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2021 World Snooker Championship

2021 World Snooker Championship

Snooker tournament, held April–May 2021

Snooker tournament

The 2021 World Snooker Championship (also referred to as the 2021 Betfred World Snooker Championship for the purposes of sponsorship) was a professional snooker tournament, that took place from 17 April to 3 May 2021 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 45th consecutive year for the World Snooker Championship to be held at the Crucible Theatre, and it was the 15th and final ranking event of the 2020–21 snooker season. The tournament was organised by the World Snooker Tour, a subsidiary of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. The event was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred and broadcast by the BBC, Eurosport and Matchroom Sport. The event featured a total prize fund of £2,395,000, with the winner receiving £500,000.

Qualifying for the tournament took place between 5 and 14 April 2021 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. There were 128 participants in the qualifying rounds, with a mix of professional and invited amateur players, 16 of whom reached the main stage of the tournament where they played the top 16 players from the snooker world rankings. Ronnie O'Sullivan was the defending champion, having won his sixth world title at the previous year's event, defeating Kyren Wilson 18–8 in the final. This year, O'Sullivan lost in the second round to Anthony McGill 12–13. Mark Selby defeated Shaun Murphy 18–15 in the final to win his fourth world title and the 20th ranking title of his career. There were a record 108 century breaks made at the Crucible, with an additional 106 made in qualifying. The tournament's highest break was 144 by Murphy in the second round.

Background

The World Snooker Championship features 32 professional players competing in one-on-one snooker matches in a single-elimination format, each match played over a number of frames. The 32 players for the event were selected through a mix of the snooker world rankings and a pre-tournament qualifying stage.[1][2][3] The first World Snooker Championship took place in 1927, with the final held at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham, England, and the title was won by Joe Davis.[4][5] Since 1977, the event has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.[6] Scottish player Stephen Hendry is the most successful participant at the World Championship in the modern era, having won the title seven times.[7] The 2020 championship was won by English player Ronnie O'Sullivan, who defeated compatriot Kyren Wilson in the final 18–8 to win his sixth world title.[8][9][10] The winner of the 2021 championship received £500,000, from a total prize fund of £2,395,000.[11] The event is organised by World Snooker in partnership with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).[12]

Format

The Crucible Theatre from outside
The main draw of the tournament was played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.

The 2021 World Snooker Championship took place between 17 April and 3 May 2021 at the Crucible Theatre.[13] The event featured a 32-player main draw contested at the Crucible, preceded by a 128-player qualifying draw held at the English Institute of Sport. Qualifying for the event was played between 5 and 14 April 2021, finishing three days before the start of the main draw.[14] The qualifying stage was played over four rounds, with the highest-ranked players being seeded and given byes to the later rounds.[15] The tournament was the last of 15 ranking events in the 2020–21 season on the World Snooker Tour.[16][17] It was the 45th consecutive year that the tournament had been held at the Crucible, and the 53rd successive world championship to be contested through the modern knockout format.[6][18] The tournament was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred, as it has been since 2015.[19]

The top 16 players in the latest 2020–21 snooker world rankings automatically qualified for the main draw as seeded players. Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was automatically seeded first overall.[7] The remaining 15 seeds were allocated based on the latest world rankings, released after the 2021 Tour Championship which was the penultimate ranking event of the season.[20] Matches in the first round of the main draw were played as the best of 19 frames, second-round matches and quarter-finals played as the best of 25 frames, and the semi-finals were played over a maximum of 33 frames. The final was played over two days as a best-of-35-frames match.[7]

Coverage

image of confetti falling on a snooker table as Selby holds a trophy
The event was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred, who also presented the trophy (trophy presentation pictured).

The tournament was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Television and BBC Online, as well as Eurosport.[21][22] Internationally, the event was broadcast in Europe and Australia by Eurosport, who also covered the qualifying rounds.[21][23] Other international broadcasts were provided by Superstars Online, Zhibo.tv, Youku, and CCTV in China; by NowTV in Hong Kong; and by DAZN in Canada, the United States, and Brazil.[22]

On 13 March 2021, World Snooker announced that the championship would welcome a limited number of spectators, as part of an Events Research Programme run by the British government in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first and only event of the 2020–21 snooker season not to be staged behind closed doors.[24] Details were announced on 7 April, beginning with an audience of 33 per cent of the arena's full capacity for the first round, an increasing number of spectators through the tournament, and a full-capacity crowd to be admitted for the final. All spectators were tested for COVID-19 before and after attending the event.[13]

Prize fund

The winner of the event received £500,000 from a total prize fund of £2,395,000. The breakdown of prize money is shown below:[11]

  • Winner: £500,000
  • Runner-up: £200,000
  • Semi-finalists: £100,000
  • Quarter-finalists: £50,000
  • Last 16: £30,000
  • Last 32: £20,000
  • Last 48: £15,000
  • Last 80: £10,000
  • Last 112: £5,000
  • Highest break (qualifying stage included): £15,000
  • Maximum break (main stage): £40,000
  • Maximum break (qualifying stage): £10,000

Summary

Qualifying

Photo of Mark Joyce playing a shot
Mark Joyce progressed through qualifying for the first time.

