only the third Thai player to win a match at The Crucible when he pulled off arguably the shock of the round by thrashing 2005 champion Shaun Murphy 10-4.

The unflappable cueist now faces the toughest test of his career over three sessions against the former world number one as he looks to record only a second head-to-head win in ten attempts.

Elsewhere, John Higgins aims to overturn a 5-3 deficit to in-form Kurt Maflin when the duo play their fixture to a finish in the morning and evening sessions.

Maflin, who knocked out 2019 semi-finalist David Gilbert in Round One, continued his impressive run of form to win five of the last six frames of the first session.

Higgins, a stalwart of this event and the sport in general, is bidding to reach his fourth consecutive Crucible final and claim that elusive fourth world title.

Mark Williams also holds a two-frame lead overnight after moving 5-3 up on fellow former World Champion Stuart Bingham.

Bingham led 2-1 before missing the final black in frame four, allowing Williams to force a re-spot.

That proved to be a pivotal moment as Williams eventually potted the re-spotted black to level up, before firing in consecutive breaks of 97 and 90 to lead 5-2.

Bingham, though, dug deep to produce a break of 57 in frame eight to set up an intriguing second session in the afternoon.

The action gets underway from 10am BST, with Second Round matches to be contested over the best of 25 frames.

The first session of each match will consist of a maximum of nine frames, before being played to a finish in the second session.


World Snooker Championship 2020 Schedule

*Indicates final session

Thursday August 6

Second Round

19 John Higgins (3-5) Kurt Maflin
23 Mark Selby v Noppon Saengkham

17 Judd Trump v Yan Bingtao
21 Mark Williams (5-3) Stuart Bingham

19 John Higgins v Kurt Maflin*
23 Mark Selby v Noppon Saengkham