Snooker: Anthony McGill insists he’s up with the best after more final-frame agony

Anthony Mcgill believes his performance levels are up there with the very best despite suffering final-frame heartbreak for the second successive Betfred World Snooker Championship.

Anthony McGill in action in yesterday’s gripping contest at the Crucible Theatre, the Scot losing in a final-frame decider. Picture: Zac Goodwin/Getty

McGill was on the losing end of one of the Crucible’s greatest matches last year and once again saw his hopes dashed with an agonising 13-12 quarter-final loss to Stuart Bingham in Sheffield.

Both players played their part in an extraordinary match with 2015 world champion Bingham producing a 125 break in the decider for an effort befitting the quality of the match.

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Defeat will be hard to take for McGill but having beaten defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round, the only way is up in his snooker career.

“It’s two tough ways to lose but I’ve got a pretty good outlook on it and I know for a fact that I’m a lot better than I’ve ever been,” he said.

“Good things are going to happen, I’ve got no doubt about it.

“I think I’m every bit as good as anyone. I don’t think many people think I’m that great, but I don’t need to prove anything to anyone but myself.

“I’ve had a great tournament. I’ve not enjoyed the season but every player would take that, I’ve really enjoyed this week and look forward to being back.”

Two centuries in an outstanding second session had given McGill an overnight lead, one he added to when scoring 107 in the 17th frame of the match. But Bingham, who needed to qualify for the event, fought back with four consecutive breaks of 50+.

The pair traded frames until the 25th and final frame of a gripping contest went the Englishman’s way in Sheffield, now set to face three-time world champion Mark Selby, who beat Mark Williams with a session to spare.

“It’s brilliant to play here, it was quality this week and I’ve really enjoyed it,” added McGill.

“One part of my game that I trust so much is my nerve under pressure. I don’t think, in those last three frames, that I played a bad shot.

“I just need to find a way to capitalise on leads. My mind wanders, it takes a bit of pressure to kick in that I need.

“I’ve had a great time, played a lot of good snooker this week. I didn’t quite find my game for a few hours but I’m not going to let that detract from the fact that my game is so strong.

“I’m every bit as good as these guys now. I’ve been working for years to try and get to a level, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m up there.”

As the last Scot standing in the last two World Championships, confidence is understandably high for a man who is set to start next season firmly in the top 16.

And despite the nature of defeat, even the Smiling Assassin knows there are plenty of positives to take – both on and off the table.

“Everything is good, there are a lot of exciting times to come,” he added. “I’m still young and good-looking and have a few quid in the bank. It’s brilliant. I wish I’d won that match but it’s not the end of the world.”

•Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app until May 3.