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World Snooker Championship 2022

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Post by Duty281 Thu 14 Apr 2022, 5:19 pm

Starts on Saturday, with Mark Selby defending his title.

Bookmakers favourite for this year is 2010 champion Neil Robertson and with good reason - he's won four events this season, more than anyone else, including the Masters and the recent Tour Championship, in which he completed a thrilling comeback to beat Higgins in the final. But Robertson has struggled at the Crucible since winning the event in 2010, only making one semi-final since then.

Defending champion Selby, Trump and O'Sullivan are also well in the running, but have had fairly quiet years by their illustrious standards, winning three events between them, with Selby failing to make the final of any tournament since his victory at the Crucible in 2021.

Higgins has been in solid form this year and he will be backing himself to do well. While he's only won one event this year, he has finished runner-up in five other events and has, rather astonishingly, lost three of those in final-frame deciders. However it could be a year for the first Chinese winner of the event, and Zhao Xintong (recent winner of the UK Championship) is the leading name for that country this year, with Yan Bingtao and the ever-popular Ding Junhui (who squeezed through in the qualifiers) also present.

The Draw:

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Post by Afro Thu 14 Apr 2022, 6:38 pm

I'm going for a Wilson v Higgins final.
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Post by Duty281 Fri 15 Apr 2022, 10:52 pm

Very tough year to predict. I think the winner of the (likely) Robertson/Higgins QF will go on to win the trophy. The top half is so open, there's about ten names that I wouldn't be surprised at if they made the final.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 16 Apr 2022, 1:48 pm

Afro wrote:I'm going for a Wilson v Higgins final.

Decent shout. One thing that has counted against Higgins in recent years - mental stamina.
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Post by Duty281 Sun 17 Apr 2022, 2:11 pm

Strong early statement from Zhao - beating Clarke 10-2.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 21 Apr 2022, 11:19 am

Early thoughts?

As Duty says Zhao looked good. Thought Mark Williams looked really good. Selby a little tentative but got the job done comfortably. Higgins and O'Sullivan blew warm and cold. High standard in the Wilson/Ding match which Wilson edged. Bingham also looked decent as did Welsh youngster Page.
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Post by EdWoodjr Fri 22 Apr 2022, 5:27 pm

Mark Williams demolishing Jackson Page with 14 breaks over 50. That’s surely a Crucible record in a best-of-25.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 7:18 pm

Phenomenal start from Mark Williams, 23-6 in terms of frames won, but he will face a steeper test v Selby/Bingtao.

None of the other front-runners have really impressed, until O'Sullivan's strong start v Allen this morning. Zhao on his way out v Maguire, so it's Bingtao or nowt for China.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 22 Apr 2022, 9:49 pm

The level the class of 92 are still capable of is incredible, I don't expect any of them to win the title but on form they're irrepressible.

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Post by Duty281 Sat 23 Apr 2022, 10:55 pm

Selby on his way out to Yan Bingtao, 13-10. Yan's biggest win on the Crucible stage. There was a marathon 22nd frame that took nearly ninety minutes along the way.

Saw a bit of Trump earlier, he looks really out of sorts. Robertson, also, struggling along.

Anyone's year. Williams and O'Sullivan currently look the strongest by far.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 25 Apr 2022, 3:28 pm

Bingham close to knocking out Kyren WIlson.

Really seems to be a lack of a clear favourite for this - perhaps shows how different the long format matches are from the best of 9 or best of 7. The older guys (Williams, Ronnie, Higgins) currently looking strong, but all have become prone to lapses later in their careers, so really anyone's guess for the title.

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Post by Duty281 Mon 25 Apr 2022, 4:18 pm

That concludes a really disappointing season for Wilson, and his first failure to reach the QFs of the Crucible since 2015.

Robertson, the pre-tournament favourite, 7-9 down v Lisowski meaning the Australian is again struggling at the Crucible and looks far removed from the player he's been for most of this season. Even if he does still squeeze through tonight, I can't see him beating Higgins in the quarters.

