Sunday, 5 May 2013

Final thoughts: O'Sullivan v Hawkins

Ronnie O'Sullivan arrives at the Crucible Theatre this afternoon as the odds on favourite to win a fifth world title.

Barry Hawkins has been all but written off.
Picture by Monique Limbos

The script says the stage has already been cleared for The Rocket to become the first player to defend at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry in 1996, go ahead of John Higgins on world titles won and just behind Steve Davis on six.

O'Sullivan has been here and done it all before. He has all the big match experience and has been the stand-out player of the tournament by a mile. He beat Judd Trump 17-11 in the semi-finals and was a class above in all departments. This has been the story in every round. He has raised the bar.

His focus and quick thinking on the table has been superb. He hasn't trailed at any time throughout the entire World Championship and despite not reaching the levels he did a year ago, he has scarcely been pushed.

This sums up the size of the task facing Hawkins over the next two days and 35 frames.

To snatch the world title from O'Sullivan's grasp would be an achievement of epic proportions. It may even be considered a greater than shock than when Joe Johnson won the World Championship in 1986.

Hawkins has it all to do but can take plenty of heart from his previous meetings with O'Sullivan. Although he trails 5-1 on head to heads, he has run him close more than once and knows he can compete with him. It is whether he can take this level of competitiveness onto the biggest stage of them all, the World Championship.

Picture by Monique Limbos
Barry has had a superb season, while Ronnie has had none. Since winning his first ranking event last summer at the Australian Open he has grown in confidence, climbed back into the top 16 and enjoyed some great wins.

He has saved his best for the Crucible, though. He's knocked out world number one Mark Selby, Chinese sensation Ding Junhui and recovered from 12-8 down to win eight frames in a row en route to beating Ricky Walden in the semi-finals.

No one can question he deserves to be here. He got better and better in his match against Walden to prove he is adapting to his first experience on the one table format here - but he now needs a seismic performance to lift the trophy.

O'Sullivan looks unshakable. He must produce the performance of his life to slay The Rocket.

But the pressure is off. He has already been casted as the runner-up this year.

He has already achieved something way beyond his wildest dreams. He has fought like a warrior for the past fortnight at the Crucible and can afford to enjoy his proudest moment when he walks out into the arena.

This is a dream come true for a player who has given his all throughout his career.

He can afford to enjoy the occasion. O'Sullivan plays with all the expectation. Hawkins is the underdog but should he pull it off, the size of glory that awaits is massive. It would go down as one of the biggest achievements in snooker history.

Enjoy the final.

No comments:

Post a Comment