Round One draws to a close at the 2022 World Snooker Championship on Thursday as the Second Round commences at The Crucible.
The opening five days of the sport’s show-piece event in Sheffield have provided enthralling drama and high quality, with 12 of the top 16 seeds having safely rubber-stamped their place in the Second Round so far.
The final two places in the Last 16 are up for grabs on Day Six, with both remaining ties featuring 6-3 scorelines at the halfway stage.
Judd Trump, the 2019 World Champion, looks to wrap up a place in Round Two by ending the hopes of debutant Hossein Vafaei.
Champion of Champions and Turkish Masters winner Trump has opened up a 6-3 advantage over the reigning Shoot Out champion with high breaks of 110 and 73 on Wednesday.
Trump has not lost in the opening round at The Crucible since 2017 and appeared firmly in control of the contest in the first session.
Vafaei is making history as the first Iranian player to appear in the World Champion and recovered from a nervy start by reeling off three consecutive frames from 3-0 down to level the match.
With Trump having hit back with three frames in a row to end the session, ‘The Prince of Persia’ now has a mountain to climb if he is to pull off a famous upset.
The afternoon session features the conclusion of the tie between number 11 seed Luca Brecel and Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.
Saengkham enjoyed a dominant start to the match on Wednesday night, storming into a 6-1 lead before Brecel took the next two frames to grab himself a lifeline.
Saengkham is bidding to reach the Last 16 here for the second time in three years and will look to continue his fine scoring form from the first session which saw him make two century breaks.
Brecel, who made his Crucible debut ten years ago as a 17-year-old, has failed to win a match at this famous venue in four attempts and has work to do if he is to avoid that unwanted statistic being extended.
The opening Last 16 tie to get under way features a fascinating all-Welsh clash between three-time World Champion Mark Williams and his 20-year-old protégé Jackson Page.
Williams produced one of the stand-out performances of the First Round to thrash Michael White 10-3 with the aid of four centuries.
The number eight seed, who made his Crucible debut 25 years ago, is now vying to reach the Quarter-Finals for the third year in a row and the fifth time in his last six appearances.
Page, the lowest ranked player in the event, enjoyed a dream debut by knocking out 2013 world finalist Barry Hawkins 10-7 to set up a meeting with his regular practice and travel partner.
Their close friendship will be put to one side over the next few days as the youngster aims to register his first competitive win over his mentor and continue his fairy-tale run.
The evening session sees reigning UK Champion and German Masters winner Zhao Xintong take on four-time Crucible semi-finalist Stephen Maguire.
Zhao, appearing in only his second World Championship, recorded his first win at the home of snooker by thrashing Jamie Clarke 10-2 in the most one-sided tie so far.
The fearless youngster is aiming to create history by becoming China’s first World Snooker Champion and will be keen to pick up from where he left off earlier in the week.
Maguire, meanwhile, is one of only two qualifiers to have come through the opening round so far, having dispatched 2005 World Champion and last year’s beaten finalist Shaun Murphy 10-8.
The 2020 Tour Championship winner, who has dropped to 40th in the world rankings, will be hoping to utilise his vast experience in an attempt to reach a seventh Crucible Quarter-Final.
Play gets underway at 10am BST, with First Round matches contested over the best of 19 frames and Second Round ties best of 25 frames at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
World Snooker Championship 2022 Day Six Schedule
*Indicates final session
Thursday April 21
Round One / Last 16
11* Luca Brecel (3-6) Noppon Saengkham
18 Jackson Page v Mark Williams (L16)
8* Judd Trump (6-3) Hossein Vafaei
23* Zhao Xintong v Stephen Maguire (L16)