Qualifying for the event was held between 5 and 14 April over four rounds with 16 players qualifying for the main stage.[3][14] Seven-time champion Stephen Hendry was playing in the World Championship for the first time since announcing his retirement after the 2012 event.[25] He met six-time runner-up Jimmy White in the first round, with the pair having met in four previous finals.[25][26] Hendry defeated White 6–3,[27] but lost his second-round match 1–6 to Xu Si.[28] The defeat for White meant he was not ranked high enough to remain on the World Snooker Tour, but he was later given an invitational place for the following two seasons.[29]

Three-time World Championship semi-finalist Alan McManus announced his retirement after his second-round loss to Bai Langning.[30] Bai reached the final round of qualifying by defeating Ben Woollaston 6–5.[31][32] Two amateur players progressed through the first round. Julien Leclercq defeated Soheil Vahedi 6–5 in the first round, but lost 2–6 to Chang Bingyu. Florian Nüßle defeated world number 111 Ben Hancorn in the first round 6–2,[33] but lost to world number 50 Mark King 3–6 in the second round.[14][34] World number 84 Jamie Clarke was trailing 0–5 in his second-round match against Jamie O'Neill, but won six frames in a row to win the match. He then defeated world number 20 Joe Perry 6–2 to reach the final round of qualifying.[34]

The fourth and final round of qualifying, named "judgement day", took place on 13 and 14 April, with the winners qualifying for the main stage.[32] Matches in this round were played over the best of 19 frames.[31] Four players were competing having started in the opening round: Bai Langning, Jamie Clarke, Igor Figueiredo, and Steven Hallworth, but all four lost their final qualifying match. Bai led his match 5–4 after the first session, but lost 5–10 to Martin Gould; Clarke led 7–2, but won just one more frame, as he lost 8–10 to Mark Davis;[35] Figueiredo lost 7–10 to Mark Joyce and Hallworth lost to 2019 semi-finalist Gary Wilson 3–10.[36] The lowest-ranked player to make it through to the Crucible was Jamie Jones, ranked 69 before the tournament.[31]

First round

Jamie Jones qualified for the second round for the first time since completing a ban in 2018.

The draw for the main stage of the tournament was held at 11 a.m. on 15 April 2021.[37] The opening round took place between 17 and 22 April, each match played as the best of 19 frames held over two sessions.[38] Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan played debutant Mark Joyce in the opening match.[38] O'Sullivan led 3–1, before Joyce made two half-century breaks to trail by one frame. O'Sullivan won the last two frames of the first session to take a 6–3 lead.[39] Joyce won the first frame in the second session, but O'Sullivan took the next to lead 7–4 and then scored three century breaks of 124, 137, and 112, to win the match 10–4.[39] Reigning Masters champion Yan Bingtao played Martin Gould, making five breaks higher than 50 and tying the score at 4–4, having only played eight frames in their opening session.[40] Yan then made two century breaks to lead 8–5, and won the match 10–6.[41] David Gilbert, the 2019 semi-finalist, won seven of the first eight frames of his match against Chris Wakelin, winning the first session 7–2 and the match 10–4.[41] The 2010 champion and third seed Neil Robertson led 6–3 over Liang Wenbo after their first session.[42][43] Robertson won all four frames in the second session to progress with a 10–3 victory.[44]

Jamie Jones had returned to the tour for the 2020–21 season, having lost his professional status in 2019 after serving a year-long ban.[45] Jones trailed Stephen Maguire 0–3, but pulled ahead to lead 5–4 after the first session, and took all five frames played in the second session to win the match 10–4.[46] He commented that he felt the ban had caused him to "lose everything", whilst Maguire commented that he would be fined for using bad language at the quality of his play.[47] The previous year's semi-finalist Anthony McGill led Ricky Walden 5–4 in the first session, and won five of the next six to win 10–5.[48][49] Four-time champion John Higgins played qualifier Tian Pengfei. The pair played just seven of the nine allotted frames in their opening session due to slow play, Tian winning four of the first five to lead 4–3.[50] The second session opened with Tian taking three of the first four frames to lead 7–4.[51] Higgins, however, won five frames in a row to lead 9–7 before the match was halted to allow a later session to go ahead on time. When the match resumed later, Higgins took the 17th frame to win 10–7.[49] After the match, Higgins suggested that Tian would be "kicking himself" for not taking advantage of his own "soul destroying" performance.[49]

Photo of Jack Lisowski
Jack Lisowski (pictured in 2016) won his first round match 10–9 over two-time finalist Ali Carter.

