For the second time in his career, Ali Carter will appear in a world final.

Back in 2008 it was something of a frantic scramble. The adrenalin was pumping after his 147 and never stopped until Ronnie O’Sullivan beat him 18-8.

This year there have been some close matches for Carter but he has looked much calmer. After a disappointing season in which his form has been affected by ill health, he may not have had many expectations.

But he has played some very good, hard match snooker and duly got the rewards.

Ali always was a confident character as the Essex boys tend to be. I remember his big breakthrough at the Preston Guild Hall in 1999 when he beat Stephen Hendry, then world champion, in the Grand Prix.

It was clear then he had something about him: not only the game but a fearsome competitiveness.

This piece I wrote as part of my new season previews last June sums up my feelings on him as a player. I said then I would be interested to see if he land one of the game’s big three titles. I still am, and he has the chance to over the next few days.

If he did it would be a remarkable turnaround in fortunes: from a player who announced retirement earlier this season to world champion.

He’s played a tight game, weighing up the percentages not unlike his friend Peter Ebdon, who is in his corner.

If, as seems likely, he plays O’Sullivan again then Carter will start as underdog, but this will probably do him a favour.

He has played the tournament with great composure so far. He will need this mindset for the final to complete what would be one of snooker’s great stories.


Anonymous said...

well done ali. flight was on time too.

dave, are players allowed to take a sudoku puzzle out into the arena with them?

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Ali on making through but in all honesty, if he wins it, it would kind of demean the world title and i say this with the greatest amount of respect.

The kind of snooker he plays is attrition-based ala Peter Ebdon (grinding opponents to death) and devoid of flair.

And Maguire bottles it again by underestimating Carter. The frame where he was only 14 points behind with only 1 snooker required and the pink and black still alive sums it up really. He somehow decided he couldnt be arsed to play a simple snooker.

Toestubber said...

Now we know he's playing O'Sulivan, who is his nemesis (Carter never having beaten him!) we'll see how his nerve holds. He's had glorious chances to put O'Sullivan away before but missed easy balls. IMO if O'Sullivan gets an early lead, say 3 or 4-0 he'll win be the same score as last time, 18-8.

Mat Wilson

Dzierzgul said...

I too am impressed by Ali's matchplay this year, but I won't be supporting him over next two days. His behavior during the Trump match rubbed me the wrong way. He deserved to win against Maguire (and I'm gutted that Maguire didn't seize his chance; this might have been last opportunity for him to win at the Crucible); he potted some tremendous balls, but in the end he was playing negative snooker.

He really turned into Ebdon-lite. For him, grinding is not as natural as for Ebdon. It seems more calculated. And at least every once in a while Ebdon plays a really crazy shot - one that is really out there. Carter doesn't do that.

So I hope O'Sullivan will win his fourth title. He's often annoying, but during this World Championship he was really the best player and he acted very professionally. His press conferences were - not only by his standards - quite classy.

In my mind he deserves to win - I only wish I could look out more to his opponent. Ronnie vs. Maguire could be a real classic; Ronnie vs. Carter will be though but not that pleasant to watch. So from my perspective, it's either gonna be a completely predictable win for Ronnie or an unwanted shock from Carter. Either way, not a great conclusion to the Championship.

Anonymous said...

Carter has beaten ROS once in a best of 5 league match that prob ROS didn't care about- he has lost another 13 times. Hard to see ROS loosing unless he eats a dodgy meal or goes on the beer but you never know..

Anonymous said...

Carter and Ebdon are a really odd combination aren't they? This tournament has literally ended up with Doctor Evil and Mini Me plotting to steal Ronnie's mojo...


Hi David.

Stat's - Yes Stat's Of The Day -
Today, is 5-5-2012.

15 years ago, to the day today. Ken Doherty, won the world title, beating Stephen Hendry, 18-12, in the final. 5-5-1997.

9 years ago, to the day, today, Mark Wilians, won his second world title, beating Ken Doherty, 18-16, in the final. 5-5-2003.

4 years ago, to the day, today, Ronnie O'Sullivan won his third world title, beating Alister Carter, 18-8, in the finaal.

Another great day's play, in my view.

Semi-Final 2 - Session 3 - O"Sullivan .V. Stevens - 10 am - 11-5 down, steves needed a good start. He got it. 11-7. O'Sullivan made it 12-7. Stevens won another two in a row, 12-9. O'Sullivan stepped up, to take the next three frams, to lad, 15-9, going into tonight's forth, and final session.

Semi-Final 1 -fourth and final session - 2.30 pm - Maguire .V. Carter. 14-10 down, Maguire neededa good start. He did not get it. After a long first frame to this session, carter led, 15-10, and went six up, with seven to play, by winning the next frame. 16-10. Maguire, to his credit, won the next two frames. 16-12. Carter won the next. He wins, 17-12, to go through, to the final.

Semi-Final 2- fourth and final session - O'Sullivan .V. Stevens - 7pm - 15-9 down, Stevens, made a century break, 15-10. O'sullivan replied, to win the next frame, with a century break, of his own, to lead, 16-10. Six up, with seven to play. O'sullivan won the next frame, to win, 17-10, and go though, to the final.

A repeat of the 2008 world final, in the 2012 worl final then. 18-8, to O'Sullivan, 4 years ago. I expect it to be closer, although, I still think 'O'Sullivan, is favourite, 4 years on.

I can't wait.

O'sullivan, has never lost a Cruciible world final, so far. He has a faultless record against Carter, winning all 11, of their professional snooker event matches, to date

Tomorrow - First session start's at 2pm.

Second session start's at 7pm.

The, 'Barry Hearn: The People's Promoter' documentary, is on, at 6.10 pm, tomorrow, also.

Bring all of this on. I shall, as I always do, whenever I can, be watching and recording, the lot. All thigs snooker related, anyway. Bring it on.

Anonymous said...

if nobody had seen ebbo on camera then nobody would be calling alis play ebdon esq

hes been a bit more methodical than usual, but i bet all these "experts" making comments cant actually remember many of alis matches in long match tournaments and be able to make an educated guesstimation as to how much more methodical he is being than usual.

imho, ali has increased his methodicalness with the same amount as ronnie has. (mind he used to pot mad in the pre reardon pals days).

Glen B said...

Don't understand the negativity re: Carter.
No, he hasn't played all out attacking snooker, but he is in the final, because he has played better snooker than others.
The all out attacking game is great to watch, but there is a fine line between attacking and reckless, and there are some players who cross that line far too often - and they'll be sitting at home watching the final.
Good luck Ali.

Anonymous said...

Just seen Ronnie's post match interview. He's going to retire again, well maybe. Good luck Ali I say.

jamie brannon said...

The BBC stats that Dave and Phil Yates do had the head-to-head at 11-0 to O'Sullivan.

I guess the Championship League not being factored in?