Judd Trump - Ronnie O’Sullivan
That'll do us
It was Ronnie's day today. Can Judd possibly come back refreshed tomorrow and take us deep into the bank holiday night?
'I don’t expect to carry on at this rate' – Trump plays down breaking O'Sullivan's maximum record
Join us from 12.45pm BST tomorrow, and let's see how it pans out.
Ronnie O'Sullivan dominates Judd Trump
He's looked on it all tournament, but this evening particularly Ronnie O'Sullivan has found a gear that looks destined to bag him a seventh world title. Judd Trump was not quite on it, and paid for it badly as he lost seven of the nine frames. Ronnie flitted between competent and brilliant, and picked frames off almost on a whim. It's been a punishing lesson; earlier this season, Judd said that the other players on the tour aren't afraid of Ronnie these days. As things stand, he's looking down the barrel of a humbling defeat at his hands.
O'Sullivan 12-5 Trump
Ronnie mops two reds up, and then empties the table for an 88 with someone screaming 'Go on, lad!' as he fires in the black. That's a devastating session from Ronnie, who took it 7-2 and might well have broken the back of this final.
O'Sullivan 11-5 Trump (51-33)
Judd's staring a thousand yards from his seat as Ronnie gets to work. The lead is soon dismantled, and with all reds relatively open this is a huge chance for Ronnie. A half-century is in the books double quick, and there are only two reds remaining. Both with colours will put this to bed.
O'Sullivan 11-5 Trump (0-33)
It's a simple equation for Judd. Win this, wake up refreshed and drag his brilliant best to the Crucible for the final two sessions tomorrow. This is the way to start; he drains a brilliant long red into the bottom right from baulk and he's on the black. It's four reds and four blacks to get going, before he booms the pack open after potting his next red but lands in a tough position in baulk. Given the position of the reds Judd has no option but to take on a brown long to the bottom right, but it rattles out and Ronnie is in. A dish here could be a dagger.
O'Sullivan 11-5 Trump
There goes another one, as a quick fire 60 from Ronnie moves his lead to six frames again.
O'Sullivan 10-5 Trump (57-0)
These are the frames that are hammering Judd in this match. Ronnie cashes in the opportunity he's been given, racing to a quick 38 and counting and there's more than enough in the open for Ronnie to snag this one. He doesn't have to do much with the cue ball, which he's got on a string anyway.
O'Sullivan 10-5 Trump (20-0)
Judd breaks off in the 16th frame, and Ronnie immediately strokes in a red to the bottom right to land on the blue. He can't develop the chance though, as he soon tries to open the pack and ends up buried in it without a shot on a colour. Fortune soon swings against Judd though, when he drives a long red into the bottom left but sends the white into another and in-off in the bottom right. That could sting, because there's a load on; Ronnie drains one from the D, and he's on the black.
O'Sullivan 10-5 Trump
Judd puts the frame away with frame ball red and an insurance pink to follow. He eventually makes 80, and oh boy did he need that. Ronnie's run of frames is over, and Judd pegs one back.
O'Sullivan 10-4 Trump (4-51)
This is better from Judd, as he smacks into pink and cluster of reds off the blue and the split works out for him. He's soon up to a half-century and he's looking good to stop the rot now.
O'Sullivan 10-4 Trump (4-30)
Judd's really under it here. A containing safety from Ronnie leaves him a red to the bottom right from close quarters, which he jabs in but the white then glides softly into the right middle. Ronnie can't punish him this time though, missing a long red to the bottom left, and Judd has a good chance here. It's 30 and counting so far, and if he can get his arm moving he might have a bit to say in this session yet.
O'Sullivan 10-4 Trump
It's 87 from Ronnie, and five frames in a row. Judd has it all on now to stop tomorrow becoming a procession.
O'Sullivan 9-4 Trump (62-26)
A lovely shot in and out of baulk off the blue drops Ronnie on the final red, which is frame ball. That goes too, and his lead is going to extend even further shortly. This is ruthless, brilliant match play snooker from Ronnie.
O'Sullivan 9-4 Trump (47-26)
Judd chucks everything at a long red, misses, and leaves a mid-ranger to the bottom right for Ronnie. That goes - eventually, after a pause for someone's mobile going off - and Ronnie sets about punishing. He's quickly up to 40 and with all three remaining reds in the open, it's looking grim for Judd again.