Could be Williams/Bingham/Higgins/RoS in the semis, all four of them in the 45+ age bracket.

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Post by Duty281 Mon 25 Apr 2022, 10:34 pm

Lisowki downs the tournament favourite by 13-12. Great game. Robertson coming back superbly from 7-10 down, a maximum on the way, but shelled the main chance when he was 12-11 and 55-0 up. Then the nerviest final frame you could ever wish to see, with countless chances for both.

Robertson's struggles at the Crucible continue. Huge win for Lisowski. He's an exciting player to watch, tremendous cue power, but his poor safety play is a constant issue for him, and that's why I think he'll come up short against Higgins. Plus that game starts tomorrow afternoon, so not much time for Lisowski to mentally recover.

Think Ronnie and Williams will be comfortable in their respective quarter-finals. Trump a favourite v Bingham, but not a massive one.

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Post by 88Chris05 Mon 25 Apr 2022, 10:44 pm

So Lisowski pulls the upset and pips Robertson 13-12 to move into the Quarter Finals. Absolutely superb match with some great shot-making mixed with some dodgy tactical play which only heightened the tension and drama.

I thought Lisowski had blown it when he missed that chance to go 11-7. Robertson hit something like his best form for the frames immediately afterwards and the interval came at a good time for Lisowski, because with the momentum he had and form he was suddenly showing Robertson looked as if he might run away to 13-10 if they'd have kept playing.

Apart from those few frames in and around the maximum, Robertson was never really at his best throughout the match and if Lisowski had let this slip he'd have been kicking himself. He's still a bit wet behind the ears tactically and when his scoring dries up those weaknesses get exposed, but Robertson just couldn't raise his game at the key moments. Lisowski has so much talent, though, and it's a bit of a joke that he's still awaiting his first ranking title. I don't think he's likely to get it here, but I'm glad he's still in as he's such an easy-on-the-eye player.

As for Robertson, it's the same old tale. Consistent winner elsewhere across the tour, has arrived in Sheffield as the form man and guy to beat two or three times since he won the World in 2010, but again just can't quite maintain or recreate it at the Crucible. Not winning it again is one thing, and of course all the big guns have their first or second round exits now and then. But only making one semi final (with a few first round exits thrown in) in twelve attempts since? Bit of a joke really considering his ability and the amount he's won elsewhere. It's not a coincidence that he's been flattering to deceive relative to his talents at the Crucible for so long - for whatever reason, he seems to have some kind of confidence, comfort or mental issue when it comes to this tournament which prevents him from reaching those same heights he hits elsewhere. I think you can see it in his demeanor, shot selection and inability to close out tight situations in Sheffield as opposed to elsewhere as well.
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Post by 88Chris05 Mon 25 Apr 2022, 11:04 pm

As for how the rest of the tournament is shaping up and might pan out...

I'm picking Higgins to make yet another final, albeit finals haven't been a happy hunting ground for him in recent years, both at the Crucible and elsewhere. Assuming he's anywhere near his best I think he knows way too much for Lisowski across three sessions. I can't see Maguire giving O'Sullivan much of an argument to be honest, so I think it's a Higgins-O'Sullivan semi, and taking everything into consideration I think I fancy John over Ronnie in that one - just.

Could be the bias talking, as the romantic in me wants to see Higgins win a fifth title. He's lost big finals in recent times to all of Yan, Williams and Trump, so it'll take a lot of mental fortitude for him to beat any of them if he makes it and that's who he finds waiting for him from the other side of the draw. By his own admission, Higgins' mind has had a few wobbles these past few years.