The previous year's runner-up Kyren Wilson trailed 1–5 in his match against Gary Wilson, but recovered by winning the last three frames of the opening session to trail 4–5.[52] He also took the first three frames of the second session to move ahead 7–5.[52] Gary made two half-century breaks to tie the match 7–7, before Kyren scored a half century and a break of 119 to lead 9–7. Gary took frame 18, but Kyren won the match with a break of 73.[52] Jack Lisowski trailed Ali Carter 1–3, but was leading 5–4 after the first session.[53] The pair were later tied at 8–8, before Carter won frame 17 and Lisowski won the next with a break of 82 to force a deciding frame. Lisowski made a break of 60 to win the final frame and the match. When interviewed afterwards, he admitted that Carter was the "worst draw" but added: "I've never won a tournament so why not make the World Championship the first one?"[54][55] Mark Allen defeated Lyu Haotian, having led 7–2 after the first session and then winning three straight frames to take the match 10–2.[56] The first session of the match between Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham ended with a fluke on the final black ball, Ding attempting a pot, only for the black to end in the opposite corner, giving him a 5–4 lead.[57] Bingham made breaks of 60, 92, and 104, en route to a 9–8 advantage, before Ding took frame 18 to tie the match and force a deciding frame.[58] This final frame was delayed until after the next session had ended; Ding made a break of 45, but misjudged a pot on a red ball, allowing Bingham to make a break of 70 to win the match.[59]

World number one Judd Trump defeated Liam Highfield 10–4, having won the opening session 7–2.[60][61] Barry Hawkins took a 6–3 lead over Matthew Selt after their first session of play, and took four of the five frames in the second session to win the match 10–4.[62] Three-time champion Mark Williams trailed 0–2 at the start of his match against Sam Craigie, but won five of the next seven frames to take a 5–4 lead.[63] On the resumption of play, Williams won five straight frames to take the match 10–4, saying afterwards that he would "go for everything", indicating he would not turn down any opportunity to pot a ball.[63] The 2005 champion Shaun Murphy trailed 3–5 in his match against Mark Davis, but won the final frame of the first session with a break of 114.[64] Murphy credited this century for giving him additional motivation for the second session as he won six of the eight frames to seal a 10–7 victory.[65] The final match of the first round was contested between Mark Selby and Kurt Maflin. Selby won the first three frames, before Maflin took the fourth with a break of 91. Maflin only scored six points across the next four frames as Selby finished the first session 8–1 ahead.[66] He then took the next two frames to win the match 10–1.[67][68]

Second round

Anthony McGill (pictured in 2016) playing a shot with the rest
Anthony McGill defeated the defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan on a deciding frame 13–12.

The second round matches was played from 22 to 26 April, as the best of 25 frames over three sessions.[38] O'Sullivan met McGill, who had never defeated him in their six professional matches. O'Sullivan made breaks of 81, 105 and 138 as he led 4–1, but McGill won the final three frames to tie the match 4–4 after the first session.[67][69] McGill also won the next four frames (seven in a row) with breaks of 71, 126 and 89.[70] O'Sullivan won frame 13, before McGill won the next two. The final frame of the second session was won by O'Sullivan to trail 6–10.[70] The third session saw O'Sullivan win the first five frames to lead 11–10.[71][72] McGill won the next frame, before O'Sullivan won frame 23. McGill forced a deciding frame tying the scores at 12–12 with a break of 136.[73] O'Sullivan had the first chance to score points in the frame, but missed a pot on a red, allowing McGill to win the frame and match.[74]

Mark Williams playing a shot
Mark Williams (pictured in 2015) defeated John Higgins 13–7, in a rematch of the 2018 final.

Robertson met Lisowski and led 5–3 and then 9–7 after the second session.[75][76] He made breaks of 126 and 87 to go 11–7 ahead, before going in-off in the next allowing Lisowski to win the frame.[77] He made a break of 71 in frame 20 and won the match two frames later – a 13–9 victory. This was Robertson's sixth successive victory over Lisowski.[77] Robertson, however, praised Lisowski's play saying "Jack did really well throughout the whole match... I really want to see [him] do well. He's such a nice guy and so talented".[75] Wilson led Hawkins 9–4 before Hawkins won the final three frames of the second session to trail by two. Hawkins made breaks of 107 and 53 to tie the match at 9–9, but Wilson won four more frames to win 13–10. The match contained 22 breaks of 50 or above in the 23 frames played.[78] In a replay of the 2018 World Snooker Championship final, Williams played Higgins. Williams lost three of the first four frames, but won nine successive frames to lead 10–3.[79] Higgins won the final three frames of the second session, but Williams won three of the next four frames, all with breaks over 70 to win 13–7.[80] Williams commented after the win that he felt he was playing as well as he had during the 2002–03 snooker season, in which he won all three Triple Crown events.[81]

