World Championship 2007

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Drawsheet of the turnament

HIGGINS ENDS ROCKET'S HOPES

02 May 2007
www.worldsnooker.com
John Higgins survived a Ronnie O'Sullivan fight-back to set up a semi-final clash with fellow Scot Stephen Maguire at the 888.com World Snooker Championship.

John Higgins comments
Of course I was worried about Ronnie making a comeback especially when it got to 12-9. I ‘d seen Shaun Murphy make his fantastic comebark. The standard wasn’t that great – Ronnie didn’t play that well.

At the turn of the year I was all over the place, I wasn’t thinking clearly, my technique was poor but I have been playing well since then. I played well in Ireland and China and I knew my game was coming back so I fancied playing well here. It’s a good win but they are all good wins here. I’m playing Stephen Maguire and he’s hungry and he’s found a bit of form and he’s a mate as well but he’s been playing well. I can’t wait to play him.

Ronnie told me good luck and play well and go on to win it. There’s a lot of respect between the two of us. We were juniors together and I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a person.

Now I’m playing Stephen. It’s good to see the Scots doing well and we’ve got a lot of support at home.

Ronnie O’Sullivan comments
I was disappointed. Some you win - some you lose. I found myself in a tough position but if I played tonight like I did in the first two sessions I would have lost 13-5 so I’m glad I made a game of it.

I was able to control the spin and the cue ball a bit better, get some alignment. I never felt I was completely able to keep him out. My technique let me down, wasn’t able to get the long balls but I still had to go for them – I still had to play my game.

I wasn’t able to compete in the safety department, I tried to make something happen but it never did – that’s the way things go. It’s been a great tournament for me, I’ve enjoyed it and there’s been some great players here this week and anyone still in it deserves to be still here. The World Championship has been fantastic.

O’Sullivan, perhaps inspired by Shaun Murphy’s incredible turnaround against Matthew Stevens earlier today, fought back from 11-5 to 12-9 to raise the hopes of his millions of fans.

But Higgins eventually crossed the winning line for a 13-9 victory to earn his first Crucible semi since 2001, when he lost to O’Sullivan in the final.

He will face friend and practice partner Maguire over 33 frames for a place in the final.

Last season, Higgins won two of snooker’s biggest tournaments and reached two more finals, only to fall at the first hurdle to Mark Selby. Conversely, his form has been poor for most of the current campaign, but he has saved his best for the biggest stage.

A winner of 16 ranking events including the 1998 world title, 31-year-old Higgins has proved that his outstanding break-building and matchplay skills have not deserted him by knocking out the pre-tournament favourite.

The Wizard of Wishaw also remains in contention for the official world No 1 slot - which is now a straight race between him and Shaun Murphy, with Higgins currently ahead.

O’Sullivan fought gamely tonight to rescue his participation in the tournament after a calamitous second session earlier today when he lost seven of eight frames.

But he left himself with too much to do and the 31-year-old from Chigwell is left waiting for his third Crucible title, as well his his first ranking event win in over two years.

Breaks of 48 and 70 gave SAGA Insurance Masters champion O’Sullivan the first two frames tonight to make it 11-7.

He led 33-0 in the next but a kick on a short-range red let Higgins back into the frame and he took it with a 58.

O’Sullivan won the next two without conceding a point, making 45 and 93, to close to 12-9.

But he was unable to escape a tough snooker in the next without leaving Higgins the opportunity to compile 39. And when the Rocket missed the fourth-last red his opponent added the points he needed.

HIGGINS SET TO BRING DOWN ROCKET

02 May 2007 13:07:00
www.worldsnooker.com
Wizard of Wishaw John Higgins weaved his magic at the 888.com World Snooker Championship today to move close to victory against Ronnie O'Sullivan.
By Rick Burin

Higgins won seven out of eight frames in the second session to lead 11-5 and needs just two more frames to eliminate pre-tournament favourite O’Sullivan, after he overwhelmed the two-times champion with a confident display.

The 31-year-old Scot won the first four frames of the day to race into an 8-4 lead, taking advantage of lapses in O’Sullivan’s long game. In the second of the session, he came from 49-0 down to win it with a 71 clearance.

O’Sullivan hit back with a break of 74 and looked set to win the next after a break of 58, only for his opponent to dish with 65 for 9-5.

