Sunday, 29 April 2012

Going up the gears

Top players always find a way of stepping up their game when it matters most.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump both did exactly that at the Crucible this afternoon, coming out and letting their opponents feel the force.

Picture by Monique Limbos
The Rocket was particularly in fine tune. Starting out 5-3 ahead of Mark Williams he strung together a run of six straight frames to take the tie almost beyond the Welshman. Although the two-time champion nicked the last two frames to finish the session at 11-5, Ronnie's place in the quarter-finals is almost assured.

O'Sullivan was confident and stylish; he was unplayable at times, showing the kind of form that could put him in with a real chance of a fourth world title.

You could do little but feel sorry for Williams who always seems to meet Ronnie on the top of his game.

While it was easy to admire the Rocket's panache, it's worth remembering that his chances were arriving easily. If he is to complete the job and meet Neil Robertson in the quarter-final, he'll be made to work a whole lot harder.

As for Judd, it was great to see him back to his old self.

Picture by Monique Limbos
After labouring past Dominic Dale in round one while plagued by food poisoning, he didn't start his second round match with Ali Carter much better either. He trailed 5-3 after the first session but came out all guns blazing on the other side of the curtain to Ronnie, to haul himself back into the match.

Trump was back playing with great attacking intent and stole six of the eight frames on offer to swing the momentum of the match back in his favour to lead 9-7.

It felt as if this was the session Judd needed to up his level of performance, and that's exactly what he did.

Carter bemoaned Trump's run of the ball but luck favours the brave and the manner in which he took the game to Ali definitely deserved rich reward.

Ronnie and Judd showed the streak of champions today, upping the gears at the crucial moment in their matches. They're both on course for a place in the final eight and will take confidence from a draw that has quickly opened up with some high profile casualties in round one.

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