The two remaining qualifiers left in the competition – Bingham and Jones – met in the second round. The pair were tied after the first session 4–4, with seven breaks over 50.[82] During the second frame, with Bingham leading 109–0 with just two balls remaining, the referee awarded him the frame. Jones, however, wished to play on only to pot the pink ball, as he had not potted a ball to that point, but still lost the frame 106–6.[83] Bingham won the second session, leading 10–6, before winning three frames in the third to win 13–6.[84] Gilbert led Trump 3–1, but missed a black ball, allowing Trump to win the next four frames to lead after the first session. Gilbert won just two of the frames in the second session as Trump led 11–5, who won 13–8.[84] Murphy faced the last Chinese player remaining, Yan, and won the opening session 6–2, making the highest break of the tournament, a 144.[85] Murphy also led by four frames after the second session 10–6,[86] and won three of the four frames in the third session to win 13–7. Despite the loss, Yan made more half-century breaks than Murphy.[87] Fourth seed Selby faced thirteenth seed Allen,[38] and led 6–2 after the opening session, making six breaks over 50.[88] Selby's lead was cut to 8–6, but won the final frame of the second session to lead by three.[89] He won the match taking four of the next five frames to win 13–7.[87]

Quarter-finals

Kyren Wilson playing a shot with the rest
Kyren Wilson (pictured in 2018) won five straight frames to defeat third seed Neil Robertson.

The quarter-finals were played on 27 and 28 April as best-of-25 frames held over three sessions.[38] Robertson played Wilson, and took a 5–3 lead after the opening session,[90] but they were tied at 8–8 after the second.[91] In the final session, Wilson won five straight frames to win the match 13–8.[92][93] Selby defeated Williams with a session to spare.[92] With a pot success of 99 per cent in the first four frames, Selby won the opening session 6–2,[94] before winning seven of the next eight to win 13–3.[92] Throughout the tournament, Williams had been playing a break off where he rolled up to the reds, rather than play a safety shot to bring the cue ball to the baulk end, which other players such as O'Sullivan had also attempted.[95] Williams defended the break, and commented that he had received backlash from fans and fellow players.[96]

After making his 500th career century in frame five,[97] Bingham led McGill 6–4 before McGill won five of the next six with breaks of 126, 83, 92, 130 and 75 to lead by two.[98] In the final session, McGill won the first frame before Bingham made breaks of 75, 51, 90 and 91 to take an 11–10 lead.[99] McGill had the first chance in frame 22, but went in-off, allowing Bingham to win the frame. However, McGill won the next two frames to force a deciding frame. McGill had the first chance in the final frame, but was unable to get position on a red after going into the pack. Bingham, however, made a break of 125 to win the match, which he called "the best of my career".[99] McGill, however was confident despite the loss, saying "What I am doing is working, I am going in the right direction."[99][100] Murphy and Trump were tied at 4–4 after the first session,[101] and then at 6–6 before Murphy won the last four frames of the second session to lead 10–6.[102] Trump won five of the next six frames to tie the match at 11–11, with Murphy making a highest break of only 30.[103] Murphy, however, won the next two frames to win the match 13–11.[103]

Semi-finals

Shaun Murphy playing a shot with the rest
After trailing by six frames, Shaun Murphy defeated Kyren Wilson 17–12.

The semi-finals were played between 29 April and 1 May as the best-of-33 frames held over four sessions.[38] Wilson, who had reached this stage for three of the last four events, played Murphy. After losing the opening frame, Wilson won the second frame and made a century break in frame three. After going 3–1 ahead, Wilson made breaks of 121 and 127; a total of 248 points without reply.[104] Wilson ended the first session 6–2 ahead. After winning frame nine, Wilson was placed into a snooker from which he failed to escape on several occasions conceding 53 foul points to Murphy and allowing him to win the frame.[105] Wilson won frames 11, 13 and 14 to lead by six frames at 10–4.[104] Murphy won the final two frames of the session, punching the air in celebration, to trail by four.[104] Wilson won the first frame of the third session, but Murphy won six of the next seven frames to tie the match 12–12.[104] In the final session, Murphy won five straight frames to win the match 17–12.[106] In total, Murphy won 13 out of the last 15 frames to win the match, the first player to win a match from six frames behind since 2010.[107][108][109] After the match, Wilson commented that some of Murphy's celebrations were "theatrical", but Murphy replied that they were "in a theatre and we are putting on a show."[110]

Bingham took the opening frame against Selby, but trailed 1–3 into the mid-session interval.[111] Bingham, however, made breaks of 92 and 82 in winning three straight frames to lead 4–3, which Selby tied at 4–4 after the first session.[111] Selby made a break of 52 in frame nine, but still lost the frame after Bingham scored 92 to lead again at 6–5. Selby won four of the next five frames to lead 9–7 including making two century breaks.[112] Bingham tied the scores at 9–9 after breaks of 131 and 96, before frame 19 lasted over an hour, was also won by Bingham on the final black ball.[113] During the frame, Selby was asked to play a shot by the referee after not having acted for three minutes.[114][115] Bingham also won the next two frames, but frame 22 was won by Selby after the frame was halted twice for a re-rack.[113][114] Selby won the next frame, but Bingham won the last of the session to lead 13–11.[114] In the fourth session, Selby tied the score by winning the opening two frames, before Bingham won the next to lead 14–13. Selby, then won three straight frames to be one frame away from victory. Bingham won the next frame, but due to the length of the session, the remaining frames were delayed until the culmination of the other semi-final with the scores at 16–15.[116] Returning three hours later, Selby won frame 32 after laying a snooker behind the green ball.[108][117] This match was more than three and a half hours longer than the other semi-final, with extended safety play and two frames having to be restarted twice.[108]

