Struggling Judd Trump fighting for survival as Liang Wenbo leads at Crucible

Judd Trump is at risk of elimination from the Betfred World Championship after falling 6-3 behind against Liang Wenbo in the opening session at The Crucible.
Struggling Judd Trump fighting for survival as Liang Wenbo leads at Crucible

The former finalist, the second favourite for this year’s title in Sheffield, watched as his Chinese opponent secured two centuries — 117 and 107 — while he struggled.

Trump secured the following two frames, a 58 and an 86 — before Liang responded by winning four of the next five, and demonstrated fine composure by winning three of those on colours as Trump remained competitive.

Should Liang today progress beyond the first round, it will represent the first time he has done so since 2008, when on his first appearance he reached the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile Mark Allen rattled off four frames to ease into the second round with a 10-3 victory over Mitchell Mann. The Northern Ireland left-hander had a 6-3 overnight lead and made short work of reaching the last 16 when play resumed in yesterday.

Qualifier Mann, the only rookie at this year’s tournament, never settled as the 24-year-old’s nerves took a hold.

Allen won the first frame of the session despite a break of 47 ending when he screwed the cue ball back into the middle pocket.

The 2009 semi-finalist won another scrappy frame before a break of 67 took him to within one frame of victory.

Allen was on a potential 147 clearance after potting seven reds and six blacks in the 13th frame but ran out of position and had to take a pink.

But another 67 break had Mann in trouble, and Allen finished the game off when he was handed another visit at the table.

Allen told BBC: “Mitchell put me under pressure early on in the match and in the first four frames I could have been 3-1 down. But I played well after the interval and he sort of went a bit. That’s to be expected because the Crucible can do funny things to first-timers and I was able to capitalise.”

Allen won his third world-ranking title only last month, triumphing at the Players Championship event in Manchester.

“It’s great for the confidence and obviously decent for the bank balance, but you’ve got to come here and focus on very tough matches,” said Allen.

2013 runner-up Barry Hawkins fired a 141 as he set up a second-round date with Ronnie O’Sullivan with a 10-5 victory over China’s Zhang Anda.

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