The World Snooker Championship Final Preview

World Snooker Championship

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Published: 02/05/2014

The World Snooker Championship final will take place in Sheffield over the Bank Holiday weekend, with four of the world’s best players still competing to win the number one prize in snooker.

The first semi-final features the universally best player in the game in the shape of Ronnie O’ Sullivan taking on last year’s finalist Barry Hawkins. ‘The Rocket’ is going for his third consecutive title at The Crucible and his sixth in total, which would see him tie with Steve Davis on the all-time list, and place him just one win behind Stephen Hendry.

And the second semi comprises two of the best and most evenly matched players in the game, and two who have both played in Crucible finals before. Neil Robertson won the World Championship back in 2010, while Selby reached the World Final in 2007. Robertson has just completed the phenomenal feat of making 100 century breaks in a season, while Selby is acknowledged as being one of the toughest competitors in the game, particularly over longer frame matches.

In terms of qualifying for the final, it is extremely difficult to look beyond O’ Sullivan in the first semi-final. Hawkins has to cope mentally with the reality that he played superb snooker during last year’s final against O’ Sullivan, but was still comfortably beaten. O’ Sullivan has also won the last six meetings between the players, and I thoroughly expect him to make it seven.

The other semi-final will be an extremely tense affair between two truly world-class players. Selby and Robertson know each other very well given that they lived together for 18 months while trying to make it on the snooker scene. Both players are eminently capable of winning, but perhaps Robertson’s break building power will just give him the edge over Selby’s more patient approach.

Should Robertson and O’ Sullivan make the final then the two top seeded players would reach the final for the first time since 1987, when Steve Davis faced Joe Johnson. This would be a highly appropriate final, as it would comprise perhaps the two most exciting players in the game, and certainly the two best break builders. O’ Sullivan is closing on Stephen Hendry’s record for the most century breaks in a career, already has the most maximums, and may go on to make in the region of 1,000 centuries if he remains motivated. Meanwhile, no-one has scored better than Robertson this season, with the next highest scorer of century breaks, Ding Junhui, 40 behind the Australian.

There is a feeling that if there is one player in the game who can stand up to O’ Sullivan it is Robertson. The Australian left-hander perhaps has the scoring power to ensure that he is not blown away by ‘The Rocket’. If the two reach the final and Robertson can get off to a good start then he is capable of beating O’ Sullivan.

But O’ Sullivan is unquestionably the best player in the game, and has beaten Robertson ten times twice as many times as the Aussie has come out on top. Although Robertson won their last meeting, O’ Sullivan won six in a row before that, and has come out on top in their two previous World Championship meetings. I have to back ‘The Rocket’ to win his third consecutive title.

Tip: Ronnie O’ Sullivan


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