World Championship 2019: Mark Williams & Mark Selby trail in second-round games

Snooker
World Championship 2019: Mark Williams & Mark Selby trail in second-round games

Reigning champion Mark Williams and fellow three-time winner Mark Selby are both in danger of going out in the World Championship second round.

Welshman Williams trails David Gilbert 5-3 after being outplayed by the world number 16 in a high-quality first session of their best-of-25 tie.

Gilbert scored four breaks of more than 50 in taking a two-frame lead.

Selby recovered from 5-3 down to lead Gary Wilson 7-6, only for the world number 32 to rally for a 9-7 advantage.

While Williams faces a tough task, the more immediate concern is for the 2014, 2016 and 2017 champion Selby, who is just four frames from a shock exit.

English qualifier Wilson, 33, played without nerves on his second Crucible appearance and showed he has the attacking game and temperament to match the grit and fighting qualities so prevalent in his 10-9 first-round win over Luca Brecel.

World number two Selby began impressively, taking the first frame of the second session with a 64 and pouncing on a Wilson error to compile a brilliant 84 clearance that levelled the match at 5-5.

The Wallsend potter clinched frame 11 after a fascinating tactical tussle, but Selby was playing himself into form after a poor season.

A brilliantly constructed 120 clearance that started with a glorious long red and was a lesson in touch and positional play was followed by a 72.

But Wilson responded with magnificent breaks of 97, 115 and 78, taking his tally of 50-plus scores to eight and earning a two-frame lead going into Saturday's final session.

Two breaks of 61 saw Gilbert, 37, make an impressive start and settle any nerves in the opening session of his last-16 tie against world number three Williams.

A wonderful Williams response brought a 105 break full of delicate touch and some trademark long potting.

Gilbert, who has reached two ranking event finals in the best season of his career, restored the two-frame advantage, only to be pegged back to 3-3.

But another two-frame burst saw the Tamworth cueman lead heading into Saturday's deciding two sessions, with a quarter-final place against either Barry Hawkins or Kyren Wilson up for grabs.

Alan McManus, two-time World Championship semi-finalist

Gary has been scoring heavily and competing on the tactical side. He looks completely at ease with the surrounding, pressure, and his opponent.

The final session will be a corker. Gary will have this evening to think about the magnitude of what he might achieve tomorrow when he could knock out the three-time champion.

For my money, he is the favourite. It's been wonderful stuff; he has played brilliantly. Mark has it all to do.

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