The 2021 Betfred World Snooker Championship is hotting up nicely as we head into the quarter-finals with top seeds dominating the last-eight line-up.
Only Stuart Bingham, who this year had to qualify for the latter stages of the 2021 event has made it through to the last eight.
Bingham, who won in 2015, knows the score and in the 2015 edition, he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy to lift the title.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was knocked out of this year’s edition by the underdog Anthony McGill who put on a terrific display to narrowly pip O’Sullivan to the last eight.
Now favourite Judd Trump, Mark Selby, and the 2018 World Champion Mark Williams are safely through to the last eight stages along with Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson.
It’s a sobering thought that favourite Judd Trump could be on course to equal his six ranking event titles he won last season after lifting the World title in 2019.
It could be even more sobering to think that Australian Neil Robertson, winner of the UK Championship this season, could lift the World title 11 years after his first.
And, of course, what a story it would be if the rejuvenated Mark Williams could lift another World title in the space of three years after winning his third in 2018 – 15 years after his second. He will have to get past an in-form Mark Selby first.
For the time being, Stephen Hendry, who made a return to the World stage in this year’s World Championship qualifiers, will be happy in the knowledge his seven World titles will not be equaled by Ronnie O’Sullivan- for another year.
Stuart Bingham told WST:
“Coming through the qualifiers has definitely helped me. In the first match I was confident. Normally being in the 16 you have to wait three or four weeks between the end of the season and the World Championship. Going there and getting the confidence by winning matches, you can’t buy that. I was ready more or less from the first ball in round one,” said 44-year-old Bingham.
“I’m not sure what my record is with Anthony. I remember all the losses and I’m not sure if I have actually beat him. He is a class act. He’s happy in himself with the way he is playing. It was a great last two frames to get over the line against Ronnie, so I’m expecting a tough game.