Monday, 5 May 2008

Snooker: World Championships - Ronnie Triumphs

Well my prediction of a close final fell by the waste side. At least the match went to the final session! There wasn't really any fantastic snooker in the final and it was a bit of a breeze for Ronnie in the end.

Carter was simply mentally exhausted, he had nothing left in the tank after great wins over Barry Hawkins, Shaun Murphy, Peter Ebdon and Joe Perry. And of course the amazing maximum that he made the day after Ronnie made his.

It's been an excellent championship this year and Ronnie fully deserves his win, he's been totally focused for the full 17 days and hasn't looked in any danger in any of his matches. The final session against Williams was awesome with very high breaks and his record breaking 9th maximum, the way he simply blew away 7 times world champion Stephen Hendry, nobody can say any other player deserves the title.

Before his talk of retirement in the interview after the final, he did say he wants 4 or 5 world titles. Ronnie won't be retiring just yet, he's too good at the moment and the joy on his face was plain to see after winning and after his maximum. It will be interesting to see his reaction after the disciplinary action against him in the summer for his lewd comments in China though. But once he gets through and over that, he'll be fine and he'll be back.

This win puts Ronnie in the same league as only 2 other players, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, as players that have won 3 or more world titles at the Crucible.

The following are some of the moments that stand out for me in this years' tournament.

The sheer number of attempted maximums by several different players as well as Ronnie's and Ali's maximums. There could have easily been 3 or 4 this year, the standard of break building was so high despite the record number of centuries in the tournament not getting beaten.

The young 17 year old Chinese player Liu Chuang. For a player so young, his all round game and potting was excellent. He won something like 5 qualifying matches to get to the Crucible and took 5 frames off Ronnie in the first round. He looks quality and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. Could he be better than Ding?

Liang Wenbo, what a star! He beat Doherty convincingly in the first round and was involved in a Crucible thriller against Joe Swail in the last 16. To win that match against Joe, who is one of the best Crucible match players in the game, shows the guy has real nerve and talent. Again, one for the future.

Jamie Cope and Mark Allen were excellent and it was only their inexperience that let them down. We should be seeing a lot of Mark Allen next season as getting to the Crucible was enough to earn him his top 16 place. Allen is a fantastic break builder as is Cope, and Cope is a devastating single ball potter.

It's great to see Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry playing good snooker again. Even though Williams has dropped out of the top 16, I think he will qualify for many of the tournaments next season and hope to see him back in the top 16 soon!

For me the biggest disappointment was Ding Junhui. He fell over the line against Marco Fu in the first round and barely turned up at all in his match against Hendry. I think Fu would have given Hendry a better match. It was Ding's chance to be the youngest ever world champion but he was just nowhere in the tournament. I hope his match play and temperament improves next season, because when on form, he's just a joy to watch.

From the top 16 we've lost Williams, Doherty, Lee and Davis. The biggest surprise is Doherty, a couple of years ago he was provisionally ranked number 1, and now he has to qualify for all events next season.

King, Fu, Allen and Perry come into the top 16. A big surprise for Allen as he thought he wouldn't make it after getting beat in the first round by Hendry. I saw this guy play in the 2004 European Amateur championships in Austria when I was playing there and he's such a huge talent, a great player to watch.

I'll keep on posting through the summer so don't forget to add greenbaize to your feed reader by clicking here or any of the icons on the right for the favourite reader of your choice.

Congratulations Ronnie O'Sullivan on a great performance!


Gwynston said...

Well done to Ronnie - easily the player of the tournament. And the season - a long way ahead of his closest rivals - certainly in consistency. Could this be the new addition to Ronnie's armoury that keeps him at the top? It will be interesting to see, even if he is the oldest player to win the title in over 20 years!

It's shocking to see the likes of Williams, Doherty and Lee fall out of the top 16 (especially with King getting back in). All three's drop down the ranking has been amazingly swift and it will be interesting to see how they cope with having to qualify for events along with Matthew Stevens, who despite climbing up the rankings a little, actually amassed fewer ranking points this season. It doesn't bode well for any of these ex-top players as the standard down to around 30th is very high these days.

Douglas said...

Glad the Rocket won. If he was beaten at any point, I would have switched off the tele and not watched any more of the tournament, along with millions of others... No other player generates the interest and excitement of 'The Rocket'. U have to practise hard these days to get anywhere, but still amazed Doherty has fallen out of top 16. Not surprised about Stevens as he's been on autopilot for a number of years with just the odd good run in a tournament keeping him in the elite...

Ebdon for the upteenth time shook out when on the maximum, maybe he will never make one on the box, likewise Doherty. It is a different type of pressure to make the max, like some kind of objective personal achievement. I would put my life on Doherty to make a pressure clearance to win a tournament, but maximums are something different. Great to see the Rocket now out on his own in the max count. A bit sad that it has taken so long to win 3 world titles, but thats what he gets for fooling around instead of concentrating on winning. Davis was not a patch on Ronnie and the opposition did not compare, so its a shame that he's ahead of Ronnie in the record books.

I think the chinese players are overrated. Their techniques are not so good, Ding in particular being very rigid. None of them are flowing and you would think they all have the same coach. Liu Chung is a decent prospect but not surprised to see you sing his praises after luckily winning a dodgy bet cos he got 5 frames off the Rocket... !