19.com Northern Ireland Open: Day One Highlights!

Warrior Cuts Hawk’s Advantage

Kyren Wilson got the better of his second session with Barry Hawkins, but still trails 9-7 heading into tomorrow afternoon’s conclusion to their second round tie at the Betfred World Championship.

Hawkins held a 6-2 advantage after this morning’s opening session, but his lead has now been cut to two frames. World number nine Hawkins fired in four centuries in a superb showing this morning. He is known for reserving his very best snooker for the Crucible, having won more matches at the Theatre of Dreams than any other player in the last six years.

Wilson has also shown his pedigree in Sheffield. The Warrior reached his first World Championship semi-final last season and made the quarter-finals in the previous two years. The 27-year-old has already won two ranking titles this season at the Paul Hunter Classic and German Masters.

World number eight Wilson immediately piled the pressure on Londoner Hawkins this evening. He fired in breaks of 95 and 68 to take the opening two frames and cut his deficit to 6-4. However, there was an immediate response from Hawkins, who claimed the next two frames to lead 8-4 at the interval.

When they returned, a century break of 104 saw Wilson move within three at 8-5. Hawkins took a tight 14th frame before Wilson made a sublime break of 131 to edge back into the match at 9-6. He also won the final frame of the evening to set up an intriguing final session. They will play to a conclusion tomorrow from 1pm.

On the other table, Zhou Yuelong came from 7-6 down to lead Ali Carter 9-7 going into their final session.

China’s 21-year-old Zhou is playing in the second round at the Crucible for the first time and, so far, has the edge over experienced Carter, who was runner-up in 2008 and 2012.

The winner of this tie faces Gary Wilson in the last eight, which means that a qualifier is sure to go through to the semi-finals.

Chelmsford’s 39-year-old Carter trailed 5-1 early in the match, but recovered to 5-3 by the end of the first session and won the first frame tonight with a break of 57. Zhou came from 55-0 down in frame ten to win it with a superb 68 clearance and go 6-4 ahead.

There was an embarrassing moment for Carter in the 11th as he cleared the table and headed out of the arena, believing he had won the frame, only to be called back by the marker to play a respotted black as the scores were tied. His blushes turned to smiles when Zhou, attempting a safety shot on the black, went in-off to gift the frame to world number 19 Carter.

The Englishman kept his momentum going with a run of 75 in the 12th, and an excellent 51 clearance in the 13th which put him ahead for the first time in the match at 7-6.

But it was world number 35 Zhou who grasped the momentum at the tail end of the session. He made a 65 clearance for 7-7 then won the next with a run of 66, before getting the better of a fragmented final frame.

They return to the fray at 1pm on Monday.