Carter has reached the Crucible final twice, both times losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ali Carter enjoyed a triumphant return to the Crucible with a 10-5 win over Alan McManus, then insisted he has only one objective at the Betfred World Championship: to lift the trophy.
Carter received a warm reception from fans as he played his first match at the Crucible since a successful battle against a cancerous tumour on his lung, which was diagnosed last May. The Chelmsford cueman returned to the tour in November and has found it tough to regain form, winning just five matches in the main ranking events in the past six months.
But he has often been inspired by Sheffield – reaching the final in 2008 and 2012 – and produced an impressive display against McManus to set up a last 16 meeting with Neil Robertson.
He led 6-3 overnight and added the four frames he needed today with top breaks of 52, 53, 69 and 76.
“I didn’t feel as if I played great, but I competed in all departments and won quite convincingly in the end,” said Carter, who had his seeding position frozen at number 13 while absent from the tour with illness, ensuring he would not have to qualify for the Crucible.
I have some good memories here – the only thing I have left to do is win it, and that’s what I’m here to do.
“This event is unique. Alan has been playing all season and he’s match sharp, whereas I’ve hardly played, but here it’s a different pressure and it’s where I enjoy playing the most.
“It’s brilliant to be back playing here, but I was just focussed on winning the match. I didn’t want to get a great reception and then play like an idiot and go home.”
Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan eased into a 7-2 lead over Craig Steadman and needs just three frames to reach the second round when they resume tomorrow morning.
O’Sullivan potted 13 reds with blacks in the opening frame before missing a difficult 14th red. A run of 61 helped put the world number two 2-0 up. Crucible debutant Steadman pulled one back with a 71 before O’Sullivan won the next for 3-1.
The Rocket extended his lead by clearing from yellow to black in frame five, then Steadman cleared with 34 in the sixth for 4-2. O’Sullivan played part of that frame in his socks, having taken his shoes off, then went backstage to borrow a pair of shoes from tournament director Mike Ganley.
The change of footwear seemed to work as he claimed the last three frames of the session. A run of 59 helped O’Sullivan go 5-2 ahead, then he took advantage of a missed black from Steadman on 55 in the eighth. And UK Champion O’Sullivan knocked in 54 and 75 in the last of the session to establish a commanding lead.
O’Sullivan played in his socks for much of the sixth frame