Englishman Ronnie O’Sullivan, 46, fourth in the hierarchy and six-time world champion (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020), became this Saturday the absolute record for victories in World Cup matches. Modern Era (since 1977), and achieved his 20th qualification for the quarter-finals, with a 71st win at the Crucible stage 29 years ago, made his World Cup debut, in 1993, by 13-4, against the North. Irish Mark Allen, 36, is 13th in the “ranking”, in the round of 16 of the tournament, which will be held in Sheffield (England) until May 2.
In the 94th match since his first appearance in Crucible, on April 18 and 19, 1993, when he lost to Scotsman Alan McManus in the 16th final (7-10), “The Rocket” played 94 matches: 23 defeats, and after the match with “The Revolver” (Mark Allen), now has 71 wins.
In ‘Tires’, after 13-4 to Allen, Ronnie has a disputed 1930 (!) total at Worlds and Crucible, having won 1134 and lost 796. Ridiculous numbers. A unique record of one unanimously referred to as the greatest destined to hold a bat, professional since 1992 and record holder for “ranking” titles (38). With an average of 15/20 minutes per frame, that’s a good thousand hours of competition at the table.
Ronald Antonio (Ronnie) O’Sullivan left the company, in 70 wins, for Scotsman Stephen Hendry in the Crucible, who held a record number of wins from 1986 to 2012 and was the record holder for a decade.
A record that was surpassed by The Rocket to become the absolute record holder. He is now looking for another achievement for the Scotsman considered unbeatable until O’Sullivan’s ‘hexa’ in 2020: equaling in this version the same seven world titles as Stephen Hendry in the Crucible (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999) .
On Saturday afternoon, after the day before, due to the rare (12-4) ‘frame’ unable, like Mark Williams, to ‘send’ the ‘office’ in two sessions and dispense with the third session (the epilogue), it was estimated that Rooney would quickly want to In securing the thirteenth frame, winning, quarter and scoring.
Unsurprisingly, the central divider between the two tables was raised 20 minutes after the session began, so that all 980 spectators at the Crucible could follow the duel between Anthony McGill and Judd Trump, at the next table.
That’s because ‘Rocket’ sealed 13-4 with three hits to the table to score in a game in which he made ten entries with over 50 points, two of which are percentage points – and there are 1159 ‘breaks’ made up of his career three-digit numbers, 189 of them in ‘Theater of Dreams’ and in the Cup the world. Stunning longevity at 46, the hallmark of great voices.
Zhao to the limit before Maguire, but the damage was done
Rooney will aim to win the 72nd World Cup – and secure his thirteenth semi-final (!) presence in 30 years of continuous participation in the biggest club tournament on the planet, in the “Theater of Dreams” – against an old acquaintance, in the “Quarters”: Scotsman Stephen Maguire, 41, 31st in the “ranking”, who spent the morning over 25-year-old Chinese Zhao Xintong, sixth in the hierarchy (13-9).
This will be Rooney and Stephen’s fourth match in the World Championships, but it will be the first in the quarter-finals. The Englishman adds up to the previous three games with victories, always in 16th place, with his victories over Maguire in 2004 (10-6), 2005 (10-9) and 2018 (10-7).
In the total head-to-head history of their careers, it will be the 24th match between the English and the Scots, with O’Sullivan adding 19 victories in 23 duels already completed and four victories for “Maverick” Maguire…
But Maguire, winner of the Lisbon Open title – December 2014, 4-2 to Matthew Sylt in the final – struggled against the exciting champion of the UK Championship 2021. In 2004. That’s because Zhao, trailing 5-11, gave his all.
The Chinese got 6-11 and soon after, with an 85 “break”, 7-11, before Stephen, entering 81 points in the nineteenth part, set himself up for the win, with 12-7. Zhao continued to build numbers and entering 67 earned him 8-12 and a guarantee that there would be a break in this last session.
But the damage to Zhao came from the previous two rounds, and Maguire won it (2-6 and 3-5, respectively), and it was done. Xintong still managed to score 9-12, but became the fourth seed at the World Cup dropping – after Sean Murphy, Barry Hawkins and Deng Junhui – to a player coming out of the Round 22 qualification, with Maguire’s 59 points. Entry to make it 13-9.
Pingtao leads against Champion Selby (9-7)
After Welshman Mark Williams, Maguire and O’Sullivan on Saturday become the second and third eligible for the “Quarter-finals”, where his already scheduled first encounter will fully affect the Scottish player against the Englishman.
But Williams will also be known on this day, after the evening session (19 hours) and the conclusion of the confrontation between the defending champion and first place, 38-year-old Englishman Mark Selby (four-time world champion, in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2021), and China’s Yan Pingtao, 22, is 15th in the hierarchy, his rival in ‘quarters’, with half of the next round settled – two of the four matches with qualifying champions.
