David Gilbert relishing another ‘blow-out’ after making second round at Crucible

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Mark Staniforth, PA
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David Gilbert is relishing the prospect of another epic “blow-out” after breezing into the second round of the World Championship with a 10-4 win over Chris Wakelin.

The former semi-finalist has admitted struggling through the last year on and off the table with the lockdown restrictions playing havoc with his regular post-event routine.

But the return of fans and the imminent further easing of restrictions have given Gilbert reasons to be cheerful, as have the three centuries and five further 50-plus breaks which saw him ease past Wakelin.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2021 – Day 2 – The Crucible
David Gilbert racked up three centuries in a commanding display (George Wood/PA)

Gilbert said: “I’ve changed my routine from how it used to be – whether I did well or not I used to go out with the lads and enjoy myself and have a blow-out.

“I was just missing those blow-outs, and when I had two weeks off from a tournament I’d sit in my garage all night with my beer fridge and the disco ball on and let some steam off.

“I’m tee-total while I’m in this (tournament), but as soon as I’m out of it or I’ve won it I won’t be, don’t worry about that.”

Gilbert resumed 7-2 ahead of his close friend after a glittering first-day display, but Wakelin dug in to reduce the deficit with two half-centuries of his own in the first two frames upon the resumption.

But Gilbert finished off with a break of 84 to potentially book a second-round meeting with Judd Trump.

Four-time champion John Higgins faces a battle to stay in the tournament as he trails China’s world number 53 Tian Pengfei 4-3 after a below-par opening session.

Things could have been worse for Higgins – who trailed 4-1 before clawing back the deficit – but play was so slow the session was curtailed two frames early.

Successive century breaks from Yan Bingtao helped him ease past Martin Gould in the morning session.

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2021 – Day 2 – The Crucible
Yan Bingtao beat Martin Gould to reach the last 16 (George Wood/PA)

Resuming at 4-4 from Saturday’s opening session, the reigning Masters champion dominated proceedings and breaks of 130 and 116 in frames 11 and 12 put him on the road to a 10-6 victory.

Anthony McGill held a slender 5-4 advantage after the first session of his first-round match with Ricky Walden.

Walden posted successive centuries in a run of three frames in a row to go 3-2 in front before McGill hit back, scoring 119 and then an 88.