A superb 94 allowed Higgins to extend his lead and he made another trademark clearance in the last of the session - a 62 after O’Sullivan had broken down on 61.

First to 13 when they resume at 7pm claims a place in the semi-final.

ROCKET AND WIZARD ALL SQUARE

01 May 2007
www.worldsnooker.com

Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins shared the first eight frames of their showpiece 888.com World Snooker Championship clash.

Two of snooker’s finest players are battling over 25 frames for a place in the semi-finals at the Crucible and there’s nothing to split them so far as they are locked at 4-4 until the second session tomorrow morning.

Higgins, the 1998 champion, is aiming for his first semi-final since 2001 when he lost to O’Sullivan in the final, while the Rocket is gunning for his third Crucible crown having lifted the trophy again in 2004.

The Wizard of Wishaw started confidently with a break of 91 then O’Sullivan responded in kind with an 89. Higgins took a scrappy third and went 3-1 up with a 73.

Back came O’Sullivan after the interval with runs of 54, 65 and 60 in pulling back to 3-3.

Higgins regained the advantage with a 110 but O’Sullivan had the last word with a 76 in the final frame of the session to ensure equality.

ROCKET'S LATE BLAST DENIES ROBERTSON

30 Apr 200
www.worldsnooker.com

Ronnie O'Sullivan lifted his game in the closing stretch to edge out Neil Robertson in a classic encounter at the 888.com World Snooker Championship.

Ronnie O’Sullivan comments
I was pleased I got through. Neil pots the balls well, looks dangerous amongst the balls. He was quite intimidating at times – he was hitting the ball so sweetly, always hitting the back of the pocket with a thudd. It was a weird type of game. I wasn’t that comfortable in the game, my long potting wasn’t that good, my safety was average and anything from six foot or more I was miles out. When you’re not potting long balls it’s like losing your serve in tennis because you have to work harder to get chances.

If you can’t pot long balls you’re not going to win titles. I was aware of that so when I was in amongst the balls I made the most of it.

It was difficult for me, swimming against the tide. Even though I was 8-3 up, I never felt comfortable. I kind of stole a few games. I knew it flattered me. It could easily have been 4-4.

I came in at 5 o’clock tonight with my coach to get an hour’s practise. I didn’t expect to win by not making long balls. You expect to make something happen – I felt under pressure. I was very pleased to get through that match but there is room for improvement, I improved from the first to the evening session.

This is the World Championship and all 32 players are here on merit and deserve to be here. There are no easy matches. We’ve got some great young talent coming through. That was a big building block game today and I was delighted to get through.

Neil Robertson comments

I played really well today and I'm proud with how I came back from 6-2 down this morning. I didn't bother trying to slow the game down and make people turn off their TVs, I tried to give it a go. I did my best but unfortunately I lost really closely.

I'm disappointed I had to play that pink with the rest at 10-10 because I had a bad contact when screwing back from potting the red. If I'd had my hand on the table I would have gone 11-10 up and he would have been vulnerable from there.

In the match of the tournament so far, O’Sullivan lost six consecutive frames to go from 8-3 up to 9-8 down as Australian left-hander Robertson grew in confidence.

But from 10-9 down, the Rocket found an extra gear and won the last four frames for a 13-10 success which sets up a tremendous quarter-final tie against John Higgins.

It was the 21st frame which proved crucial as Robertson lost it on the pink after leading 59-4 - he totalled just 12 more points in the last two frames.

Denied his third win over O’Sullivan in as many meetings, Royal London Watches Grand Prix and Welsh Open champion Robertson may wonder what might have been if he had gone 11-10 ahead at that stage.

Having seen off two of snooker’s best young players in Ding Junhui and Robertson, the draw doesn’t get any easier for world No 3 O’Sullivan as he now faces old adversary Higgins, whom he beat to take the first of his two world titles in 2001.

But bookmakers are now making O’Sullivan odds-on favourite for the trophy as he targets his first ranking title in over two years.

The 31-year-old from Chigwell, through to his tenth quarter-final at Sheffield since 1995, will take the official world No 1 spot if he wins the tournament. Higgins and Shaun Murphy also remain in the race to overtake current provisional leader Graeme Dott.

After winning the last five frames of the second session, 25-year-old Robertson carried on his momentum by taking the first tonight with a top break of 52.