“Shark” (Mark “Shark” Selby) and “Tiger” (Pengtao) met in the morning, at the table next to Zhao Xintong and Stephen Maguire, the second course of the duel – after 4-4 in the first of three parts, on Friday, when he advanced Yan is already 3-1 and 4-2…
The Asians did better. With another centenary (101 entry points) he regained the lead (5-4), which he consolidated with two partial wins after that, with 6-4 confirming that the world champion fell into the “eighth” contender…very difficult.
The conviction that was cut by 7-4. The Englishman provided evidence of life in the last “frame” before the break, with Percent (132 points) to ease 5-7, but on a 91-point resumption gave 8-5 liane.
The 2021 Masters champion had already charmed Chris Wakelin, at ’16’ and proved it again before the current champion: Bingtao is a sure candidate to give Asia and China the world title that Deng Junhui had been trying for years in vain.
Yan is very strong tactically, granite in defensive game and ruthless in attack. He gave Selby a taste of his own medicine: he deals with competitors, who when they come to the table usually can do little (no pocket ball, or snooker) and at the slightest opening, he cleans the cloth of balls relentlessly!
Red was missed by the Chinese – one of his few mistakes – when he scored 44 points in the lead, in the 14th “frame” Mark gave the opportunity to, with a “break” of 64 points, instead of the problematic 5-9 to get 6-8. Then a clean table and a percentile (131 points) for Selby to re-score to 7-8.
It was an English moment. He had 8-8 in hand for the night session, in an amazing and tactical 16th part, but failure to pocket another red on the table gave Jan the opportunity to advance again (9-7) at the start to make the decision at 19:00.
A match in which Selby has, so far, only gone 1-0 up, and he deserves it definitively: amazing! Mark never gave up, but Bingtao seemed to be his opponent. It promises the first dawn “in the shape of a crucible”, six and a half hours later for the first 16 partial …
Two more heroes on the table, Neil and Judd
As mentioned earlier, on the table next to the one where Rooney beat Allen on the Crucible podium, was the opening session of the round of 16 match between the 2019 world champion and third place in the hierarchy, England’s Judd Trump, 32, third in the hierarchy, with Scot Anthony McGill, 31, 17th in order.
From 7 pm, at the next table where Selby and Pengtao conclude their duel, it is the turn of the 2010 world champion and world number two, Australian Neil Robertson, 40, and England’s Jack Lisowski, 30, twelfth place in the ‘ranking’, also start the first session From the game “Eight”.
The World Cup is the biggest event of the 2021/22 World Snooker season, with results in the ‘ranking’ and awarding £2,395 million in prize money (€28,67,474), of which half a million £598,638 is for the champion and £1. 200,000 euros (239,435 euros) for second place.
The competition runs until May 2, at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield (England), is broadcast on TV in Portugal (EuroSport) and was won by England’s Mark Selby in 2021 (18-15 to Shawn Murphy in the final).
“Eights”, like “Quarters”, are played with the best 25 “frames”: the first to win 13 parts (13-0 to 13-12 is possible), in three sessions: if eight “frames” are in the first session, eight Others in the second session and up to nine parts are possible in the third session, those of the result.
Round of 16, Saturday matches (qualifiers in black):
Zhao Xintong-Stephen Maguire9-13
Marker’s career: 1-0; 1-2; 3-2; 3-6; 4-6; 4-8; 5-8; 5-11; 7-11; 7-12; 9-12; 9-13;
Mark Allen-Ronnie O’Sullivan4-13
Marker’s career: 0-1; 1-1; 1-6; 3-6; 3-10; 4-10; 4-13;
Mark Selby Yan Bingtao, 7-9 (Closing, 7 p.m.)
Anthony McGill Judd Trump, 1-0 (ongoing)
Neil Robertson Jack Lisowski (1st session, 7 p.m.)
Mark Selby Yan Bingtao, 7-9
jackson page-Mark Williams3-13
Keren Wilson Stewart Bingham
Anthony McGill Judd Trump, 1-0
Neil Robertson Jack Lisowski
Noppon Saengham John Higgins
Zhao Xintong-Stephen Maguire9-13
Mark Allen-Ronnie O’Sullivan4-13
Mark Selby/Yan Bingtao – Mark Williams (Tuesday 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Wednesday 2.30 p.m.)
Keren Wilson/Stuart Bingham and Anthony McGill/Judd Trump (Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Wed 10 a.m. 7 p.m.)
Neil Robertson / Jack Lisowski-Nobon Saengkham / John Higgins (Tuesday 2.30 pm, Wednesday 2.30 pm and 7 pm)
Stephen Maguire Ronnie O’Sullivan (Tuesday 10 a.m. 7 p.m., Wed 10 a.m.)