Neil Robertson, Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson secured their spot in the Quarter-Finals of the 2021 World Snooker Championship at The Crucible on Saturday.
Day Eight in Sheffield saw two former World Champions and a beaten world finalist progress to the Last Eight of the sport’s show-piece following impressive displays.
Reigning UK Champion Neil Robertson continued his bid for a first world title triumph since 2010 with a 13-9 victory over Jack Lisowski.
Robertson carried a 9-7 lead over Lisowski going into their final session and was imperious in the early stages on Saturday morning as he fired in breaks of 128 and 87 to move four clear.
Lisowski overturned a 52 break from the Australian to seal frame 19, but a break of 70 in the next moved Robertson 12-8 in front at the interval.
Lisowski rallied again with a break of 71, but Robertson sealed the deal in style with a clinical contribution of 90.
“I should have made six or seven tons,” admitted Robertson. “I had a little bit of luck with a couple of flukes but made them count.
“At times Jack threw everything at me. I was impressed with his patience and safety and if he had been playing someone who wasn’t playing as well as me then he would probably have gone through.
“I am certainly good enough to win the event but it is about keeping level-headed. The key is turning good sessions into great sessions or bad sessions into good sessions.”
Mark Williams remain in contention for a fourth Crucible crown after a commanding 13-7 victory over ‘Class of 92’ rival John Higgins.
Williams, who defeated Higgins in the 2018 world final, led 5-3 at the close of play in their opening session and took five of the next eight frames to extend his advantage to 10-6.
A burst of five consecutive frames for the Welshman saw him produce breaks of 108, 63 and 80 before Higgins hit back with superb breaks of 113, 107 and 82 to clinch the final three frames of the second session.
Williams, however, got back on track by taking the first frame of the evening with a break of 76, and though Higgins pegged back again, successive breaks of 85 and 77 moved the three-time champion safely over the line.
“I played really well all the way through,” Williams told BBC Sport. “I potted well, some of the long pots were a bit kamikaze but most of them went in and that’s how I have been playing.
“I put him under pressure from the off. He missed a few and then he let his arm go this morning and potted everything so I knew he could come back.
“But I also knew I was playing well. I’m just enjoying my snooker, I’m playing the kind of game I did 20 years ago and am loving every minute of it.”
Kyren Wilson continued his terrific run of consistency at The Crucible by knocking out Barry Hawkins 13-10 to reach his sixth consecutive Quarter-Final.
Wilson, last year’s beaten finalist, held a 9-7 lead going into their final session but it was Hawkins who took the next two frames with breaks of 107 and 53 to level the match.
Wilson regained a two-frame advantage by winning frames 19 and 20 before Hawkins remained in close order with a break of 78 to trail just 11-10.
Wilson, though, turned on the style at the business end of the contest and sealed his progress with prolific breaks of 90 and 102.
“I was slow out of the traps,” admitted Wilson. “You know what to expect from Barry, he’s got a great record here.
“I’m pleased with the way I finished it off, that’s the most pleasing thing.
“It’s great to score centuries early on and in the middle of a match but even better to do it under pressure at the end.”
Elsewhere, three-time World Champion Mark Selby opened up a healthy 6-2 lead over Mark Allen at the close of play in their opening session.
Selby took the opening two frames with high breaks of 68 and 96 before Allen hit back to parity with a top break of 67.
Selby, though, dominated from there on in with a run of four consecutive frames with the aid of breaks of 61, 134 and 63 to move four clear overnight.
Shaun Murphy set a new tournament high break target of 144 on his way to establishing a 6-2 lead over Masters Champion Yan Bingtao.
Murphy, the 2005 World Champion, set his stall out in style with a break of 109 in the opening frame, and after doubling his lead, powered in a magnificent clearance of 144 to move in line for the £15,000 high break prize.
Yan got off the mark in frame four thanks to a break of 88, but only for Murphy to reel off three frames in a row to move 6-1 ahead.
The Chinese ace, however, ended the session strongly by compiling a break of 101 to reduce the deficit to four overnight.
World Snooker Championship 2021 Day Eight Scores
Saturday April 24
Neil Robertson 13-9 Jack Lisowski (R)
Mark Allen 2-6 Mark Selby (L)
Barry Hawkins 10-13 Kyren Wilson
John Higgins 7-13 Mark Williams (R)
Shaun Murphy 6-2 Yan Bingtao (L)