O'Sullivan 9-4 Trump (7-26)
Ronnie misses a thin snick on a safety at the start of frame 14, from which Judd tags in a red but can't pot the brown. Ronnie then gambles everything on a cut back to the bottom left and makes it, but tries an equally audacious shot on the black to the same pocket and leaves it in the jaws. Judd walks back to the table with exactly what he needs in front of him - a decent look at a quick kill, and he gets into it. After a trip into the pack, he's left with a difficult pink and he's missed it high on the knuckle to the left middle. Ronnie's back in with a red to bottom right, but loses position immediately and that feels like a big reprieve for Judd.
O'Sullivan 9-4 Trump
A 42 from Ronnie does the necessary damage, and he's halfway to a seventh world title.
O'Sullivan 8-4 Trump (63-0)
Judd chucks everything at two reds - one to the bottom right along the rail, that spits out and doesn't leave anything, another long to the bottom right that misses by a postcode and leaves Ronnie in. The balls are set for the frame to go here, and Ronnie does not hang about. The frame has soon gone, and if Judd can't rally here Ronnie might have an unassailable lead going into Monday.
O'Sullivan 8-4 Trump (35-0)
Worrying signs here for Judd, as he catches a safety brutally thick and he's opened the reds right up. He's really looking tired, as you might do if you'd gone right to the wire with Mark Williams over 33 frames in the preceding three days. Ronnie can only make five from the chance, but you really sense that Judd is hanging in here.
O'Sullivan 8-4 Trump (30-0)
We're back, let's get about it. And what a staggering start! Judd gets a look at a red to the left middle, from the bottom cushion; it's a thin snick, and he misses it completely! The white barrels around the table, somehow misses everything and Ronnie's on the same red. That's extraordinary. Ronnie makes 26 thereafter, but loses position after opening the pack and is forced to play safe.
O'Sullivan 8-4 Trump
It's a break of 97 for Ronnie, as he empties the table to finish this session with a flourish. He's bullying Judd out there at the moment, but tomorrow is another day; Judd needs to dig in here and wrench something out of the forthcoming mini-session to have a shy at turning Ronnie over tomorrow. In Ronnie's mind, he'll just want to keep on trucking; he's played well today and probably should have more of an advantage.
O'Sullivan 7-4 Trump (66-15)
Ronnie drops in behind the third to last red, which is frame ball. He drops it in, pots the black thereafter, and we're done in this one. Ronnie is pulling away again, and Judd badly needs the interval that's coming up.
O'Sullivan 7-4 Trump (37-15)
Judd gambles the frame on a three-ball plant to the bottom right, and he makes it; that's a superb shot, and he's got a chance here. On 15 though he misses a simple black off its spot, and that's a worrying sign; he's served up a huge chance to Ronnie, who starts making hay. After landing on the wrong side of the blue he plays off the high knuckle of the right middle to come back down to the reds; that's an exhibition shot, and a beauty. He's soon back in control, and Judd is in trouble here.
O'Sullivan 7-4 Trump (10-0)
Ronnie's in again, with a long red to the bottom right that takes him up for the green. There's not much on, so he soon goes into the pack off the blue but he lands on nothing and it's end of break on 10.
O'Sullivan 7-4 Trump
The frame soon goes, before Ronnie banks his third century of this final. A classy 118 extends his lead to three frames.
O'Sullivan 6-4 Trump (54-9)
This is what might win Ronnie his seventh world title - the cold, ruthless punishment of errors. Within no time at all he picks off a half-century, and with all remaining reds in the open this frame looks a banker. It must be intimidating to be on the end of this, knowing any slip can see you lose a frame in five minutes; even if you're as gifted as Judd Trump.
O'Sullivan 6-4 Trump (18-9)
It's another cagey start in frame 11, where Ronnie picks up four points when Judd shorts a two-cushion escape. Judd gets in first though with a long red to the bottom left, but his break is nixed early when he soon misses a tough black along the rail and leaves it in the jaws of the bottom left. Ronnie booms a red in and opens the pack, knowing the black is waiting, and starts to develop the chance that has created.
