The world number one remains in the tournament and moves a step closer to breaking the Curse of the Crucible.
Judd Trump was made to work hard for his 10-8 first-round victory over Tom Ford in the World Snooker Championship – completing his century of snooker centuries for the 2019/20 season in the process.
The reigning champion appeared nervous upon entering the Crucible Theatre, and was quickly 3-0 down to his fellow Englishman.
Ford had a golden opportunity to construct what would have been a remarkable opening-frame maximum break, but he ran slightly out of position and missed the 13th black when the balls were at his mercy.
Still, it looked as though he was going to cause Trump plenty of problems, withstanding the 30 year-old’s mini revival to pull away again from 3-2 to 5-2 with the aid of a terrific 140 total clearance.
However, Trump crucially won the last two frames to trail by only one frame at the end of the first session.
And despite Ford subsequently winning the first frame upon the evening’s restart, the top seed finally began to assert his dominance on the affair.
After restoring parity at 6-6, Trump moved in front for the first time in the contest with a break of 70.
An excellent 131 break in the 15th frame represented his 100th ton of the campaign – becoming only the second player in the game’s history to land a century of snooker centuries in a single term.
Neil Robertson famously achieved the feat against Trump at the Crucible six years ago, with the latter taking umbrage at the Australian’s extravagant celebrations in the immediate aftermath.
There was no such special reaction from Trump, but after completing the rare century of snooker centuries he’ll have the Melbourne man’s overall season record of 103 firmly within his sights.
Trump duly extended his cushion to 9-7, and even though Ford hung on a little longer to frustrate his illustrious opponent, the tournament favourite finally secured his second-round berth.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) July 31, 2020
Meanwhile, three other games reached their halfway points on day one of the competition, with each separated by just one frame.
Ding Junhui couldn’t shake off Mark King and established a narrow 5-4 advantage over the former Northern Ireland Open champion, with Stuart Bingham boasting a similar lead against debutant Ashley Carty.
Elsewhere, three-time world champion Mark Williams is in a spot of bother, finding himself 5-4 down to veteran Alan McManus.
There was much delight as the 2020 World Snooker Championship finally commenced after a three-month postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But any joy at having fans back for the first time since March was quickly muted by the government announcement suspending its pilot scheme to allow supporters into sporting venues.
From Saturday, the remainder of this year’s tournament will be played behind closed doors, although there are still some hopes that a crowd will be able to return for the final on August 15th and 16th.
On day two, the three aforementioned encounters will reach their climaxes, while the likes of John Higgins and David Gilbert enter the fray as well.
Live coverage continues on the BBC, Eurosport, and Matchroom Live.
Featured photo credit: WST