Final

Mark Selby standing with arms folded and holding his snooker cue upright against his chest, wearing black shirt and light grey waistcoat
Mark Selby won his fourth world title with an 18–15 victory over Shaun Murphy in the final.

The final was played on 2 and 3 May as the best of 35 frames held over four sessions, between Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy.[38] Both players had won the World Championship previously, but they had not met at the event since the 2007 semi-final, which Selby won 17–16.[109] Murphy was appearing in his fourth final, having claimed the title in 2005, and been runner-up in 2009 and 2015; Selby was playing in his fifth final, having won the event in 2014, 2016, and 2017, and been runner-up in 2007.[118] The two players shared the same coach, Chris Henry.[119]

Murphy won the first two frames of the match, but missed a pot in the third frame on a break of 65 allowing Selby to win the frame. Selby compiled a break of 89 in frame four to draw level at 2–2.[120] Murphy took three of the next four frames to lead by two after the first session.[120] Selby then tied the score again at 6–6 by winning three of the first four frames in the second session, despite Murphy not missing a pot in the first three.[121] Selby then won four of the next five frames to end the second session 10–7 ahead, as Murphy failed to pot a ball for an hour.[120][121]

Murphy won the first frame of the third session with a break of 77, but missed the final black ball in the next, allowing Selby to win frame 19.[122] Murphy won the next frame, but Selby scored the first century break of the final, a 107, in frame 21.[122][123] Selby won frame 22 to lead by four frames, before Murphy made a break of 100.[122] Murphy won the next frame, but trailed 11–14 after Selby won the final frame of the third session.[120] Selby won the opening frame of the fourth and final session, before Murphy cleared the table with a break of 43 to cut Selby's lead to 15–12.[124] The two went into the mid-session interval at 16–13 after Selby played a poor safety shot.[124] After a safety battle, Selby won the next frame with a break of 120, being one frame away from victory at 17–13. Murphy, however, won the next two frames with breaks of 100 and 102.[125] After Murphy missed a pot on a red down the cushion in frame 33, Selby cleared the table to win the match 18–15.[120][126][127]

This was Selby's fourth championship, behind only Stephen Hendry (with seven), Steve Davis, Ray Reardon, and Ronnie O'Sullivan (each with six) in the modern era, and equal with John Higgins.[128] Davis commented that Selby was the "best all-rounder we have ever seen", and suggested he may win more world championships than Hendry.[128] The final was broadcast to a peak audience of 4.1 million viewers on domestic television, equating to 27 per cent of all viewers in the United Kingdom, compared with the 2.9 million viewers for the 2020 event.[129] The win raised Selby from fourth in the world rankings up to world number two.[128] Murphy, who had celebrated specific shots throughout the event, vowed to use the experience to be more of an entertainer for the coming 2021–22 season.[130] He reflected: "In terms of performance, it turned my year around and ended a poor season on a high note."[130] Selby commented: "To win it once against Ronnie O’Sullivan for the first time was a dream come true – to win it four times is something I could only have dreamed of."[131]

Main draw

The results for the main draw are shown below. Numbers given in brackets are the players' seedings. Match winners are denoted in bold.[38]

