Mark Williams Through to Face Stuart Bingham

The Welshman looked to be in a spot of bother but won the last seven frames of his first-round encounter.

Mark Williams progressed to the last 16 of the 2020 World Snooker Championship after a 10-5 triumph over Alan McManus on Saturday.

A three-time champion, Williams had to dig deep in order to overcome his experienced opponent in the first round in Sheffield.

At 49, qualifier McManus became the oldest player to compete at the Crucible since Steve Davis ten years ago.

But the former semi-finalist couldn’t sustain the high level of play that he produced in the opening session on Friday.

After losing the first two frames, McManus reeled off five out of the following six frames to establish a 5-3 advantage, but Williams crucially won the last to trail by just one frame overnight.

The second session was one-way traffic thereafter as the 45 year-old capitalised on the Scot’s mistakes to first draw level, and then subsequently pull away for what turned out to be a rather comfortable victory.

Mark Williams will face Stuart Bingham for a place in the quarter-finals after the latter held off debutant Ashley Carty’s late revival for a 10-7 success.

Elsewhere on the second day, Ding Junhui just about lived to fight another day in this year’s rescheduled event.

The Chinese number one was inconsistent – interchanging heavy break-building with mundane errors throughout his fixture with Mark King – but eventually got over the winning line with a tense 10-9 scoreline.

Ding compiled a hat-trick of century breaks and at times looked good in among the balls, although he’ll likely have to improve if he wants to advance further in the competition.

In Ding’s defense, the UK champion’s preparations weren’t ideal as he was forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon returning to Sheffield from China last month.

The 33 year-old, a finalist in 2016, could meet Ronnie O’Sullivan in the next round if the “Rocket” negotiates his initial task of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the £2.4 million event.

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Meanwhile, two other encounters reached their half-way points as the World Championship reverted back to being played behind closed doors.

Last year’s runner-up John Higgins won four frames on the bounce to lead Matthew Stevens 6-3, while 12th seed David Gilbert is 5-4 down on Kurt Maflin.

Those ties conclude on Sunday, with O’Sullivan and world number two Neil Robertson among the others set to enter the fray.

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