Have we ever had a more exciting start to the World Championship than the first few days this year?
Close finishes, comebacks and tension a-plenty. It can only be the Crucible.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was clearly feeling the pressure this afternoon against Liu Chuang this afternoon, missing pots and misjudging position.
Let’s lay one myth to rest: ‘Ronnie can win if he wants to.’
The fact is, he does want to. This is why he felt the pressure. If he couldn’t care less, he wouldn’t feel any at all.
I think he’ll still beat Liu but he isn’t the certainty he appeared to be this morning.
It’s a worrying sign for Ronnie because it follows three close defeats in as many tournaments.
In the Masters in January he missed a blue he should have potted in the decider against Stephen Maguire and lost 6-5.
He led Mark Selby 8-5 in February’s Welsh Open final but missed chances to win and was beaten 9-8.
He played kamikaze snooker in losing 5-4 to Marco Fu in the China Open last month.
None of this means he has ‘gone.’ He made two good clearances under pressure to hold off Liu. Everyone knows how good he can be when it all comes together.
However, O’Sullivan will be looking to improve in tomorrow’s final session to regain what appears to be lost confidence.