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 33 frames
                           
17 April            
  Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG) (1)  10
22 & 23 April
  Mark Joyce (ENG)  4  
 England Ronnie O'Sullivan (1)  12
18 & 19 April
   Scotland Anthony McGill (16)  13  
  Anthony McGill (SCO) (16)  10
27 & 28 April
  Ricky Walden (ENG)  5  
 Scotland Anthony McGill (16)  12
19 & 20 April
   England Stuart Bingham  13  
  Ding Junhui (CHN) (9)  9
25 & 26 April
  Stuart Bingham (ENG)  10  
 England Stuart Bingham  13
17 & 18 April
   Wales Jamie Jones  6  
  Stephen Maguire (SCO) (8)  4
29, 30 April & 1 May
  Jamie Jones (WAL)  10  
 England Stuart Bingham  15
18 & 19 April
   England Mark Selby (4)  17
  John Higgins (SCO) (5)  10
23 & 24 April
  Tian Pengfei (CHN)  7  
 Scotland John Higgins (5)  7
21 April
   Wales Mark Williams (12)  13  
  Mark Williams (WAL) (12)  10
27 & 28 April
  Sam Craigie (ENG)  4  
 Wales Mark Williams (12)  3
20 April
   England Mark Selby (4)  13  
  Mark Allen (NIR) (13)  10
24, 25 & 26 April
  Lyu Haotian (CHN)  2  
 Northern Ireland Mark Allen (13)  7
21 & 22 April
   England Mark Selby (4)  13  
  Mark Selby (ENG) (4)  10
  Kurt Maflin (NOR)  1  
17 & 18 April            
  Neil Robertson (AUS) (3)  10
22, 23 & 24 April
  Liang Wenbo (CHN)  3  
 Australia Neil Robertson (3)  13
19 & 20 April
   England Jack Lisowski (14)  9  
  Jack Lisowski (ENG) (14)  10
27 & 28 April
  Ali Carter (ENG)  9  
 Australia Neil Robertson (3)  8
20 & 21 April
   England Kyren Wilson (6)  13  
  Barry Hawkins (ENG) (11)  10
23 & 24 April
  Matthew Selt (ENG)  3  
 England Barry Hawkins (11)  10
19 April
   England Kyren Wilson (6)  13  
  Kyren Wilson (ENG) (6)  10
29, 30 April & 1 May
  Gary Wilson (ENG)  8  
 England Kyren Wilson (6)  12
21 & 22 April
   England Shaun Murphy (7)  17
  Shaun Murphy (ENG) (7)  10
24, 25 & 26 April
  Mark Davis (ENG)  7  
 England Shaun Murphy (7)  13
17 & 18 April
   China Yan Bingtao (10)  7  
  Yan Bingtao (CHN) (10)  10
27 & 28 April
  Martin Gould (ENG)  6  
 England Shaun Murphy (7)  13
17 & 18 April
   England Judd Trump (2)  11  
  David Gilbert (ENG) (15)  10
25 & 26 April
  Chris Wakelin (ENG)  4  
 England David Gilbert (15)  8
20 & 21 April
   England Judd Trump (2)  13  
  Judd Trump (ENG) (2)  10
  Liam Highfield (ENG)  4  
Final: (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 2 & 3 May 2021
Referee: Paul Collier[132]
Mark Selby (4)
 England
18–15 Shaun Murphy (7)
 England
Session 1: 3–5
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Selby 49 46 68 89 (89) 0 66 8 54 N/A N/A
Murphy 57 67 65 (65) 7 75 (75) 1 71 (64) 80 (52) N/A N/A
Session 2: 7–2 (10–7)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Selby 85 (85) 0 72 (67) 107 (86) 34 109 (57) 90 (90) 88 69 N/A
Murphy 49 98 (98) 34 0 97 (64) 0 34 4 26 N/A
Session 3: 4–4 (14–11)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Selby 4 69 (62) 41 134 (107) 104 (54,50) 1 0 131 (62,69) N/A N/A
Murphy 87 (77) 58 69 0 14 100 (100) 108 (56) 0 N/A N/A
Session 4: 4–4 (18–15)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Selby 70 (66) 48 108 (68) 11 120 (120) 7 8 71 N/A N/A
Murphy 28 73 0 79 (58) 0 100 (100) 126 (103) 57 N/A N/A
120 Highest break 103
2 Century breaks 3
14 50+ breaks 12
England Mark Selby wins the 2021 Betfred World Snooker Championship.

dagger = Winner of frame

Qualifying

The qualifying rounds were played at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Qualifying for the main stages of the tournament took place between 5 and 14 April 2021 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. The WPBSA selected 16 amateur players to participate in the qualifying rounds together with the 112 professionals outside the top 16 of the world rankings. The amateur players were selected based on performances in the 2020–21 season, and because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, performances in the 2019–20 season were also included.[14]

Antoni Kowalski and Wu Yize were initially invited, but withdrew and were replaced by Hamim Hussain and Julien Leclercq. Three tour players—Mei Xiwen, Marco Fu, and Steve Mifsud—withdrew, and were replaced by the top three players on the Q School Order of Merit who were not already participating in qualification—Michael White, Paul Davison, and Leo Fernandez.[14] Noppon Saengkham, who was scheduled to enter in the third qualifying round, was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.[133] Finally, the 16 amateur players selected to participate in the qualifying rounds were: Connor Benzey, Dylan Emery, Reanne Evans, Hamim Hussain, Ivan Kakovskii, Rebecca Kenna, Julien Leclercq, Mark Lloyd, Robbie McGuigan, Ben Mertens, Ross Muir, Florian Nüßle, Brian Ochoiski, Fergal Quinn, Hayden Staniland, and Dean Young.[14]

Qualifying draw

The results from qualifying are shown below. Numbers given before players' names show seedings in the qualifying draw, whilst "a" indicates the amateur players in the draw. The match winners are denoted in bold text.[14][34][31]

  Round 1 (Last 144)
Best of 11 frames
Round 2 (Last 112)
Best of 11 frames
Round 3 (Last 80)
Best of 11 frames
Round 4 (Last 48)
Best of 19 frames
                                     
