By Josh Powell | Snooker World Championship
‘The Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan has returned with a bang. Six months after announcing he was pulling out of every competition for the remainder of the season Ronnie has returned to the table to defend his World Championship. So far, it looks like he has never been away.
Some punters didn’t go near the pre-tournament odds of 8/1 on Ronnie fearing that a lack of time on the baize would have hampered him. A forgivable misjudgement. A handful of punters also avoided the 6/1, 11/2, 4/1, 9/4 and everything on the way down to evens. The Rocket is now 4/5 and the price is only going south.
Not practising makes perfect according to O’Sullivan who sailed through the early rounds and now has Stuart Bingham pretty much beat in the quarter-finals. The four-time World Champion hasn’t lost the ability to smash in long pots and build frame-winning breaks.
Ronnie would be the first man to retain the World Championship crown since Stephen Hendry in 1996 and you would be crazy not to back him. Since his debut in the World Championship two decades ago O’Sullivan has won more than 75 per cent of his matches and it will take something special for any of these men to stop him this year.
Shaun Murphy ELIMINATED
- Seven-time major finalist
- Four-time major winner including the 2005 World Championships
- Lost all three head-to-heads against Ronnie O’Sullivan
- Played O’Sullivan in the 2011 World Championship second round and was narrowly beaten 13-10
Judd Trump ELIMINATED
- Three-time major winner
- 2011 World Championship finalist
- The only man left in the competition with a positive record against O’Sullivan – beating him four times in seven meetings
Ricky Walden ELIMINATED
- Shanghai Masters winner in 2008
- Beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final that year
- Lost his only other meeting with The Rocket 9-5 in the 2006 UK Championship
Michael White ELIMINATED
- Never previously made it past the last 32 in a ranking event
- World number 50
- Has never previously faced O’Sullivan
- World number 14
- He has never reached the final of a major tournament
- Has face Ronnie on three occasions and never won
- Has never been beaten by more than two frames against The Rocket
Can anyone stop the Rocket at the Crucible? It would take a brave man to say no and there will be queues of ‘snooker experts’ down the pub waiting to tell you that 4/5 is still plenty of value. The Showman is prone to the occasional breakdown at the table but with every frame he plays that seems less and less likely to happen this week.
The Rocket’s fuse has been lit.