Friday, 27 April 2012

Legends meet

Sixteen years of Crucible champions meet in the second round of this year's World Championship.

Seven-time winner Stephen Hendry plays his four-time winning fellow countryman John Higgins and three-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan meet two-time winner Mark Williams.

And these two ties promise to be the stand-out matches in a second round line-up offering a great mix of seeds and qualifiers.

Not only will we see the meeting of four of the sport's legends who have won 16 of the last 22 Crucible crowns, but there's an even greater plot to each of these matches too.

Hendry and Higgins have remarkably never played each other at the biggest event despite a huge career crossover, and this is arguably a tie Scotland's snooker fans have always been waiting for.

Well, now they have it. Defending champion Higgins has had a below par season when compared with his last but showed his trademark hard-to-beat style in his first round match against Liang Wenbo, while Hendry played as well as he has in a long time to see off Stuart Bingham.

Higgins goes into the match as favourite. He's got a proven track record of winning when he's not at his best while I have doubts whether Hendry can produce the same standard as he did earlier in the week.

In the other match, O'Sullivan has gone a decade without defeat to Williams.

The Welshman never seems to produce his best against the Rocket but is looking for a run in Sheffield to remedy a season that has turned rather flat since his defeat in the Shanghai Masters final back in September.

Ronnie appears to be in the right frame of mind for an assault at the title probably enjoys playing free-flowing Williams more than most other professionals.

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