65  Jimmy White (ENG) 3   64  Xu Si (CHN) 6   1  Zhou Yuelong (CHN) 6
 Stephen Hendry (SCO) 6    Stephen Hendry (SCO) 1   64  Xu Si (CHN) 5     1 China Zhou Yuelong 7
96  Zak Surety (ENG) 4   33  Liam Highfield (ENG) 6   32  Elliot Slessor (ENG) 5   33 England Liam Highfield 10
 Fan Zhengyi (CHN) 6    Fan Zhengyi (CHN) 5   33  Liam Highfield (ENG) 6
80  Ken Doherty (IRL) 4   49  Nigel Bond (ENG) 6   16  Matthew Selt (ENG) 6
 Lee Walker (WAL) 6    Lee Walker (WAL) 4   49  Nigel Bond (ENG) 5     16 England Matthew Selt 10
81  Oliver Lines (ENG) 6   48  Dominic Dale (WAL) 6   17  Scott Donaldson (SCO) 6   17 Scotland Scott Donaldson 3
a  Dylan Emery (WAL) 1   81  Oliver Lines (ENG) 4   48  Dominic Dale (WAL) 5
88  Fraser Patrick (SCO) 6   41  Joe O'Connor (ENG) 6   24  Robert Milkins (ENG) 6
a  Leo Fernandez (IRL) 4   88  Fraser Patrick (SCO) 2   41  Joe O'Connor (ENG) 5     24 England Robert Milkins 4
73  Barry Pinches (ENG) 0   56  Jak Jones (WAL) 6   9  Kurt Maflin (NOR) 6   9 Norway Kurt Maflin 10
 Jamie Wilson (ENG) 6    Jamie Wilson (ENG) 4   56  Jak Jones (WAL) 4
89  Gao Yang (CHN) 6   40  Lyu Haotian (CHN) 6   25  Noppon Saengkham (THA) w/d
a  Paul Davison (ENG) 3   89  Gao Yang (CHN) 5   40  Lyu Haotian (CHN) w/o     40 China Lyu Haotian 10
72  Soheil Vahedi (IRN) 5   57  Chang Bingyu (CHN) 6   8  Tom Ford (ENG) 4   57 China Chang Bingyu 6
a  Julien Leclercq (BEL) 6   a  Julien Leclercq (BEL) 2   57  Chang Bingyu (CHN) 6
69  Andy Hicks (ENG) 6   60  Eden Sharav (ISR) 6   5  Graeme Dott (SCO) 6
a  Reanne Evans (ENG) 2   69  Andy Hicks (ENG) 1   60  Eden Sharav (ISR) 3     5 Scotland Graeme Dott 7
92  Billy Joe Castle (ENG) 6   37  Tian Pengfei (CHN) 6   28  Sunny Akani (THA) 4   37 China Tian Pengfei 10
a  Connor Benzey (ENG) 3   92  Billy Joe Castle (ENG) 3   37  Tian Pengfei (CHN) 6
76  David Lilley (ENG) w/o   53  Jamie Jones (WAL) 6   12  Michael Holt (ENG) 3
 Amine Amiri (MAR) w/d   76  David Lilley (ENG) 4   53  Jamie Jones (WAL) 6     53 Wales Jamie Jones 10
85  Brandon Sargeant (ENG) 6   44  Andrew Higginson (ENG) 6   21  Li Hang (CHN) 6   21 China Li Hang 5
a  Rebecca Kenna (ENG) 4   85  Brandon Sargeant (ENG) 3   44  Andrew Higginson (ENG) 2
84  Zhao Jianbo (CHN) 6   45  Jimmy Robertson (ENG) 6   20  Lu Ning (CHN) 6
a  Ross Muir (SCO) 3   84  Zhao Jianbo (CHN) 5   45  Jimmy Robertson (ENG) 5     20 China Lu Ning 7
77  Rod Lawler (ENG) 6   52  Yuan Sijun (CHN) 5   13  Liang Wenbo (CHN) 6   13 China Liang Wenbo 10
 Alex Borg (MLT) 1   77  Rod Lawler (ENG) 6   77  Rod Lawler (ENG) 3
93  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 6   36  Stuart Carrington (ENG) 6   29  Mark Davis (ENG) 6
a  Fergal Quinn (NIR) 3   93  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 2   36  Stuart Carrington (ENG) 4     29 England Mark Davis 10
68  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 6   61  Jamie O'Neill (ENG) 5   4  Joe Perry (ENG) 2   68 Wales Jamie Clarke 8
 Iulian Boiko (UKR) 4   68  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 6   68  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 6
67  Igor Figueiredo (BRA) 6   62  Robbie Williams (ENG) 5   3  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA) 5
 Farakh Ajaib (PAK) 0   67  Igor Figueiredo (BRA) 6   67  Igor Figueiredo (BRA) 6     67 Brazil Igor Figueiredo 7
94  Rory McLeod (JAM) 6   35  Anthony Hamilton (ENG) 6   30  Mark Joyce (ENG) 6   30 England Mark Joyce 10