2017 was probably the best chance he had of a fifth title - one he should have taken as he can't really beat himself up about either of 2018 or 2019 - and it's likely just beyond him now. Realistically I'd have Trump as favourite at this stage even though he's not at his brilliant best either. I guess a hell of a lot of observers would like an O'Sullivan-Trump final. Old king against the new one.
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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 26 Apr 2022, 8:20 am

88Chris05 wrote:
As for Robertson, it's the same old tale. Consistent winner elsewhere across the tour, has arrived in Sheffield as the form man and guy to beat two or three times since he won the World in 2010, but again just can't quite maintain or recreate it at the Crucible. Not winning it again is one thing, and of course all the big guns have their first or second round exits now and then. But only making one semi final (with a few first round exits thrown in) in twelve attempts since? Bit of a joke really considering his ability and the amount he's won elsewhere. It's not a coincidence that he's been flattering to deceive relative to his talents at the Crucible for so long - for whatever reason, he seems to have some kind of confidence, comfort or mental issue when it comes to this tournament which prevents him from reaching those same heights he hits elsewhere. I think you can see it in his demeanor, shot selection and inability to close out tight situations in Sheffield as opposed to elsewhere as well.

I never expect Robertson to do well and it's predictable he'll lose early on. That is a confidence issue or him not hitting the heights, it's simply his level, a very good to great player over shorter formats but one found wanting when it really matters. His title win in 2010 is a real outlier, he didn't face any one of the top players who knocked each other out, that isn't his fault but it does explain his over achievement that year.

Elsewhere you don't play over 25 frames, even the UK championship has been watered down in the past decade, gone are the days of best of 17 first round matches.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 26 Apr 2022, 11:19 am

I hope we get the Higgins-O'Sullivan semi-final. It could be one for the ages, the two greatest players of this century so far meeting for the first time at the Crucible since 2011, and the first time in a marathon distance since the 2001 world final.

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Post by Afro Wed 27 Apr 2022, 11:38 am

We could be looking at Higgins v O'Sullivan and Bingham v Williams, which would make the semi finalists ages 44, 45, 46 and 47!

Not often Bingham is the youngster!
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Post by Duty281 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 12:15 pm

Trump's had an absolute nightmare this morning, Bingham's taken five on the bounce. Ronnie was in absolute cruise control and has comfortably defeated all three opponents thus far, without reaching peak performance.

Williams finally had his first poor session of the tournament last night, but still managed to win two frames out of eight, leaving it 8-8 going into the afternoon. Could go to the wire, but equally I wouldn't be surprised if Williams steps it up again and blows Yan away 13-9/13-10.

Higgins is incredibly inconsistent and can't put consecutive good sessions together. He had a poor one v Lisowki yesterday, but is still 5-3 up and should make the semis.

Overall, I don't think Ronnie will have a better chance than this to level Hendry's seven, but the canny Higgins still presents the biggest obstacle.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 27 Apr 2022, 12:24 pm

Mark Williams has said he struggles playing in the evening so hopefully he's back on form this afternoon.

It's interesting that we consider Judd Trump quite young in modern snooker terms. At the same age Hendry had won the world championship seven times and was months away from competing in his last final while Steve Davis had already played in his.

Titles by 32

Hendry- 7
Davis- 6

Higgins- 2 (4)
Williams- 2 (3)
O'Sullivan- 2 (6)
Trump- 1
Selby- 1 (4)

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Post by Duty281 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 5:43 pm

A frustrated Williams finally put it all together when 10-11 down to win 13-11, a sublime final few frames. The other two QFs firmly in the balance, with Higgins still struggling to be at his consistent best.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 11:11 pm

Amazing evening of snooker. Trump rolling through from 5-8 down to win 13-8, then Higgins showing true grit to recover from 11-12 down to defeat Lisowski with two stupendous, pressure-filled breaks. Classic Higgins.

It's the class of 92 and the man who is 32 in the semi-finals.

Trump-Williams - favouring Trump for this one. He has the superior H2H record, has a level to his game which is beyond Williams, and he's gradually improving after a messy start to the competition. Williams may have played the better snooker so far, but he struggled when put under pressure for the first time v Yan, and I think Trump will exploit that to win by 4-5 frames.

Higgins-O'Sullivan - clash of the ages. Think I'm narrowly, narrowly favouring O'Sullivan. Higgins would have been my pick pre-tournament, but O'Sullivan has played the better snooker of the two so far and looks in as good nick mentally as I've ever seen him. But Higgins certainly can't be discounted as he's beaten O'Sullivan in six out of their last seven meetings and has the tactical game to tie the six-time champion up in knots. Could go either way, wouldn't be surprised if it goes to a decider.

