Kyren Wilson to meet John Higgins and Barry Hawkins set to face Mark Williams in World Championship semi-finals

Higgins against Trump was undoubtedly the tie of the quarter-finals.

Kyren Wilson to meet John Higgins and Barry Hawkins set to face Mark Williams in World Championship semi-finals
Higgins against Trump was a match to remember (photo: Getty Images / Tai Chengzhe)

Impressive breaks, close encounters and surprise results all contributed to a thrilling set of quarter-final fixtures at the World Championship in Sheffield.

Wilson continues to showcase his talent

Kyren Wilson has impressed throughout the season and saw off Masters champion Mark Allen, who defeated him in the final of that tournament, winning nine of the last eleven frames in their Crucible quarter-final.

Allen put the first frame on the board in just ten minutes, following up a 39 break with a 60 as Wilson failed to score. Yet the man from Kettering won successive frames with breaks of 52 and 125 to hit the front for the first time. 

Northern Ireland's Allen made a contribution of 51 in frame four before the break slipped away but Wilson was unable to take advantage of an open table. The next four frames were shared between the pair as Wilson made formulations of 90 and 83, whilst Allen responded with a break of 83 to tie the contest at 4-4.

It was the second session that sparked Wilson into life, winning three frames in a row with breaks of 105 and 90. Allen hit back with a 78 contribution and could have won the following frame when he made 53 before being ousted by Wilson.

A trio of successes followed for the world number nine, making 63 and 92 in the process. Allen had time to take one more consolation frame but Wilson eased over the line with a 13-6 victory.

Ultimately, it was an inability to build substantial breaks and a poor safety success rate of just 69% that cost Allen as Wilson made it through to his first Crucible semi-final.

Trump and Higgins produce epic contest

The tie of the round on paper was Judd Trump against in-form John Higgins and it was certainly the highlight of the quarter-final programme. The two top five players shared the opening pair of frames before Trump edged frame three by just two points as both players made breaks in the 50s.

Trump used that success to power on, winning the next two with breaks of 100 and 71, only for Higgins to respond with two of his own, making 74 in one of those frames in a relatively slow start for the Scotsman.

World number five Trump has struggled through the opening rounds but manufactured a 7-3 lead with a trio of successive successes after formulating breaks of 77, 89 and 64, the latter after Higgins had made 64 himself.

That moment encouraged the 2017 runner-up as five contributions between 51 and 65 over the next five frames gave Higgins the lead at 8-7 for the first time in the contest.

Yet the match descended into a safety battle, a period Trump enjoyed as he went 11-9 ahead and within sight of the last four. A fist pump in frame 20 underpinned that thought for the world number five before Trump was trumped.

Higgins came back to dominate the table with breaks of 75, 72 and 134 putting him within one frame of another Crucible semi-final. A nervy frame 24 played out but it was Trump who managed to show some steel as he forced a final frame decider. 

The Scotsman opened with a break of 43 but Trump was unable to take a couple of half chances as four-time world champion Higgins concluded a classic contest with a further contribution of 41.

Ding stunned by flying Hawk

Ding Junhui had impressed in the quarter-finals but was blown away by an inspired Barry Hawkins after a tight opening to the contest. Breaks of 64, 82 and 50 helped the Hawk fly into a 3-1 lead.

Ding responded with a fluid break of 76 in just eight minutes before losing the sixth frame. The pair then jostled with the following frame, both witnessing chances to manufacture a big score break down. Eventually, China's number one put together a contribution of 67 to move within one frame again.

It was at that point the Hawk began to soar. Two breaks of 60, a 73 and a 76 gave Hawkins four frames without reply in a solid hour of snooker for the world number six.

Ding offered a swift response as he made 102 and 52 to narrow the deficit by two but it didn't take long for Hawkins to take control again. He went on to win five successive frames with contributions of 63, 113 and a match-high 117 to conclude a stunning victory.

Statistically, there was very little to choose between the pair. Hawkins ended the match with a lacklustre long pot success rate of 53% and a lower overall potting percentage than Ding but it was his opportunism that helped him reach a fifth Crucible semi-final.

Williams to bare all?

Mark Williams had threatened to do a press conference "completely naked" after progressing to the final eight but is now only two wins away from setting up a nervy media gathering after defeating Ali Carter 13-8.

Williams set his mark early on against a fired up Carter, winning the opening frame with a break of 135 - the first of four centuries for the Welshman. He made 60 in the second frame but fell short by three points as Carter contributed 63. That sparked the lowest ranked player left in the competition into life as he made 126 to take the lead.

There was very little to choose between the pair and they exchanged two frames apiece over the next four, making one break each in the 80s. The tense nature of the contest continued into frame eight as two re-racks concluded with Williams making 68 to draw level at 4-4.

The former world champion threatened to take control of the contest at the start of the second session, making 114 and 54 as he moved 6-4 ahead, only for Carter to pull a frame back with a break of 85.

Four tight frames then followed, shared again between the pair, with two of those contests separated by four points or less. However, at 8-7, Williams exploded into life. Two breaks of 113 and an 83 helped the Welshman win five of the last six frames, despite Carter making two half-centuries.