O’Sullivan & Trump suffer shock quarter-final defeats

Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump both suffered shock defeats in the quarter-finals of the World Championship.

O’Sullivan fell to a 13-10 loss against Stuart Bingham, while world number two Trump was beaten 13-9 by Jak Jones.

On the other side of the draw David Gilbert advanced into the semi-finals with a 13-8 win over Stephen Maguire.

And he will now play fellow Englishman Kyren Wilson, who beat Scotland’s four-time winner John Higgins 13-8.

Trump and O’Sullivan had been cast as favourites to triumph at the Crucible Theatre prior to the tournament.

And the draw had left open the prospect of a mouthwatering last-four meeting between the pair, with O’Sullivan also chasing a record eighth world title in the modern era having drawn level with Stephen Hendry on seven in 2022.

But it was simply not to be for ‘The Rocket’, who was unable to pull away from 2015 winner Bingham, who held his nerve and made a superb break of 104 as he took three consecutive frames to seal his victory.

Bingham, Gilbert and Jones' successes mean it is the first time since 1977 that three qualifiers have reached the last four of the tournament.

Superb Bingham foils frustrated O'Sullivan

O'Sullivan's defeat to Bingham means his unbroken sequence at top of the world rankings dating back to April 2022 will come to an end this month when he is replaced by Mark Allen.

The 48-year-old also saw his hopes of claiming all three Triple Crown events in a season dashed, having already triumphed in the UK Championship and Masters this term.

However, Bingham will hope his deserved win represents a good omen having also advanced past the same opponent at the same stage nine years ago.

Having resumed at 8-8, a sublime 136 from O'Sullivan would have unnerved most opponents but Bingham dug in and showed his resolve.

He compiled two half centuries to edge back ahead and was not unsettled by a couple of other unexpected scenarios.

Play was briefly halted in the 21st frame when Bingham missed a pink to the left corner and O’Sullivan told referee Desislava Bozhilova "to chill" after retaking his seat unhappy at the amount of noise coming from people entering the other side of the auditorium.

O'Sullivan had earlier claimed some referees "have it in for me" after a bizarre incident at 6-5, when he opted to play safe rather than opting to attempt a pot on a red close to the black because he believed the black had not been spotted correctly.

He repeatedly asked referee Bozhilova to replace the ball because it appeared to be rolling fractionally off its spot while he was on a break of 20 and eventually lost the frame.

The 2010 world champion Neil Robertson, speaking on BBC Two, called it one of the “greatest bits of sportsmanship” he has seen.

However the 41-time ranking event winner O'Sullivan then told Eurosport: "To be honest with you, some of the refs, I think they've got it in for me, so I just wanted to prove to her that she got it wrong.

"I didn't feel good about potting the ball after that, but I just wanted to make the point. I'm not that hungry to win it in that way, so once the principle's been made I can sleep at night."

World Snooker refuted O'Sullivan's allegations and said Bozhilova, who has refereed on the professional tour for 12 years, acted correctly throughout.

Joy for Jones as Trump falters

Trump, who won this title in 2019 and has claimed five ranking events this term, began his encounter against world number 44 Jones as the firm favourite.

However, aside from a superb break of 110 in the very opening frame of the match, he looked a shadow of the player that has rattled in 79 century breaks over the course of the campaign.

Wednesday's concluding session followed the established pattern of the match with Jones' safety play holding sway across lengthy frames and Trump's highest break a mere 22.

“I just struggled. I had a lot of chances but it was a bit slower than I liked and I couldn’t get any rhythm and it was like starting again every time I came to the table,” Trump said.

“I should have been a bit more attacking in the first two sessions and maybe I played into his hands a little bit.

“It is not easy to have a good run here. Playing like that, he did me a favour because I’d have lost 17-0 [next] playing like that."

Jones, who is nicknamed 'The Silent Assassin' also reached the last eight 12 months ago and his game appears perfectly suited to the longer format of the game, with a best-of-33 match against Bingham now on the horizon.

A composed 87 helped him edge ahead at 10-9 but was also given plenty of encouragement along the way courtesy of some dreadful misses by his out-of-sorts opponent.

Trump's failure to dispatch a routine pink in the 20th frame allowed Jones to take the frame with a 61. And an inexplicable miss on yellow to the top right corner in the next frame helped Jones close in on the finishing line.

Wilson in confident mood

While Wilson was comprehensively outplayed by Higgins in a 13-2 defeat in Sheffield 12 months ago, he was always in control this time around.

He led 5-3 and 9-7 after the first two sessions and rarely looked like relinquishing his lead, marrying some excellent safety play with clinical potting when amongst the balls.

Breaks of 56, 101 and 61 carried him over the line and on this evidence he looks capable of going one better than his performance in 2020 when he was a beaten finalist.

“I have had a good few hidings off John especially at the Crucible so to bounce back I am really proud of myself," Wilson said.

"I have gone away worked at my game and realised what I was doing wrong and sometimes it takes a while to rebuild. That is up there as one of my best wins of my career to beat an all-time great like John.”

Gilbert's resurgence continues

Having been ranked as high as 10th in the world, Gilbert has dropped outside the top 30 in recent times.

But he credits a new fitness programme and other changes to his regime with aiding his resurgence that has seen him defeat defending champion Luca Brecel, Rob Milkins and Maguire en route to the single-table format for the first time since 2019.

“It was an impossible thought not too long ago but I’m in the semis and feeling great," Gilbert said.

"It is a massive achievement. Only five weeks or so I couldn’t be bothered to play in the qualifiers, I thought 'just turn up take the £10,000 and that’ll be that'.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself and am motivated to prove to myself that I can go out and play."