O’Sullivan had conceded 404 points without scoring but hit back brilliantly with a 129 for 9-9. A run of 70 put Robertson back in front, only for O’Sullivan to level with a 96 for 10-10 at the mid-session interval.

A missed pink with the rest on a break of 52 from Robertson gave O’Sullivan his chance in the 21st frame and he compiled a superb 44 before running out of position in potting the last blue. But a poor safety from his opponent enabled the Englishman to add pink and black.

Both players missed chances in the next as nerves started to creep in, but a 38 from O’Sullivan allowed him to make it 12-10.
And he enjoyed a stroke of fortune in frame 23 as a fluked red allowed him to lay a snooker, which set up the scoring opportunity he needed. A swift 87 and his passage to last eight was safe.

ROCKET ESTABLISHES EARLY LEAD

29 Apr 2007 17:58:00
www.worldsnooker.com

The eagerly anticipated second round clash between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson saw the Rocket establish a handy 6-2 lead after their first session.

The early signs for a packed Crucible crowd were good when the Australian fired in breaks of 32 and 87 to sew up the opening frame. O’Sullivan, who hadn’t potted a ball, then hit back in typical fashion, taking the second with a 104.

This is their third meeting this season, Robertson holds a 2-0 advantage, beating the Rocket in the Royal London Watches Grand Prix and the Welsh Open before collecting the title on each occasion.

After the opening two frames both players struggled to impose themselves but Robertson certainly had his chances to put down a marker on this match and extend his run against O’Sullivan. He was in a great position in the third but missed the frame ball blue to allow the Rocket to sneak it on the black.

O’Sullivan made it 3-1 before the interval and then pulled away to lead 5-1 before Robertson found his range. A 70 in the seventh reduced his deficit but O’Sullivan topped off a satisfactory afternoon’s work with his second century, a 100, to leave himself with a four frame advantage.

Last year's runner-up Peter Ebdon came roaring back from 3-1 down to draw level at 4-4 against qualifier Mark Selby (Dom Howson writes).

The opening two frames were shared, then 23-year-old Selby, who is aiming to reach the quarter finals in Sheffield for the first time, hit breaks of 57 and 76 to deservedly take a 3-1 advantage into the mid-session interval.

But seasoned campaigner Ebdon counter-attacked magnifcently from the restart and compiled breaks of 66, 62 and 60 to go 4-3 in front.

However, Selby was to have the last word, and he clinched the final frame to go in honours even.

Neil Robertson comments (after match with Ryan Day)

I’m playing Ronnie in the second round, I’ve beaten him twice this year but both over best of nine (frames). Hopefully I’ll play a lot better over the best of 25. This gives me more freedom but I’m going to go out there and really enjoy myself and definitely play a lot better than I did today.

Ronnie is obviously a fantastic player and I think he is the best player in the world. I have gone on to win the tournament both times I've beaten him so if you beat the best player in the world then why not go on and win the tournament. I’m not going to say I have nothing to lose but the best of 25 allows me more freedom.

But there are so many good players left in the tournament When a top 16 player gets beaten it isn’t really a surprise any more. It could be down to the conditions, who gets the luck and who pots the big ball when it counts. I don’t think there will be that many big breaks this year. In fact no one has really played well this year: Hendry has struggled, quite a few big names are out already.

O'SULLIVAN COMPLETES DING ROUT

23 Apr 2007 16:13:00
www.worldsnooker.com

Ronnie O'Sullivan easily saw off Ding Junhui at the 888.com World Snooker Championship - but is sure that the Chinese whizz-kid will enjoy his own success at the Crucible.

Ding Junhui comments
I tried 100 per cent but Ronnie played very well. The match I lost at Wembley (10-3 in the SAGA Insurance Masters final) did not affect me. His safety was very good and I don’t regret the long pots I went for.
The Crucible is the best arena I have ever played in. The crowd understands snooker better than they do anywhere else. I’m still very young and I hope I will have a lot more chances to win here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan comments
I’m pleased to have got through, it was a tough game. I don’t want to talk about the match at Wembley, I’d rather just talk about the match I’ve just played in. How you saw the match and how I felt will probably be different, but I’m just pleased to have got through it. I scored well, my safety and potting were ok so I’m pleased. I had to be on my game and make the most of my opportunities.

