World Snooker Championship 2020 Day Five preview and order of play: Remaining First Round ties commence at The Crucible
The final three First Round matches get underway at the World Snooker Championship on Tuesday, while two former champions aim to avoid potential banana skins.
Jack Lisowski became only the second seeded player to bow out at the first hurdle of this year’s show-piece on Monday, joining David Gilbert through the Crucible exit door.
Shaun Murphy has work to do if he is to avoid becoming the latest big name to join them, with the 2005 World Champion trailing Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6-3 overnight.
Saengkham, making only his second Crucible appearance, opened up a 4-1 lead with breaks of 64, 67 and 59 before Murphy hit back with successive breaks of 75 and 101.
Saengkham, though, took the next two frames to put himself in a strong position at the close of play and give Murphy much to think about heading into their conclusion from 10am.
As well as his triumph 15 years ago, Murphy has reached a further two Crucible finals, finishing runner-up in 2009 and 2015, and has enjoyed a fine season which has seen him claim two ranking titles.
The reigning China Championship and Welsh Open champion, however, is out to improve on a patchy recent record in Sheffield which has seen him suffer two First Round and two Second Round exits in his last four visits.
Meanwhile, three-time World Champion Mark Selby aims to produce an improved display to shrug off the challenge of plucky debutant Jordan Brown.
The former world number one battled his way into a 5-4 lead with a 119 clearance along the way, but struggled for much the session – which lasted four and a half hours.
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.
Brown joins an elite group of Northern Irishmen to have reached this competition, having defeated Hossein Vafaei and Ryan Day with two impressive displays in the qualifying rounds.
Brown is a regular practice partner of compatriot Mark Allen – who kicks off his latest Crucible campaign with a clash against debutant Jamie Clarke.
Allen is up at a career-high world ranking of fourth, having finished runner-up in this season’s Tour Championship, while also reaching a further four ranking Semi-Finals.
The Crucible, however, has traditionally not been a happy hunting ground for ‘The Pistol’ – who has failed to surpass the Second Round stage in nine of his 13 previous attempts.
Semi-finalist in 2009, the Ulsterman will look to utilise his vast experience against the Welsh newcomer – who turned professional only two years ago.
World number 89 Clarke is the lowest-ranked player in the tournament and is out to pull off a huge upset, following on from his wins over Mitchell Mann, Joe Perry and Sunny Akani in the qualifiers.
Clarke was a semi-finalist in the 2019 Shoot-Out but has suffered First Round exits in six of his eight ranking tournament appearances this season.
The afternoon session sees Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire start out against former German Masters champion Martin Gould.
The 2004 UK Champion produced some of the best form of his career to end a seven-year wait for ranking silverware last month and will look to pick up from where he left off.
Maguire is making his 17th consecutive Crucible appearance and is a two-time semi-finalist, most recently back in 2012.
He starts out against a rejuvenated Gould – the former world number 11 who came through the qualifiers last week to reach his tenth World Championship.
The Pinner Potter, however, has lost in the opening round in his last six visits to The Crucible but interestingly has won all five of his previous meetings with Maguire.
The final First Round tie to get underway sees 2013 world finalist Barry Hawkins take on Swiss debutant Alexander Ursenbacher.
Hawkins boasts a superb record in Sheffield, having reached four Semi-Finals and a final since 2013 – when he was denied glory by Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The three-time ranking event winner, however, has struggled to hit the heights this season, reaching just two ranking Quarter-Finals and dropping to world number 15 as a result.
He will be wary of the threat posed by Ursenbacher, who defeated 2019 Crucible semi-finalist Gary Wilson on his way to securing a dream debut via the qualifying rounds.
Ursenbacher, 24, is a former English Open semi-finalist and also reached the Last Eight of this season’s Northern Ireland Open.
The action gets underway from 10am BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 19 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.
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World Snooker Championship 2020 Schedule
*Indicates final session
Tuesday August 4
Mark Allen v Jamie Clarke
Shaun Murphy (3-6) Noppon Saengkham*
Stephen Maguire v Martin Gould
Mark Selby (5-4) Jordan Brown*
Mark Allen v Jamie Clarke*
Barry Hawkins v Alexander Ursenbacher