World Championship: Record-breaking Yan Bingtao looking to create more Crucible history

Yan Bingtao has reached the Betfred World Championship quarter-finals. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Yan Bingtao has reached the Betfred World Championship quarter-finals. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Yan Bingtao has reached the Betfred World Championship quarter-finals. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Yan Bingtao has already created history at the Betfred World Championship but has his sights on Crucible glory.

The 22-year-old Chinese potter - who lives in Sheffield and trains at the city’s Victoria’s Academy - was involved in the longest frame in 45 years of playing snooker at the Crucible, as he knocked out defending champion Mark Selby 13-10.

The mammoth frame lasted 85 minutes and 22 seconds, as Yan finally crawled over the finish line to edge 12-10 in front, and the sealed victory with a 112 clearance. It eclipsed the previous record of 79 and a half minutes set by Gary Wilson and Luca Brecel in 2019.

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It was the type of performance - full of grit, graft and patience - which has taken Selby to four Crucible titles, and should fill Yan with confidence heading into the second week in his adopted hometown.

Yan - who won last year’s Masters - now faces Welshman Mark Williams on Tuesday in the quarter-finals, looking to become the first Chinese player to win the world title.

“It’s an incredible win, I can’t believe I have beaten Mark Selby, the defending champion, in a best-of-25 match,” said world No 16 Yan.

“It was very difficult today. It was a long match, there was a lot of safety. During the longest frame I was very tired. Mark missed the chance to make it 11-11.

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“In the last frame I told myself I just need one more chance. I concentrated on every pot.

“Mark Williams is looking very strong and confident. But I’m the same. I can give him trouble and pressure.”

This is Yan’s first appearance in the Crucible quarter-finals, having made his bow in Sheffield back in 2017 as a 17-year-old. Two years earlier, he won the World Cup, aged 15, for China’s B Team alongside Zhou Yuelong.

“All credit to Yan because he showed what a good player he is, he has a fantastic all round game,” said Selby. “I felt as though I scored better than him during the match, but there were five or six scrappy frames and he won all of them. He is a very clever player and puts you in a lot of trouble with his safety.”

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Bad eyesight and a borrowed cue will not stop Stephen Maguire fancying his chances when he goes head-to-head with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old has already guaranteed £50,000 by reaching the last eight and plans to spend a slice of his winnings on improving his vision and reimbursing the friend whose cue he borrowed after a below-par first-round win over Shaun Murphy.

Maguire, who revealed he had swapped cues after brushing aside Zhao Xintong – who trains with Yan in Sheffield – in the last 16, said: “I need to get my eyes tested after the tournament - at the moment I feel like I’m playing from memory.

“I had laser eye surgery when I was 30 and the girl told me it would last 10 years, so hopefully I will be able to see a wee bit of difference if it’s possible to get it changed.”

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Maguire is a two-time Crucible semi-finalist but has not reached the one-table set-up since 2012, when he was surprisingly beaten by 13th seed Ali Carter, a result the Scot considers to be one of his greatest regrets.

“I’d love to play in the one-table set-up again,” added Maguire. “I didn’t do myself justice the last time.

“It annoys me to this day that I went in and I don’t know who I thought I was to give Ali Carter no respect, and I paid for it,” he added.

Neil Robertson continued to fight back against Jack Lisowski as he reduced the deficit to 9-7.

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Australian Robertson, champion in 2010, had dug deep earlier in the contest to haul himself level at 4-4 following Saturday’s opening session of their second-round match.

Lisowski, though, soon re-established a two-frame lead on Sunday following century breaks of 119 and 122 before leading 7-5 at the interval.

Robertson then kept himself in touch with a break of 54 only for Lisowski to hit a fine 137 clearance which was followed by a 74 to lead 9-6.

However, Robertson responded again with a break of 69 to leave the match poised heading into Monday’s finish.

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On the other table, Judd Trump won six of the eight frames as he opened up a 10-6 lead over Anthony McGill.

The match resumed at 4-4, with Trump, the 2019 world champion, making a break of 52 and then 79 in the penultimate frame.

John Higgins leads Noppon Saengkham 11-5, while Stuart Bingham and Kyren Wilson were locked at 8-8.

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