(On over-zealous photographers) It was kind of unsettling to be on a shot and to hear click-click. I don’t mind them taking photos but I want to finish my shot first! I’ll even stay down a little bit longer after the shot if it’s that important to them. You want to be concentrating but in the end I was waiting for the click. It was a bit off-putting but (referee) Jan (Verhaas) was good enough to tell them to be quiet.

The inevitable was only momentarily delayed as O’Sullivan capitalised on his 8-1 overnight lead to confirm his place in the second round.

The scoreline was more emphatic than their last meeting, the SAGA Insurance Masters final where O’Sullivan triumphed 10-3, this time he shaved a frame off with a 10-2 demolition.

It was the toughest possible draw for Ding and he joins many illustrious names to have lost on their Crucible debut - including Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and O’Sullivan himself.

As they walked out of the arena at the conclusion, O’Sullivan told Ding: "This is good experience for you and you’ll be back here to win many times."

Considered bookmakers’ favourite for the title, two-times World Champion O’Sullivan looked sharp and seems to have his focus clearly set on a third crown.

Resuming 8-1 in front the Rocket took less than 40 minutes to wrap things up. He had to take a back seat in the first as the Chinese teenage prodigy took it with a 45. Thereafter the 31-year-old from Chigwell took control but Ding had chances.

An early opportunity in the next was spurned and O’Sullivan cleared with an 87, missing the pink when a century beckoned.
The clash of the first round was soon wrapped up when O’Sullivan compiled a 72 after Ding had missed a long red.

O’Sullivan will now face either Royal London Watches Grand Prix and Welsh Open winner, Neil Robertson or rising Welsh star Ryan Day in the second round.

ROCKET BLAST

22 Apr 2007 18:02:00
www.worldsnooker.com
Ronnie O'Sullivan stormed into an 8-1 lead over Ding Junhui at the Crucible to move within two frames of the last 16.

Chinese potter Ding was handed the toughest imaginable Crucible debut and two-times champion O'Sullivan has made life tough for the 20-year-old.

If Ding does exit at the first round stage he will be in good company - the likes of Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and O'Sullivan himself have all lost on their Sheffield debuts.

The Rocket looked focussed and determined as he rattled in breaks of 58, 50, 109, 60 and 63 in taking a 5-0 lead.

Ding, whose progress is being followed by a dozen Chinese journalists in the Crucible media centre as well as many millions on CCTV5 in his homeland, finally got a chance to show his talent in frame six and compiled a smooth 103.

The Northern Ireland Trophy champion looked set to win the next until he failed to escape a snooker on the final green at 69-41 and O'Sullivan cleared the table for 6-1.

The Essex player pulled away again with runs of 63, 70 and 45 to establish a commanding lead ahead of tomorrow afternoon's concluding session.

O’Sullivan feels in touch with better of the two Ronnies

From The Times
April 20, 2007
Phil Yates

For a man whose battle with himself has long been a source of public voyeurism, it is fitting that Ronnie O’Sullivan says he does not care if someone has three heads, as long as he plays well.

The story of snooker’s enfant terrible is one of the good, the bad and sometimes plain ugly, but he is pursuing happier times. “If you told me the next 15 years will be like the last 15, then I’d jack it in,” he said.

O’Sullivan begins the 888.com World Championship, which starts tomorrow, against one of the young pretenders, Ding Junhui, the Chinese prodigy, but if he is nonplussed by the toughest of draws, it is down to the perspective gleaned from years of personal problems.

“I regret not seeking help for my demons when I was younger,” O’Sullivan, 31, said.

“I wasted the years between 19 and 24 because I was playing so badly I’d go out and get off my face. Why? Because I can’t stand not playing the game to the best of my ability. So I ran and drank. But I got over my demons. I’ve not drunk in five, six years — I’ve come through the other side. I regret wasting those years, but they’re the cards I’ve been dealt.”

It is refreshing to hear a sportsman confess to regrets, and the line O’Sullivan has drawn between sporting legend and sad figure walking out of the UK Championship mid-game in December has always been pencil thin.

Many put the tipping point down to his father’s conviction for murder when O’Sullivan was 17, but his love of the game is undimmed. “If you could guarantee I’d keep playing well in return for my dad having another 50 years inside, I’d take it,” he said. “Dad would just have to crack on.”

