Last year’s beaten semi-finalist Anthony McGill pulled away from 4-4 to beat Ricky Walden 10-5 in the first round of the Betfred World Championship, setting up a match with Crucible king Ronnie O’Sullivan.
McGill seems to thrive on the Sheffield atmosphere and has a fine record at the venue, having reached the quarter-finals on his debut in 2015, and the semis last year, where he was narrowly beaten 17-16 by Kyren Wilson. After a quiet season, in which he has not gone beyond the last 16 of a ranking event, the Scot hopes for a strong finish on the big stage.
He will face O’Sullivan on Thursday and Friday, in their first meeting at the Crucible. McGill has lost all six of their previous matches, but has the all-round game and temperament to give his illustrious opponent a real test.
World number 16 McGill had a slender 5-4 lead after the first session against Walden then pulled away tonight with breaks of 83 and 130 to go 7-4 ahead. Walden pulled one back with a 98, but McGill took the next two with a top run of 69 for 9-5.
In frame 15, Walden had a chance to clear from 59-0 down, but ran out of position on the last red. McGill eventually potted green and brown to seal victory.