O'Sullivan 6-4 Trump
Ronnie makes 66, but can't pot a red to bottom right that would completely end the argument. Judd, needing one snooker, picks it off from the jaws but can't pot the black thereafter. Ronnie then steps in and empties the whole table for a round half-ton to take the frame.
O'Sullivan 5-4 Trump (51-6)
All of a sudden Ronnie's break-building brain wires in to this frame, and he's off and running to a half-century. He's moving quickly around the table, and cueing smoothly; this is the Ronnie that dazzled for five frames earlier today. It would have been very easy for him to get distracted by the way he's lost the last three frames, but he looks set to take this one comfortably.
O'Sullivan 5-4 Trump (10-6)
It's a barrage of errors from both so far tonight. Ronnie catches the blue first when playing safe, before Judd gets in but misses a routine yellow when coming back down the table. In riposte, Ronnie drops a red in but leaves the cue in the centre of the pack, and can only play a containing safety off the black. They're both a bit cold here, and then Judd misses a pot that sees the white hit multiple reds and stay at the south of the table. Ronnie is in, and it's a decent chance to rack points up here.
O'Sullivan 5-4 Trump (9-0)
Judd gives up the first points, missing two thin contact safety shots and being warned by Olivier that he'll lob the frame if he misses again. Eventually he plays on a red near the black on the bottom cushion, which leaves Ronnie a red to the left middle. Ronnie dumps it in but can't pot the black; after nearly 18 minutes both players agree a re-rack just to end this tedium. Once more!
O'Sullivan 5-4 Trump (0-0)
A prolonged safety exchange opens frame 10, with neither player giving an inch and all 15 reds dragged over to the bottom right of the table. It's very hard to see how this deadlock will be broken, but it's undeniably absorbing. You might want to brew up for this one.
O'Sullivan 5-4 Trump
There's one of them, as Judd fails to escape from a canny snooker by O'Sullivan and almost leaves a free ball. Ronnie can't land another though and Judd picks off the final red, before clearing up to the pink to seal the frame.
O'Sullivan 5-3 Trump (32-73)
Judd leaves frame ball red to the bottom right, but it's an awkward cut; he drops it in anyway, followed by the yellow, but he can't drop in the final red on the table. Ronnie returns to the table needing two snookers.
O'Sullivan 5-3 Trump (32-54)
It's a pit-a-pat break for Judd, who rattles in a quick half-ton and has the remaining four reds in the wide open. He's cueing very smoothly here, and should take this out in one visit.
O'Sullivan 5-3 Trump (32-0)
We're off; then we quickly have a stalemate and a re-rack, and as they say in sports, we go again. Judd goes in-off immediately after missing a long red, and not only that he's busted the pack wide open. From the D, Ronnie has a gimme; it looks like big trouble for Judd, until Ronnie misses a red to the right middle and he's handed over a huge chance here.
The Crucible is absolutely rocking as Rob Walker brings both players into the arena. We've got nine frames tonight, let's get it happening.
We're hearing from Radzi in the studio that Olivier Marteel gave Ronnie an official warning for an alleged hand gesture. Judd wasn't happy with the timing of said warning, and asked Olivier why he didn't leave it until the end of the session. Anyway, that hopefully clears it all up. Let's press on!
‘Looking for trouble’ - O’Sullivan on referee Marteel
Ronnie bossed the first session for the most part, and will be narked at the fact that he didn't convert 5-1 into something more emphatic; he'd won five on the bike at that point, and had Judd on the ropes. Judd blagged two when he was struggling to beat Mark Williams though, and picked off the final pair of frames in the afternoon to make his world look a whole load brighter. Ronnie, who'd had a lengthy back and forth with referee Olivier Marteel about replacing the white earlier in the day, clashed with him again towards the end of a final frame in which Ronnie blew a great chance to nick it and lead 6-2. That's where we left it, and where we'll pick it up again shortly.
Let's all calm down a bit, shall we? It's time for the evening session. There was a fractious end to the afternoon's play but hopefully a brew and a biscuit has chilled everyone out a little. This is a big, big deal for Ronnie and Judd, obviously, but it's also a huge occasion for referee Olivier Marteel. The stakes are high; I'm always on edge just watching a world final so I can't even comprehend what it's like being one of the three people striding around the table.