The bookmakers are convinced that O’Sullivan has arrived in Sheffield in good shape and have installed him as the favourite. The man himself is phlegmatic about plaudits and big billing, knowing that he has let himself down on numerous occasions and has been humbled by his flaws.

“I don’t believe I’m the greatest because I haven’t won the titles that Davis, Hendry and Reardon have,” he said. “But if you had a four-man event with the best and I was on my game, I reckon I could beat any of them. But I’m uncomfortable with people saying I’m the best because I haven’t done enough to back that up.”

He added that he knows why his prowess has not produced a hegemony, but that it is a boring answer, restricting himself to: “Something went wrong when I was about 16.”

In previous years, O’Sullivan said, he has pitched up in South Yorkshire in a rich vein of form, only to find that he was burnt out when it came to the big one. This year he feels different. “Hopefully I’ve saved enough to win in Sheffield,” he said. “I’m a lot more content with my game.”

He believes that Graeme Dott is the true favourite but will be motivated by the quest for his best game and the desire to prove people wrong. “What keeps me coming back is being written off,” O’Sullivan said. “I love it when I’m written off by people in the game. They won’t say ‘he’s finished’, but they’ll imply as much by saying things like, ‘Is Ronnie still the player he was?’ When I hear that I rub my hands and think, ‘Lovely, let’s have it.’ Hopefully, someone will slag me off preSheffield — that’s what turns me on.”

Given that he has occasionally exuded an ambivalence about snooker, it is interesting to hear O’Sullivan say that he wants to keep playing until he is 70. “There ain’t much money in snooker at the moment, so I’m clearly not doing it for the money,” he said. “What motivates me is those days when I first started and I’d pot balls for 12 hours a day. I loved it and I’m still in search of that again. It might sound callous, but as long as I’m cueing sweet I don’t care if you’ve grown three heads. But if I’m playing s*** then everything’s s*** and I have problems.”

As ever with O’Sullivan, the heavyweight championship of himself will make enthralling viewing.

Ronnie in 'fix' draw jibe

By ANDREW DILLON
April 17, 2007
The Sun

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN could be in trouble with snooker chiefs again for suggesting the World Championship draw is fixed.

The Rocket made the quip as he prepares to face China’s Ding Junhui in the first round at The Crucible on Sunday.

O’Sullivan joked: “It’s f***ing fixed. Whoever does the draw is trying to stitch me up but I don’t mind, I love it.

“My initial response was ‘F***, that’s a hard one’. My next response was ‘F***, someone’s fixed the draw.”

The two-time World Champion is still awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary probe into his behaviour at December’s UK Championship.

Rival Stephen Hendry was stunned when the Rocket suddenly walked out of the arena at 4-1 down in their quarter-final.

Controversial O’Sullivan, 30, who has suffered with depression, initially wrote off his antics as ‘a bad day at the office’ but then claimed he was having personal problems.

World Snooker are yet to make a formal announcement on whether to pursue O’Sullivan or drop the case.

O’Sullivan said: “As long as I’m playing well, I’ll play whoever. Bring ’em on!

“Nothing is certain in life. The only thing that is certain is we all end up brown bread. All I can do is go out there and see what happens.”

Zoo Magazine

Zoo: Ding Junhui in the first round, what was your initial response?

ROS: My Initial response was "EDIT, that's a hard one." My next response was "EDIT, someone's fixed the draw." and then my next thought was "I've had Marco Fu,Steve Maguire twice and now Ding in the first round. It's definitely EDIT fixed." Whoever is doing that draw is trying to stitch me up, but I don't mind, I love it.

Zoo: Graeme Dott reckons it's a great draw because one of you will be going out early.

ROS: Well he would, wouldn't he? They're all mercenaries, all they care about is getting rid of people. I don't give a monkeys. As long as I'm playing well, I'll play whoever. Bring 'em on!

Zoo:For the betting men out there, what guarantee can you offer that you won't walk out halfway through a match this time?

ROS: Nothing is certain in life. The only thing that is certain is that we all end up brown bread. All I can do is go out there and see what happens.

Zoo: Do you think Steve Davis is mad to still be playing at 49?

ROS: No I think he's amazing. Steve has achieved so much and he's still in the top 16. Unbelievable. He's a legend. He's stood the test of time.

Zoo: Would you have liked to have dominated the sport like Davis or Hendry?

