Three is certainly the magic number at the Betfred World Snooker Championship

The inside track, with Betfred TV’s Matt Hulmes

As we settle down to enjoy day three at a crowd-less Crucible, Three time World Champion Mark Williams (above) became the third, erm, World Champion, to progress to the second round after a fantastic evening session which saw him rattle off six successive frames to defeat Alan McManus.

Williams considered retirement and gave a poignant interview after his win when telling Rob Walker he has decided he will play until he is fifty.

The 2000, 2003 and 2018 World Champion said “I made that decision (to carry on playing) and it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I was strongly considering packing it in. I’m excited to see where I can be over the next five years.” The Welshman will face another former World Champ in round two in Stuart Bingham.

2016 runner-up Ding Junhui booked his place in the last 16 with a narrow 10-9 success versus Mark King. After the game, the Chinese star spoke about the difficulties of his tournament preparation.

Ding said “I spent fourteen days in quarantine and just eight or nine days to get ready for the World Championship. I’m not sure if I can play good or not, but I just try to play good.

‘Enter the Dragon’ will play either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in round two and said, “In the second round I’m looking to improve my game again and looking forward to wining whoever I play.”

So three from three World Champions are already through, and two more will either join them or be sent packing on Sunday.

John Higgins, runner-up for the last three years but a winner on four occasions, resumes 6-3 up against Matthew Stevens while Neil Robertson, the 2010 ruler of the World, is involved in a tense battle with Liang Wenbo. The Aussie leads that 5-4 going into the evening session.

Anyway, I’m off to watch Ronnie and Thepchiaya fly around the table and serve up a rapid-fire Crucible Classic between the two fastest players on tour. Enjoy!

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