Just as not much was expected of Ronnie O'Sullivan, many feel John Higgins is the man to beat at the Crucible.

But O'Sullivan silenced the doubters - at least for now - with a superb display against Dominic Dale. Can Higgins now deliver against Stephen Lee?

Higgins played Lee on his TV comeback at this season's UK Championshjip last December. He began with two centuries, they both played well and the Scot won 9-6.

Like O'Sullivan, Higgins is aiming to win the Betfred.com World Championship for a fourth time. He's had a great season, winning five titles, and so is clearly going to take some stopping...if he continues in the same vein.

The good news for Ronnie fans is that their man is not only playing well but, for the moment at least, feeling good in himself. Shaun Murphy, and possibly Higgins in the quarters, will provide a sterner challenge than Dale managed and how O'Sullivan deals with the pressure he is put under will be key.

But it's not like he hasn't dealt with it before at the Crucible.

Marco Fu leads Martin Gould 6-3 overnight. Fu is a hard player to predict. He either seems to play great or pretty average. Gould went for everything, which is how he plays, but they need to start going in if he's to repeat his win over Fu at the same stage last year.

Rory McLeod has never been to the last 16 of a ranking event. It could take a long time if he is to do so today.

McLeod is level at 4-4 with Ricky Walden. They were pulled off a frame early yesterday and could need a third session to finish the match if it goes close.

Peter Ebdon was very unlucky to suffer a kick when nicely in to make it 9-9 with Stuart Bingham last night but the truth is he had let the match slip from 8-6 up.

Matthew Stevens and Mark Allen served up an entertaining, highly sporting nine frames and we hope for more of the same tonight.

Graeme Dott started to play well from 2-2 to 6-2 over Mark King, although the Essex man did win the last of the afternoon.

Mark Selby has been extremely well backed for success. He plays Jimmy Robertson, a debutant also making his first appearance in the final stages of a ranking event.

Victory for Robertson would be one of the Crucible's biggest ever shocks. To stand any chance he surely needs to settle early, and that's easier said than done at the theatre of both dreams and nightmares.


Dzierzgul said...

At the exact same moment when Ronnie potted his match-winning ball yesterday, somewhere in his hotel room in Sheffield John Higgins suddenly twitched and looked blankly at the picture hanging on the wall. Then, quietly he whispered: "I sense something; a presence I've not felt since..."

Anonymous said...

Dave o sullivan wins one match and the bookies drop his price from 8/1 to favourite thats incredible it shows how good the man can play if he applies himself.

Anonymous said...

"There is...another..."

Anonymous said...

Who recieves the award for most irritating commentator?
Dennis "lovely mammy" Taylor or Mike aologies Hallett?

Betty Logan said...

"Your father turned to the dark side"

Anonymous said...

Annoying commentator: Angles, because within one hour he said 'That was a better shot than it looked' six times! Doesn't he have internal moderation to curb his overuse of tired expressions?

Alain (not Robidoux) said...

O'Sullivan played well, but he was a bit rusty as he struggled quite a lot with his cue ball control. That's why he missed his 147 attempt.I guess that's normal considering the fact that he hasn't played a lot these last few months. Also, he had a tendency to go for very difficult pots, which he made most of the time to our delight, but I feel that under pressure against a more talented player (like Murphy in the next round), this could cost him. He'll have to show more patience if he wishes to advance, which I'm still not sure he cares enough for...

This being said, on a more technical aspect, it seems to me that O'Sullivan is getting a bit lazy lately. Indeed, I observed that most of the time his cue is not enough parallel to the table. Have you observe that as well, or is it just me? As we all know, it's very difficult not to induce a bit of side when the butt of the cue is too elevated. On the short pots, he manages to get away with this because he's a very gifted player, but on the longer ones, I feel this is one of the reasons why he's struggling so much... Of course, I could be wrong here and I'm not trying to tell him how to play. That would be very presumptuous of me. I just wish he would lean on the table a bit more and pay closer attention to the angle of his cue.

P.S. Sorry for my bad english folks, but as a french speaking person, I'm affraid I don't master the language as well as you do... :-)

Anonymous said...

Never will the crown for worst commentator be worn by other than Willie Thorne. In his first session this year he had spotted "a contender for shot of the championship"!

wild said...

I have never ever seen so many empty seats at the crucible.


Hi David. A very assured and great performace from Higgins, In my view, today. Three centuries included, to gain his 6-3 overnight lead.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
you must congratulate mcmanus, he's doing a great job in commentating. Good to hear comments from an expericenced player like him, can pick up on little tips from him.

Did anyone else not like Mark allen's body language in the stevens game? when 9-6 down he acted like a ass, a few times he missed and stood with the cue pointing down the table.

Pity Stevens losing, but in fairness had enough chances.

jamie brannon said...

The first five frames which were on BBC 2 were dire. They go off air and Higgins finds his groove!