I think O'Sullivan-Trump would be the best final, but it's an amazing final four.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:12 am

I'd always favour Higgins over O'Sullivan, Ronnie has so much respect for John that he tends to play within himself and almost concedes the tactical battle before it's even started. It's the final four I was hoping for and really don't mind who wins from here, should be an entertaining final three matches.

11 years since Higgins won a triple crown event which is quite extraordinary considering his overall consistency.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 28 Apr 2022, 10:48 am

I agree with Duty with regards O' Sullivan V Higgins match. Higgins has been inconsistent in various areas so far blowing hot and cold. He won't beat Ronnie playing like that. For that reason I reckon O'Sullivan will win that match as he has been more consistent and had a smoother journey through to the semis. A similar story in the other semi where I think Williams wins as has been far more consistent than Trump so far.
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Post by Duty281 Thu 28 Apr 2022, 4:39 pm

Wouldn't like to call a semi-final over after one session, but Trump's 7-1 ahead and I can't see a way back for Williams. The virtues of peaking at the right time.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 29 Apr 2022, 5:44 pm

Ronnie in charge of his semi-final, leading 10-6 after a superb second session where he nicked two frames in outrageous fashion, including one on a respotted black. Higgins will have to exhibit his famous fortitude tomorrow morning to get back in contention.

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Post by 88Chris05 Fri 29 Apr 2022, 5:46 pm

Honestly think Higgins has thrown his chance of winning this match away there in that final frame. He'd have been very happy only being 7-9 down considering how poor he's been so far. I don't know why he didn't just take the pink for frame ball rather than the black, it was the easier shot and still would have left O'Sullivan needing two snookers. Obviously he should have potted what was still a pretty straightforward black to clinch it, but for some reason I just knew he was going to miss it - just one of those inklings you get.

I also thought his arse went a bit on the re-spotted black. Crazy pot to go for under the circumstances, he should have waited for a better chance.

6-10 down, he's got a bit of a mountain to climb now. I'd expect him to be better tomorrow and he's shown he can make O'Sullivan wilt before, but O'Sullivan hasn't been near his best either and likewise I'd expect more from him tomorrow as well.
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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Apr 2022, 1:31 pm

Ronnie's running away with it at 15-9. Some very fine snooker from O'Sullivan in this match, a genius break early today, couple of centuries and some fine safety play. Different class.

Higgins had his chances, particularly at 12-9 and 13-9 down, but hasn't grasped them. I wonder if his problems are psychological, he regularly makes it to the late stage of tournaments but rarely takes the trophy itself.

Williams may still come back after an astonishing evening session yesterday, he only trails 13-11 now. But if Trump holds on we should get the dream final.

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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 30 Apr 2022, 1:43 pm

Hard to see O'Sullivan not winning the title from here, neither Trump or Williams have the tactical game to frustrate him. It's going to be a sorry state of affairs when the class of 92 finally drop off.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 30 Apr 2022, 8:33 pm

O’Sullivan beat Higgins 17-11. Ronnie at his best there’s no one on his level.

Trump beat Williams 17-16. Final frame was scrappy but Trump got over the line.

Got to massively favour Ronnie to get #7

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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Apr 2022, 8:40 pm

Amazed Williams couldn't complete the comeback. He had two jaw-dropping flukes but couldn't take advantage of either. Some effort from 1-7 down, agony not to complete it.

O'Sullivan was fantastic. One of his best victories. And Monday could be his finest day if he takes down Trump.

I make Ronnie a fairly strong favourite, he looks as good as I've ever seen him and his record in Crucible finals is magnificent, but Trump has the potential to turn him over. Trump's been steadily growing into this tournament, and we saw in the 2019 final how good he can be. Perhaps Ronnie will also feel pressure at equalling Hendry?

