Saturday, 20 April 2013

Rocket takes off

Ronnie O'Sullivan returned to snooker today and it was like he was never even away.

He beat Marcus Campbell 10-4 in his first major match since defeating Ali Carter in the World Championship final a year ago, and any signs of rustiness were curiously absent.
Picture by Monique Limbos

The cue ball was moving around the table effortlessly and in amongst the balls, Ronnie scored smoothly and efficiently.

It was almost as if he just had to flick a switch back into snooker mode. This deserves credit because playing well in practice is very different to performing in an intense competition and under the spotlights of the Crucible. He made the transition with ease.

O'Sullivan has clearly been putting the work in and was sharp in dispatching Campbell, but this wasn't the finished product.

This was a comfortable start for Ronnie but things will get a whole lot tougher yet.

The Rocket will have to improve his long game and toughen up in the scrappy frames if he is return to win his fifth world title, but the signs so far are very good.

He took advantage of the chances he was always going to get against Campbell, who has never produced his best at televised stages of major events. This was a case of a job well done.

His performance was good enough and he looks in a serious frame of mind to go all the way. But it could still go either way. Ronnie has other gears to glide through but also looked beatable today.

He has a whole week before his second round match against either Carter or Ben Woollaston. He will be working hard to brush up his game further.

O'Sullivan completely, and understandably, stole all he media attention today. Until next Saturday, the tournament will return to the situation the sport has been in all season: one without its star attraction.

There are many other great players bidding to become world champion this year. We can take a look at them now and prove the show goes on, as it has all year.

Ronnie created a memorable opening day at the Crucible. There is plenty more to come.

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