World Snooker Championship: Mark Williams knocked out by Si Jiahui in last-frame thriller as seeds keep tumbling | Snooker News

Three-time world champion Mark Williams beaten 10-9 by 2023 semi-finalist Si Jiahui at the Crucible; Welshman’s exit means six seeds have now fallen in the first round so far; Ronnie O’Sullivan begins bid for eighth title against Jackson Page on Wednesday afternoon

Last Updated: 23/04/24 6:38pm

Mark Williams lost 10-9 to Si Jiahui in the first round of the World Snooker Championship

Mark Williams lost 10-9 to Si Jiahui in the first round of the World Snooker Championship

Mark Williams’ quest for a fourth World Snooker Championship title ended in the first round as he lost a last-frame thriller to 2023 semi-finalist Si Jiahui.

Sixth seed Williams – world champion in 2000, 2003 and 2018 – led 5-4 after Monday’s opening session but then found himself 8-5 down as Si reeled off four frames in a row on Tuesday afternoon.

The 49-year-old then recovered from 9-7 down to force a decider but his Chinese opponent, 21, knocked in a nerveless break of 77 in the 19th frame to secure a second-round meeting with fellow qualifier Jak Jones.

Si lost to Luca Brecel in the 2023 semi-finals in Sheffield

Si lost to Luca Brecel in the 2023 semi-finals in Sheffield

Williams’ exit takes the number of seeds eliminated in the first round to six, with defending champion Luca Brecel, four-time winner Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Gary Wilson and Zhang Anda also dispatched.

O’Sullivan plays first match on Wednesday afternoon

Williams was hoping to become the oldest champion in the tournament’s history, a record held by Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was 46 years and 148 days when he won the most recent of his seven Crucible trophies in 2022.

O’Sullivan begins his bid for an outright record eighth world title against Jackson Page at 2.30pm on Wednesday, with that match then concluding from 1pm the following day.

Jak Jones is Si's second-round opponent this year after he beat 11th seed Zhang Anda at the weekend

Jak Jones is Si’s second-round opponent this year after he beat 11th seed Zhang Anda at the weekend

Si led Luca Brecel 14-5 in last year’s semi-final, only to lose the match 17-15 as Brecel won 12 of the next 13 frames in a Crucible-record comeback.

Si’s clash with Williams was viewed as one of the ties of the first round, with Williams winning the previous tournament on the calendar, the Tour Championship in Manchester.

Williams defeated Judd Trump, Mark Allen and O’Sullivan – the top three players in the world rankings – in successive matches to claim his second ranking title of the season, after the British Open in Cheltenham in October.

But he could not get past SI in Sheffield as his opponent saved his highest break of the match for when it mattered most.

Dominic Dale is playing at The Crucible for the first time in 10 years

Dominic Dale is playing at The Crucible for the first time in 10 years

What else happened on Tuesday?

Elsewhere, 2020 finalist Kyren Wilson surged into an 8-1 lead over Dominic Dale.

Dale, who is the oldest player at this year’s competition at the age of 52 and playing at the Crucible for the first time in 10 years, had one moment to cheer against Wilson – a sublime 120 clearance.

World No 17 Jack Liswoski leads seventh seed and 2016 finalist Ding Junhui 5-4, while Mark Allen romped into a 7-2 advantage over Robbie Williams.

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