Prediction would be O'Sullivan to win 18-12/18-13.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 01 May 2022, 9:07 am

Trump has been steadily improving throughout the tournament and even though Williams mounted a magical comeback it was not because Trump capitulated but more because of the brilliance of Williams he showed steel to get the job done by winning the last two frames. To think his brain was scrambled pre-tournament then this is mighty impressive to reach the final. The other semi did not match up to it. That is because you need two players playing well for that to happen and Higgins was very poor as can be seen by his paltry scoring. His positional play was off, his break-building very sporadic by his high standards and positional play too loose. Ronnie can only beat who he has in front of him though. Should be a cracking final - Trump to win 18-14.
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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 01 May 2022, 4:12 pm

O’Sullivan 5-3 up after the first session. Trump needed a huge stroke of fortune to win frames 7 and 8.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 01 May 2022, 4:23 pm

O'Sullivan looking imperious for the most part, but those last two frames keeping Trump in touch, that last tight frame could be pivotal.

Ronnie's biggest problem appears to be the ref.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 01 May 2022, 8:38 pm

Ronnie wins 3 frames in a row to lead 8-4 at the interval. Trump seems to be crumbling under the pressure.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 01 May 2022, 10:10 pm

Ronnie dominates the evening session winning 7 frames to Trump’s 2. 12-5

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Post by Duty281 Sun 01 May 2022, 10:17 pm

If it was an old style best of 145, Trump's still in it.

But it's best of 35 and it's over. Ronnie's the greatest and it's amazing to watch.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 02 May 2022, 3:53 pm

Trump wins the afternoon session 6-2. Ronnie takes 14-11 lead into the evening session.

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Post by JDizzle Mon 02 May 2022, 5:49 pm

Had the pleasure of watching the first session of the final - and was a joy to see Ronnie in person. Quite a few framers were scrappy (black ending up on the cushion etc) and Trump wasn’t at his best but Ronnie was majestic.

The Friday evening session with Williams was the best I saw live though. Williams long potting was ridiculous all evening.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 02 May 2022, 8:04 pm

Ronnie moves to match point 17-12 ahead at the mid session interval.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 02 May 2022, 8:57 pm

Destiny fulfilled as Ronnie O’Sullivan wins his 7th world championship. Valiant effort by Judd Trump but Ronnie was a level above.
Dare I say it ‘Sir Ronnie’ sounds fitting.

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Post by Duty281 Mon 02 May 2022, 9:31 pm

Well done Ronnie. clap

Absolutely dominated this tournament. A class above anyone else. Only one who got close to his level was Williams in the early rounds, but he couldn't sustain it. Ronnie's safety play and mental calmness was fantastic to witness this year, as was the customary break-building.

No dispute that he's now the greatest. The win over Selby in 2020 was a sliding doors moment, I reckon. If he doesn't triumph there, maybe he stays at 5. But he triumphed and is now on 7. If he can sustain this level for another five years, he should win at least one more, maybe even two or three. Doesn't that sound lovely? Sir Ronald, absolutely.

The way that Ronnie's turned everything around since the mid 2000s is beautiful, and can be an inspiration to anyone. He deserves this. It was his finest day.

Looking forward to the documentary that's being made about him with this tournament being a central focus.

As for the rest of snooker, I'm not sure it's in a good state. I expect we'll have the same names - Trump, Robertson, O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams, Selby - in and around the top of the game for the next five years, and I don't think there's a lot coming through, other than Zhao Xintong and maybe Jack Lisowski (no safety game at the moment, bit like early Trump). And it's been in that state for a while. It's as though the game is frozen, similar to tennis. If you look at the snooker world rankings in 2010/11, you'll see the same names at the top as you do today, with only a few who have since dropped off. And as Soul said, once the class of 92 retire there will be a chasm at the top of the game.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 03 May 2022, 8:14 am

O'Sullivan is the best player to have ever played the game but whether that translates to greatest or not is up for debate, at no point has he reached the levels of domination of either Davis or Hendry. He's won two of the last three despite his level being nowhere near what it was twenty years ago when he was struggling to win his first, that shows the gulf in talent from then to now.