a  Brian Ochoiski (FRA) 5   94  Rory McLeod (JAM) 1   35  Anthony Hamilton (ENG) 4
78  Ashley Carty (ENG) 6   51  Louis Heathcote (ENG) 6   14  Ryan Day (WAL) 6
a  Michael White (WAL) 4   78  Ashley Carty (ENG) 2   51  Louis Heathcote (ENG) 5     14 Wales Ryan Day 5
83  Peter Lines (ENG) 6   46  Luo Honghao (CHN) 3   19  Ricky Walden (ENG) 6   19 England Ricky Walden 10
a  Mark Lloyd (ENG) 5   83  Peter Lines (ENG) 6   83  Peter Lines (ENG) 1
86  Allan Taylor (ENG) 3   43  Alan McManus (SCO) 3   22  Ben Woollaston (ENG) 5
 Bai Langning (CHN) 6    Bai Langning (CHN) 6    Bai Langning (CHN) 6     China Bai Langning 5
75  Duane Jones (WAL) 6   54  Daniel Wells (WAL) 4   11  Martin Gould (ENG) 6   11 England Martin Gould 10
a  Hayden Staniland (ENG) 5   75  Duane Jones (WAL) 6   75  Duane Jones (WAL) 4
91  Steven Hallworth (ENG) 6   38  David Grace (ENG) 3   27  Jordan Brown (NIR) 5
a  Dean Young (SCO) 2   91  Steven Hallworth (ENG) 6   91  Steven Hallworth (ENG) 6     91 England Steven Hallworth 3
70  James Cahill (ENG) 6   59  Gerard Greene (NIR) 6   6  Gary Wilson (ENG) 6   6 England Gary Wilson 10
 Sean Maddocks (ENG) 1   70  James Cahill (ENG) 5   59  Gerard Greene (NIR) 4
71  Si Jiahui (CHN) 6   58  Pang Junxu (CHN) 6   7  Ali Carter (ENG) 6
a  Hamim Hussain (ENG) 1   71  Si Jiahui (CHN) 4   58  Pang Junxu (CHN) 4     7 England Ali Carter 10
90  Peter Devlin (ENG) 1   39  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI) 6   26  Martin O'Donnell (ENG) 5   39 Switzerland Alexander Ursenbacher 4
 Lukas Kleckers (GER) 6    Lukas Kleckers (GER) 2   39  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI) 6
74  Kacper Filipiak (POL) 6   55  Jackson Page (WAL) 5   10  Zhao Xintong (CHN) 6
 Riley Parsons (ENG) 4   74  Kacper Filipiak (POL) 6   74  Kacper Filipiak (POL) 3     10 China Zhao Xintong 9
87  Aaron Hill (IRL) 4   42  Sam Craigie (ENG) 6   23  Hossein Vafaei (IRN) 0   42 England Sam Craigie 10
 Ashley Hugill (ENG) 6    Ashley Hugill (ENG) 3   42  Sam Craigie (ENG) 6
82  Lei Peifan (CHN) 6   47  Chris Wakelin (ENG) 6   18  Matthew Stevens (WAL) 3
a  Ben Mertens (BEL) 5   82  Lei Peifan (CHN) 5   47  Chris Wakelin (ENG) 6     47 England Chris Wakelin 10
79  Simon Lichtenberg (GER) 6   50  Ian Burns (ENG) 6   15  Xiao Guodong (CHN) 6   15 China Xiao Guodong 7
a  Ivan Kakovskii (RUS) 3   79  Simon Lichtenberg (GER) 4   50  Ian Burns (ENG) 1
95  Ben Hancorn (ENG) 2   34  Mark King (ENG) 6   31  Luca Brecel (BEL) 6
a  Florian Nüßle (AUT) 6   a  Florian Nüßle (AUT) 3   34  Mark King (ENG) 3     31 Belgium Luca Brecel 5
66  Mitchell Mann (ENG) 6   63  Chen Zifan (CHN) 6   2  Stuart Bingham (ENG) 6   2 England Stuart Bingham 10
a  Robbie McGuigan (NIR) 5   66  Mitchell Mann (ENG) 5   63  Chen Zifan (CHN) 1

Century breaks

Main stage centuries

A record number of 108 century breaks were made by 22 players during the main event, surpassing the previous best of 100 set in 2019.[134] The highest break was a 144 made by Shaun Murphy in his second round win over Yan Bingtao.[134] Stuart Bingham made 13 century breaks in the main stages, three short of the record held by Stephen Hendry, but made an additional four centuries in qualification.[134]

Qualifying stage centuries

A total of 106 century breaks were made during the qualifying rounds.[135] The highest was a 143 made by Mark Davis in his third round win over Stuart Carrington.[135]

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