A total of 109 players entered this year’s World Championship. Of these, 32 made the Crucible, including great champions of the past and likely winners of the future.
However, it seems inconceivable now that Ronnie O’Sullivan won’t be the last man standing on Monday.
He has clinically taken Stephen Hendry apart in this morning’s session of their semi-final and I can’t see Ali Carter or Joe Perry stopping him in the final.
It was the first time Hendry has suffered a session whitewash in 23 Crucible appearances encompassing 80 matches. It was the seventh session whitewash in a Crucible semi-final and the third by O'Sullivan at Sheffield.
O'Sullivan has now constructed 47 centuries this season. If he makes seven more in the rest of this match and the final he will surpass Hendry's record of 53, set in the 1993/94 campaign.
This would be remarkable because it would have been accomplished in far fewer tournaments - 9 compared with Hendry's 15.
O'Sullivan is also now tied with John Higgins on 85 centuries, with Hendry still top at Sheffield on 116.
Some would argue the Rocket’s had an easy draw but I’d say this is unfair: it was only ‘easy’ because he is so good.
His main fortune has been to avoid players who play the kind of game he dislikes: slow, scrappy and drawn out.
All of his opponents thus far – Liu Chuang, Mark Williams, Liang Wenbo and Stephen Hendry – are open, attacking players who go for their shots. There is no better player in the modern game at this kind of snooker than O’Sullivan, so their approach would have suited him fine.
A Hendry comeback looks unlikely now and Carter or Perry will have to produce the snooker of their life to prevent Ronnie completing a hat-trick of world titles.