Eyes down for the evening session then, in a beautifully poised final at the Crucible.
Ronnie O'Sullivan leads Judd Trump
Ronnie left the arena without shaking hands with Olivier Marteel, Judd did and was laughing as he did so. I think he was quite taken aback by all that, but the upshot is he mopped up at the end and closed the gap in a session in which he was largely outplayed. After the match Rachel Casey grabs a quick interview with Ronnie in his dressing room, who won't go into the incident but says Marteel: 'seems to be looking for trouble, I just get a vibe from the guy.'
We'll be back from 6.45pm BST to see what this final throws up next.
O'Sullivan 5-3 Trump
That documentary that Ronnie has been wired up for will have some pretty lively material. Judd composes himself well, and clears up to the pink to take the frame. He's done well there, because there's quite the atmosphere after that exchange between Ronnie and Olivier. We're still none the wiser as to what happened there and the players leave, Ronnie with a face like thunder. At one point in that exchange he said to Marteel 'you saw nothing.' It'll come out in the wash I'm sure, but what a dramatic end to a fascinating session. It's been overshadowed somewhat, but Judd's pulled the last two out of the bag to trail by two tonight.
O'Sullivan 5-2 Trump (50-59)
Judd can't find the angle to bring the final red away from the black, so banks what points he can and lays a snooker. Ronnie can't connect, missing the red completely and leaving a free ball. Trump tries to cut in a difficult black for a point, but can't drop it in to the bottom left. That leaves Ronnie a look at a cut on that final red...and it's in! There's a chance to nick the frame, but he snookers himself behind the blue! Oh my word. Ronnie blasts at the yellow off two cushions, largely in frustration I think, and hits the black; I'm not sure what happens then, but referee Olivier Marteel goes over to Ronnie in his chair and whispers some kind of warning to him? Ronnie is furious, telling Marteel to check the camera, pointing at him and saying 'Don't start.' Wow. What's gone on there?
Judd isn't happy either, complaining about Marteel breaking his rhythm, but if he clears to the blue here he'll take the frame.
O'Sullivan 5-2 Trump (42-28)
It's 41 for Ronnie and no more, as an attempt to open four reds near the pink spot doesn't work out and he plays safe to baulk. A superb safety in response from Trump snookers Ronnie on all six remaining reds, and earns ten in fouls from two attempts by Ronnie at a glancing, two-cushion escape. The latter effort catches the pink, and opens up the path for a plant to the bottom left. Judd fires it, comes back down the table off the green, and he can nick this.
O'Sullivan 5-2 Trump (14-7)
Judd clips in a long red to start frame eight, but in trying to open the pack off the blue he catches the side of it, leaving only a cut back on a red to bottom right to keep going. He glides it in beautifully, coming across the table and around the back of the black to set up a chance. Just as he seems to be gaining momentum them, fortune boots him in the teeth; a heavy contact throws the black offline and he misses the pot. Ronnie can only get a solitary red down in response though, but has a better look now as Judd misses a long red to the bottom right, and leaves a simple starter to the same pocket. Ronnie snicks it in so thin that he only leaves a long-ish brown to yellow pocket to keep going, but he booms it in followed by a cut back on red to middle, and he's in.
O'Sullivan 5-2 Trump
We don't get the three figures, but a 97 from Judd takes a slice off Ronnie's lead.
O'Sullivan 5-1 Trump (0-69)
A tough cut back to the bottom left is frame ball for Judd, and he rolls it in followed by an emphatic green that ends the argument in this one. Judd needed this, and we've got a big final frame of the session incoming.
O'Sullivan 5-1 Trump (0-51)
Judd rolls in a pink to reach his half-century, just about staying on his next red as he does so. There are a few nervy shots but this is a gutsy effort given how this session has panned out so far.
O'Sullivan 5-1 Trump (0-30)
Judd gets a good look at a long red to start frame seven. He drills it in, but lands the white on the left rail and plays safe back to baulk thereafter. It's not been running for him, but it is now as he fires in a red that Ronnie leaves over the bottom right, trusting to luck for position and then getting it on the black. It's a great chance, and he'll feel a whole lot better about things if he can convert it. Judd's banked 29 and counting so far.