ROS: Of course. I'd love to turn up to tournaments and they'd all go "Oh no, he's here." That's what it was like when Steve Davis was on top. Players used to book out of their hotel on seeing the draw. I'd love that.

Zoo: You said you'll play for two more years- what's next?

ROS: I'll probably run marathons. I'm a good runner. I'll run them like a play snooker, quickly. I could do a marathon in under three hours. The London Marathon is on the day of my first round match against Ding at the Crucible. Snooker is getting in the way of my marathon running.

MY HELLRAISING IS OVER...NOW I'D RATHER RUN THAN GO BOOZING SAYS RONNIE O'SULLIVAN

15 April 2007
EXCLUSIVE SNOOKER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
By Scott Piecha
RONNIE O'SULLIVAN last night insisted: My wild man days are over.
And he says he is fed-up with people thinking he's a rock star-type who's always up for a fight.

O'Sullivan, 31, admits he has had his fair share of crazy days - especially during SIX YEARS of binge boozing.

But he says fame as a 16-year-old meant he turned to drink to cope with the pressure - and gave him an image he didn't deserve. The two-time world champion admits things would have been so different if he'd asked for help earlier.

Now the sport's most talented player has swapped his addiction to alcohol for a fix of healthy living and cross-country running. And he's ready to set the pace in this year's Snooker World Championship, with his campaign ticking off against Ding Junhui on April 22.

O'Sullivan said: "People have a perception that I'm a wild rock star who loves a fight, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
"When people meet me they want a loud Ronnie and I try to go with it. When I realise it's not me and end up retreating into my little corner, and go home and think about how I don't want to be in that situation.

"I get a bit nervous in new company because people think I should be a certain way. I don't want to be this person that is seen as a lunatic because it's not true.

"When I was 16, I suddenly got famous and I was thinking, 'This is great'. Women wanted to talk to me and I'm shy round them.
"Then, all of a sudden, I wasn't comfortable with the person that people thought I was.

"They always wanted me to be one of the lads, which I can be with friends but not strangers.

I felt like I had to fit in and be like they wanted me to. Now I start to try to just stay out of the way. I wish I had asked for help when I was 19 because I would probably not have had so many problems.

"It was after I won the UK title in 1994 when I started to drink and go out with friends until about 2000. So for six years I was on it.

"And I don't do anything in half-measures like just have a couple of glasses of wine. I'd be on a heavy session.

"Not for days, but a day. And then I'd get up and have some Sunday lunch at the pub and stay with friends until, say, two in the morning. Before long I was putting on weight and getting fat and I couldn't stop.
"If I had my time again I would not run away like I did when I was struggling with my snooker.
Instead of masking it with drink and everything else, I would ask for help and face it head on.
"But I was afraid of asking for help. In snooker, there is a thing that once you get help you're gone and I was thinking, 'What would people think if the most naturally talented player starts getting help?'
"I've found my substitute for drink and that's running. It still changes the way I feel but in a good way.
"Now with my running mates we just talk about interval training and there the next cross-country race is."

FORMAT OF PLAY

21 Mar 2007
www.worldsnooker.com
Here is the match schedule for the 888.com World Snooker Championship at the Crucible.
Cross reference match numbers to those on the drawsheet *denotes final session.

Saturday April 21
10am
Matches
1 – Graeme Dott x Ian McCulloch - Eirian Williams - 4-5
13 – Peter Ebdon x Nigel Bond - Colin Humphries - 4-5
2.30pm
Matches
2 – Anthony Hamilton x Marco Fu - Pete Williamson - 6-1
10 – Matthew Stevens x Joe Delaney - Michaela Tabb - 7-2
7pm
Matches
1* - Graeme Dott x Ian McCulloch - Eirian Williams - 7-10
11 – Steve Davis x John Parrott - Johan Oomen - 3-6

Sunday April 22
10am
Matches
6 – Barry Hawkins x Fergal O’Brien - Alan Chamberlain - 4-4
13* - Peter Ebdon x Nigel Bond - Colin Humphries - 10-7
2.30pm
Matches
8 – Ronnie O’Sullivan x Ding Junhui - Jan Verhaas - 8-1 :-)
11* - Steve Davis x John Parrott - Johan Oomen - 9-10
7pm
Matches
2* - Anthony Hamilton x Marco Fu - Pete Williamson - 10-3
10* - Matthew Stevens x Joe Delaney - Michaela Tabb - 10-2

