Snooker World Championships: Halfway to the Crucible

All 32 hopefuls began their third qualifying round matches on Tuesday, as they played the first half of their games that could take them to the Crucible next weekend.

Snooker World Championships: Halfway to the Crucible
Ding Junhui is two frames away from making the Crucible (photo: Getty Images)

Ding Junhui, Ali Carter and Alan McManus all have one foot in the Snooker World Championships as they recorded emphatic first session leads over their respective opponents on the first day of the third qualifying round.

Ding in terrific form

World number 17 Ding Junhui was unfortunate to miss out on automatic qualification due to Stephen Maguire's terrific China Open campaign, but the man from China has shown excellent form at Ponds Forge to show he is still a contender. With an 8-1 lead over veteran Nigel Bond, including a 137 break midway through the session, Ding Junhui has won 28 frames and lost just six this week.

Ali Carter leads Dominic Dale by the same scoreline, as he made six breaks over 50. Carter has experienced the World Championship final itself, but has not taken the step to winning the title.

Alan McManus is nearly in just as good a position with a 7-2 advantage over Jimmy Robertson, although the Scotsman pergolas has not played aswel as the scoreline suggests.

Unstoppable Ebdon and unlucky Un-Nooh

The man in form at this stage in qualifying is Peter Ebdon. The former World Champion showed no signs of fatigue after closing out his second qualifying round victory in the early hours of the morning, producing a significant lead over Ian Burns. At one stage Ebdon had won 13 frames in a row, including the last seven in the second qualifying round, and proved his stamina with a fourth frame victory that lasted over an hour.

If you saw a player had made the current tournament high break of 144 and only missed out on a maximum in a previous frame when the final black would not drop, you would probably expect that player to be leading. Unfortunately that is not the case for Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who finds himself 6-3 down to Anthony McGill.

Robbie Williams, Michael Holt and David Gilbert look set to qualify with 6-3 leads over Anthony Hamilton, Mark King and Jack Lisowski, but a number of games are firmly in the balance on a crucial final day of qualifying.

A number of players will not be sleeping easy tonight

Liang Wenbo, Ryan Day and Zhou Yuelong have it all to do against their respective lower ranked opponents Xiao Guodong, Ken Doherty and Zhang Anda, all of which trail 5-4 at the halfway stage.

Graeme Dott, another former World Champion, Kyren Wilson, Robert Milkins, Sam Baird and Dechawat Poomjaeng are all favourites to progress in their matches, but only hold slender 5-4 advantages going into Wednesday's deciders.