O'Sullivan 5-1 Trump
As soon as the pack was spread open on 26, this was signposted. John Higgins called Ronnie 'lethal' in the balls yesterday, and there's no let up here. Ronnie banks a century with a 105, a record 14th in a Crucible campaign for him, and he's now won five on the spin. It's a long match, but these are worrying signs for Judd, who registered a good break in frame one but has been badly off the boil since. He could do with one of these next two at least.
O'Sullivan 4-1 Trump (51-0)
It's another half-century for Ronnie as he glides a blue into the right middle. I wonder how much Judd is feeling not just his 33-frame epic with Williams, but that calamitous loss of frame four when he handed it to Ronnie on multiple occasions. 5-1 looks nailed on here, and Judd needs to find something from somewhere in this session.
O'Sullivan 4-1 Trump (26-0)
The determination in Ronnie is almost palpable. He thunders in a long red to start frame six, followed by a brown into the left middle to come back down the table. Before long he's opened the pack, jabbed in a short-range red to the bottom left and another tickle of the pack after stunning a red into the bottom left has blown this frame wide open for him. This is Ronnie in his element, and all Judd can do for the moment is watch and hope.
O'Sullivan 4-1 Trump
A 40 from Ronnie does it, as Judd shows no interest in chasing four snookers. That's four in a row from Ronnie, who is starting to bully an under par Judd here.
O'Sullivan 3-1 Trump (53-13)
Ronnie opens the frame right up by splitting the remaining reds off the green, and he's just about on one to the bottom right. That goes, and Judd will be fearing the worst as Ronnie hasn't often failed to convert these in Sheffield this year. He reaches 30 with a sweet blue from mid-range to the green pocket, and is only a few balls away now.
O'Sullivan 3-1 Trump (23-13)
Judd's been a bit loose in this frame, but bullets in a long red to the bottom left to get himself going and he's on the yellow. It needs a number of tough recovery pots just to make 13, before he fails to cut a tough red to the left middle. That's left Ronnie one to the same pocket, which he drops in delicately to land on the pink.
O'Sullivan 3-1 Trump (22-0)
We're back, and it's an immediate chance for Ronnie as Judd almost flukes a red into the bottom left from a safety but leaves it in the jaws. Ronnie picks it off, and comes back up for the blue. He makes 18, before trying to force position from a bullet straight red and rattling it out of the bottom right. It's the only loose red on the table and both players miss a succession of attempted pots on it. Ronnie eventually clips it in and opens the pack off the green, but lands on nothing.
O'Sullivan 3-1 Trump
Oh my word, have a look at this - Judd leaves the black tight to the left rail, and Ronnie fires in a cocked hat double off three cushions to the left middle and he's won the frame!
What a sensational way to end the session, how on earth has Ronnie nicked that one. We'll be back in 15 minutes for more of a final that is already shaping up to be all we hoped.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump (66-66)
Ronnie takes the brown for three points, but can't land on the green. These next five balls are the most significant of the match so far. Eventually, the advantage falls to Judd as Ronnie doubles the green but goes in-off; it's the green off its spot from the D as frame ball...and Judd rolls it out off the knuckles! Oh my. Ronnie can force a respotted black here if he can dish. It needs a thin cut on the brown with the rest and a tricky blue to the right middle, but he's dropped it in to clear up and back comes the black! Judd will absolutely kick himself if he loses this one.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump (38-62)
Well, this might be interesting. Judd makes 52 to leave Ronnie needing a snooker, but can't pot the final red and leaves it in the jaws of the bottom right. Ronnie will go for this, and pots red-pink before going for the snooker on the yellow. It's a poor effort, but Judd can't force the yellow into its own pocket and leaves it in the jaws again. Ronnie drops it in, and then tucks the white tight in behind the brown. Judd tries to escape off two cushions, misses, and he's left a free ball. That's a disaster, and the frame is back on.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump (25-43)
For the first time in serious play today, Ronnie loses position and can't retrieve it; he misses a green to it's own pocket and Judd is just about on a red, which he just about pots with swerve and he can counter. He adds 27, loses position slightly on the pink but then recovers with a wonderful shot around the angles off four cushions to land on his next red. That's a beauty, and the frame is at his mercy.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump (19-10)
After some tap and nudge safety that briefly looks like forcing a re-rack, Judd opens the pack but catches it thick, leaving three reds over pockets. Ronnie stuns one into the bottom left, and then clatters a long blue into the green pocket. What a stunning shot, and he's off and running again.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump (0-10)
Larks here at the start of frame four, as Judd snookers Ronnie on everything bar a chance of a faint flick on a red to the right of the pack. Before he plays it Ronnie checks with Judd to agree that he can see it, just in case he fails to connect. Judd agrees, and Ronnie does miss it; there follows a giggling exchange as referee Olivier Marteel tries to replace the white and Ronnie is unhappy with the position of it. After some three minutes of back and forth, and Judd's intervention, all sides are happy and Ronnie flicks the outside of the red to huge cheers. LOL, as I believe young folk say on the internet. Ronnie then misses a long red to the bottom left a few shots later, and he's left one for Judd who can only take red-blue before having to play safe.
