Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby finished the opening session of their World Snooker Championship semi-final level at 4-4 as they both battled a tricky table at the Crucible.
The two players embarked on the famed one-table set-up in Sheffield but conditions seemed awkward with some unexpected bounces off cushions especially making break-building difficult.
Bingham still managed three half-centuries in the session, but Selby did not make it to 50, showing how much of a struggle things were out there.
Steve Davis said on the BBC: ‘I would suggest that it’s nothing to do with him [Selby]. Whilst he hasn’t seemed to be demonstratively moaning about the table, he’s getting on with the job, it’s playing strangely enough that it could put anyone out of their stride.
‘Some of the shots I’ve seen today I’d just disregard this whole session and hope that the table is playing better next time round.
‘He was getting the cue ball behind the yellow as good as anyone, now it’s sliding all over the place, the table is all over the place, it’s weird.
‘It doesn’t seem to be anybody’s fault, everyone’s trying to work out the puzzle.’
Ballrun took the opening frame with a 60, but Selby grabbed the next three tight frames to take an early, sizeable lead.
The mid-session interval did nothng for Selby, though, as Bingham returned with a 92 and an 82 in the next three frames, winning all three.
Bingham looked in excellent form by this point and was in with another break in the eighth but missed a brown on 42, allowing Selby to step in and make an excellent clearance to level up.
Strangely, having been 3-1 up and only coming out 4-4, it will be Selby who will have come out the happier given that he was not the better player over the session.
Ronnie O’Sullivan believes that it is an excellent result for Selby, saying on Eurosport: ‘Obviously Selby struggled, Bingham looked the more fluent, but when you look back at any world title you’ve won you think, “Cor that session I got out 4-4 instead of getting beat 7-1, that’s why I’m sitting here with the trophy.
‘I’ve felt like that a lot of times at the end of the tournament, it’s them sessions that win you a world title.’
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