Yan Bingtao pulled away from 5-5 to beat Chris Wakelin 10-6 in the first round of the Betfred World Championship, and having made two centuries and nine more breaks over 50, he looks sure to pose a serious challenge to Mark Selby in the last 16.
China’s Yan, nicknamed the Tiger, is through to the second round for the third consecutive year and has the chance to reach his first Crucible quarter-final, if he can sink his teeth into defending champion Selby. That match gets underway on Friday afternoon.
Former Masters champion Yan has not added to his trophy collection this season – his best run came at the German Masters where he reached the final before being annihilated 9-0 by Zhao Xintong. With an excellent all-round game and a steady temperament, 22-year-old Yan looks sure to have a bright future ahead of him.
Trailing 5-4 after the opening session, Wakelin won the first frame of the evening with a break of 77 to square the match. The Englishman had a chance to steal frame 11 from 56-0 down but missed a difficult pot on the third last red along a side cushion on 28, and soon found himself behind again at 6-5.
Yan’s excellent break of 106 doubled his lead and he added a scrappy 13th frame to make it 8-5 at the interval. Wakelin might have pulled one back but missed the last red to a top corner when trailing 53-46 in frame 14, and could only watch as Yan converted cracking pots on the red, brown and yellow as he extended his advantage.
Yan was just three pots from victory in the 15th when he missed a mid-range pot on the third last red, and Wakelin took advantage to narrow the gap to 9-6. World number 16 Yan made 48 in the next before running out of position, but soon got another chance and added the points he needed.
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