O'Sullivan 2-1 Trump
Judd can't drop in a red to the bottom left, and with one waiting for Ronnie over the right middle this one should be over, but Ronnie takes only a yellow thereafter. Judd keeps going, but misses the black after his first red and that will be that. A quick red-blue-red from Ronnie puts it to bed.
O'Sullivan 1-1 Trump (68-0)
It's another half-century for Ronnie, who has hit some groove here. With positional play under control now he takes the black to move 68 ahead with 67 on, but a split on the final five reds only leaves a tough red to the yellow pocket and he can't pot it.
O'Sullivan 1-1 Trump (26-0)
A safety from Judd is short of pace, but sees the red pull up right in front of the brown. Ronnie manages to cue around it and float a lovely red into the bottom left. He then pots the blue, but blocks his path to a red to the bottom left with the pack. No matter though, as he flukes - at least I think he does - a three ball plant that sends that red into the pocket. A tough brown to the right middle follows, he soon opens the pack and then drops in an excellent pink long to the yellow pocket. He's riding his luck for position here, but this is thrilling stuff. And the look on his boat tells you he is full zoned in to this match.
O'Sullivan 1-1 Trump
The frame is quickly put to bed, and it's time for a landmark; Ronnie makes his 200th century in the World Championship, what a staggering feat that is. It's also his 13th of this tournament, equalling his best ever tally in a Crucible campaign. The break ends on 120, and Ronnie gets a thunderous round of applause.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Trump (50-0)
Ronnie reaches a half-century, and as has been said many times it really is mesmerising watching him work out a break. His touch and focus both look bang on here, just as Judd's did in frame one. Good signs here that we're in for a high quality final.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Trump (22-0)
Here's a chance for Ronnie to hit back, as Judd misses a long one to the bottom right and gifts Ronnie an easy starter. He's into the pack early, affecting a good split, and two good recovery shots on the spin on pink and a red keep his break going. If he can clear a path for the black to both corners, he'll be in business.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Trump
It's a break of 72 from Judd to take the first frame.
O'Sullivan 0-0 Trump (0-67)
The plant had split everything right open, and Judd quickly tidies up 41 and counting, which has put the frame out of Ronnie's reach. Early days, but advantage Judd.
O'Sullivan 0-0 Trump (0-27)
Another poor safety from Ronnie leaves Judd an easy starter, but it's so straight he has no chance to bring out pink or black which are currently tied up. Instead, Judd uses his immense cue power to force the white up towards the blue. He can only make six though before missing a red to bottom left. Neither player has really settled yet, but Judd might now - he's just picked out a superb plant on a red to bottom right and he's on the green.
O'Sullivan 0-0 Trump (0-20)
A misjudged safety from Ronnie leaves a red long to the bottom right. Judd confidently drops it in, and holds for the blue. Thereafter he mops up what's in the open, but in going into the pack off the blue the split doesn't leave him anything to go at, so a safety ensues.
Here we go
Our MC Rob Walker announces the players into a Crucible Theatre that is absolutely jumping. It's potentially a 35 frame slog, and here come eight of them.
Where’s your money?
