Betfred World Championship: Potting by numbers

Sportradar continues its coverage of the Betfred World Snooker Championship as the competition reaches the end of Round One in Sheffield, England.

Thirty-two players descended on the Steel City’s world famous Crucible Theatre on Saturday and, at the end of Day Six, the field has been halved, leaving just sixteen players on course to walk away with the £425,000 first prize.

Sportradar, the ‘Source Code of Sport’, is World Snooker’s official data partner and has covered over 20,000 matches on the World Snooker Tour since the 2011/12 season and recorded performance data that provides interesting player comparisons including their Average Shot Times (AST).

The 2018 Betfred-sponsored event has so far gone against the trend of previous versions where players with a steadier approach have appeared to enjoy greater success on the sport’s biggest stage. Of the 16 players into round two, eight occupy places in the Top 12 on the current season’s AST list.

Crowd favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a scare in his first match against Stephen Maguire, with the Scot opening a 6-3 lead after the first session, but the five-time champion, nicknamed “The Rocket” started the after-burners in session two and came through by 10-frames-to-7 with the quickest AST of the round at 17.6 seconds.

O’Sullivan was joined in Round Two by Jack Lisowski who is the Tour’s third quickest with a season’s AST of 17.95 seconds and his close friend Judd Trump who is 0.17 seconds slower per shot.

Lisowski, making his second appearance at snooker’s spiritual home settled immediately, making a break of 105 in less than seven minutes. A further century break (128) and four half centuries helped “Jackpot” to close out a 10-7 victory against 2015 champion, Stuart Bingham. Trump is among the bookmaker’s favourites for the title but will need to improve after escaping with a final-frame win against world number 55, Chris Wakelin.

Of the steadier performers to survive the first round cut, Ricky Walden, who played close to his season’s AST of 23.96 seconds, looked impressive in making two century breaks to claim a 10-6 win against “The Belgian Bullet”, Luca Brecel. He was joined by Kyren Wilson (23.67) who also made a pair of hundred breaks to see of the challenge of Wales’ Matthew Stevens.

Defending champion, Mark Selby, was the biggest casualty at the first hurdle after losing to England’s Joe Perry by 10-frames-to-four. Selby is not regarded as one the game’s quicker players but his AST of 27 seconds was four seconds behind his season average of 23.03 seconds. Perry is a class act and outplayed the world number one, making a 50-plus break every 1.63 frames with an AST of 21 seconds.

Former champions Bingham, Neil Robertson, Graeme Dott, and Shaun Murphy also fell by the wayside, leaving only O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams in round two standing in the way of a new name being added to the famous trophy.

Image via World Snooker

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