We get easily swept up on the century making wave but that doesn't mean too much overall; i'll use Robertson as an example of that, when it matters he's not good enough.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 03 May 2022, 2:01 pm

O'Sullivan's level is better than it was two decades ago. He hits 50+ and century breaks with greater frequency, his mental game is tougher, and his safety/tactical play is much improved.

Fair to say he hasn't dominated like Davis or Hendry did, but O'Sullivan's managed to stay at the top of the game for the best part of thirty years, something which the other two couldn't manage. Hendry dropped off very quickly once the competition started catching up to him.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 03 May 2022, 2:17 pm

Duty281 wrote:O'Sullivan's level is better than it was two decades ago. He hits 50+ and century breaks with greater frequency, his mental game is tougher, and his safety/tactical play is much improved.

Fair to say he hasn't dominated like Davis or Hendry did, but O'Sullivan's managed to stay at the top of the game for the best part of thirty years, something which the other two couldn't manage. Hendry dropped off very quickly once the competition started catching up to him.

So does Mark Williams and he's not the player he was twenty years ago, scoring big is easier now because the overall tactical game has dropped off a cliff. Mark Selby is as good as anyone there's ever been tactically but Higgins for instance isn't the tactical master he once was but still regularly makes the single table format. O'Sullivan has been near the top of the game for the best part of thirty years, not at THE top like Davis and Hendry were for a whole decade, that is an important distinction to make.

O'Sullivan is like I said the best player i've seen pick up a cue but he's still third in the greatness stakes for me.

Triple Crown

O'Sullivan- 21 (1993-2022)
Hendry- 18 (1989-1999)
Davis- 15 (1980-1997*)

*1997 Masters win was 8 years after his 14th

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Post by dummy_half Tue 03 May 2022, 5:55 pm

Ronnie is undoubtedly the most gifted player to reach the top of the game - other 'natural' talents like Jimmy White and Alex Higgins obviously fell short of his consistency over a long period.
Davis is undoubtedly the best 'made' player of all time - obviously not without talent, but I doubt anyone has ever worked harder at their game to reach the very top.
Hendry was somewhere in between - had talent almost like Ronnie's and focus like Davis, which made him probably the most dominant player, as the 18 triple crown titles in an eleven year spell demonstrates, although Davis's 14 in 9 years is not far off, and would look better if his dominance hadn't been so obviously usurped by Hendry.

.Always found peak era Hendry almost unwatchable, because he just never seemed to miss, and was so cool under pressure. Kind if removed the sense of jeopardy from the sport

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Post by VTR Tue 03 May 2022, 8:11 pm

I think Ronnie is the clear all time number one after yesterday. He now has the number of titles, longevity and skill levels all now level or ahead of anyone else. Peak Hendry is still the most dominant player ever, winning nearly all the triple crown titles between 1989 and 1995 including runs of 5 World champs and 5 Masters in a row. But it was all relatively shortlived, and once the generation of O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams and to a lesser extent the likes of Doherty, Stevens and Hunter came through he wasn't even reaching major finals very often

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Post by No name Bertie Wed 04 May 2022, 11:18 am

Calling someone the best of all time or the greatest of all time, in my view, is far too reductive and unnecessarily simplistic. However such debates are quite popular across the various sports and keeps people occupied and sometimes at each others throats.

That said I am for some reason quite pleased that Ronnie O'Sullivan has matched Hendry's number of world titles. It seems that Ronnie O'Sullivan has had two snooker careers - his younger self with fast snooker and his older slower self.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 04 May 2022, 11:55 am

O'Sullivan is still consistently the second quickest player on tour, Un-Nooh is the only one who bests him in that regard. The overall list has some surprising positions, Joe Perry who I always considered a fairly slow and considered player is 12th, quicker than both Williams and Trump.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 04 May 2022, 9:38 pm

World Seniors on for the next few days, although some of those 'seniors' are actually younger than three of the semi-finalists in the main event.

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