The consensus seems to be that Ronnie is a slight favourite today. While he has been in the better form of the two, Judd has been winning without tapping into his best game so far. Few players in the game could have withstood that barrage from Mark Williams in the last two sessions of their semi-final, but Judd did and he’ll be right up for this.
As relentless as Judd has been in recent years, the 2021-22 season has seen him in slightly less menacing form than the previous three seasons. That ‘weaker’ season included victory at the Champion of Champions and the Turkish Masters, but he knows that to move up the list of all-time greats he has to produce more in the Triple Crown events. If he can win here, he’ll be just the seventh man to win the world title at the Crucible more than once. One interesting factor in the first session today is how much that epic semi-final victory over Higgins yesterday might have taken out of him.
What a run to the final it’s been for Ronnie. He’s beaten David Gilbert 10-5, Mark Allen 13-4, Stephen Maguire 13-5 and yesterday put John Higgins away 17-11. It’s as good as he’s looked at the Crucible since 2012-14, when he came so close to pulling off three titles in a row. Everything about Ronnie’s game is so compact at the moment and, as Higgins said last night, he’s been lethal when he gets in. He wants that seventh world gong badly, and you can see there’s something different in him this year.
Welcome back to the Crucible. After 15 days of competition, 561 frames and 103 century breaks, it all comes down to this: Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Judd Trump in the final of the 2022 World Snooker Championship.
What a match this promises to be. There are so many good players in the world right now that any combination of John Higgins, Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Zhao Xintong, Kyren Wilson, Luca Brecel, Mark Allen or Yan Bingtao - to name just ten - would have had us rubbing our hands, but let’s not deny what we have here; it’s a showdown we’ve been waiting for, the big one at The Big One.
It's pointless rattling through Ronnie O’Sullivan’s CV again. For those that know – and I’m counting in that list Stephen Hendry and John Higgins, who’ve both said as much – he’s the greatest player the game has ever seen. The point where said greatness was cloaked in the title The Most Naturally Talented Player Ever To Pick Up A Cue while his trophy-winning record caught up has long been surpassed. If he wins here it’ll be world title number seven, drawing him level with Hendry in the modern-era.
As for Judd, this is his third final at the Crucible and his first since winning his one and only world title in 2019. That was a catalysing victory in what’s been a devastating four season run, in which he's won 15 ranking event titles plus the prestigious Champion of Champions and the Masters. Despite that blizzard of victories, he hasn’t landed a Triple Crown event since that victory at the Crucible three years ago. To get to the very top table in the pantheon of greats he still has work to do, and today is a huge staging post on that trip for him.
Add to all of this the occasional sparks and remarks between the two, a major final record that reads 7-3 in Trump’s favour and the only meeting over a comparable distance seeing Ronnie serve Judd 17-11 in the 2013 semi-finals at the Crucible, then you have yourself something to really savour.
This could be a final for the ages, and it’s incoming.
It. Is. Time.
It is Ronnie O'Sullivan versus Judd Trump for the big one, and we'll be with every shot from 12.45pm BST today.
John Higgins has said there is no debate that O’Sullivan is the greatest snooker player of all time.
O’Sullivan beat Higgins 17-11 to advance to his eighth Crucible final - that, despite having "not ideal" preparation, as the Rocket revealed to Eurosport after the match.
A win for O’Sullivan would take him level with Stephen Hendry on seven world titles.
O’Sullivan is widely regarded as the greatest to pick up a cue, but some claim that as Hendry has more world titles he takes higher rank.
A win for O’Sullivan would end the debate for many, but Higgins says it is already clear that the current world No. 1 is the snooker GOAT.
“I think it would cement his place in everybody’s eyes,” Higgins told Eurosport of O’Sullivan.
“I think a lot of people would still hold on to Stephen having the seven World Championships and he is the greatest, but there is no debate in my eyes.”
- 'I didn't even have a dressing room!' - O'Sullivan reveals 'not ideal' Crucible gaffe
- 'An artist' – Did O'Sullivan make the greatest break in World Championship history?
- 'There is no debate in my eyes' - Higgins says O'Sullivan is the snooker GOAT
'I've never seen him with this intensity' - O'Sullivan hits 10th Crucible century of 2022
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