Monday April 23
10am
Matches
6* - Barry Hawkins x Fergal O’Brien - Alan Chamberlain - 9-10
12 – Shaun Murphy x Judd Trump - Johan Oomen - 5-4
2.30pm
Matches
8* - Ronnie O’Sullivan x Ding Junhui - Jan Verhaas - 10-2 :-)))
9 – Ken Doherty x Mark Allen - Terry Camilleri - 3-6
7pm
Matches
3 – Stephen Maguire x Joe Perry - Eirian Williams - 7-2
12* - Shaun Murphy x Judd Trump - Johan Oomen - 10-6

Tuesday April 24
10am
Matches
4 – Mark Williams x Joe Swail - Alan Chamberlain - 5-4
9* - Ken Doherty x Mark Allen - Terry Camilleri - 7-10
2.30pm
Matches
3* - Stephen Maguire x Joe Perry - Eirian Williams - 10-3
16 – Stephen Hendry x David Gilbert - Jan Verhaas - 4-5
7pm
Matches
4* - Mark Williams x Joe Swail - Alan Chamberlain - 9-10
14 – Stephen Lee x Mark Selby - Colin Humphries - 5-4

Wednesday April 25
10am
Matches
7 – Neil Robertson x Ryan Day - Terry Camilleri - 6-3
16* - Stephen Hendry x David Gilbert - Jan Verhaas - 10-7
2.30pm
Matches
5 – John Higgins x Michael Holt - Michaela Tabb - 6-3
14* - Stephen Lee x Mark Selby - Colin Humphries - 7-10
7pm
Matches
7* - Neil Robertson x Ryan Day - Terry Camilleri - 10-5
15 – Allister Carter x Andy Hicks - Pete Williamson - 7-2

Thursday April 26
2pm
Matches
5* - John Higgins x Michael Holt - Michaela Tabb - 10-4
22 – John Parrott x Shaun Murphy - Alan Chamberlain - 3-5
7pm
Matches
15* - Allister Carter x Andy Hicks - Johan Oomen - 10-4
17 – Ian McCulloch x Anthony Hamilton - Pete Williamson - 4-4

Friday April 27
10am
Matches
18 – Stephen Maguire x Joe Swail - Michaela Tabb - 6-2
22 – John Parrott x Shaun Murphy - Alan Chamberlain - 8-8
2.30pm
Matches
17 – Ian McCulloch x Anthony Hamilton - Johan Oomen - 8-8
21 – Mark Allen x Matthew Stevens - Jan Verhaas - 3-5
7pm
Matches
18 – Stephen Maguire x Joe Swail - Michaela Tabb - 11-5
22* - John Parrott x Shaun Murphy - Alan Chamberlain - 8-13

Saturday April 28
10am
Matches
17* - Ian McCulloch x Anthony Hamilton - Johan Oomen - 8-13
21 – Mark Allen x Matthew Stevens - Jan Verhaas - 7-9
2.30pm
Matches
18* - Stephen Maguire x Joe Swail - Michaela Tabb - 13-8
24 – Allister Carter x Stephen Hendry - Pete Williamson - 6-2
7pm
Matches
19 – John Higgins x Fergal O’Brien - Johan Oomen - 6-2
21* - Mark Allen x Matthew Stevens - Jan Verhaas - 9-13

Sunday April 29
2pm
Matches
20 – Neil Robertson x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Eirian Williams - 2-6 :-)
23 – Peter Ebdon x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 4-4
7pm
Matches
19 – John Higgins x Fergal O’Brien - Johan Oomen - 12-4
24 – Allister Carter x Stephen Hendry - Pete Williamson - 12-4

Monday April 30
10am
Matches
20 – Neil Robertson x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Eirian Williams - 8-8 :-(
23 – Peter Ebdon x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 6-10
2.30pm
Matches
19* - John Higgins x Fergal O’Brien - Johan Oomen - 13-4
24* - Allister Carter x Stephen Hendry - Pete Williamson - 13-6
7pm
Matches
20* - Neil Robertson x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Eirian Williams - 10-13 :-))))
23* - Peter Ebdon x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 8-13

Tuesday May 1
10am
QF1 – Anthony Hamilton x Stephen Maguire - Jan Verhaas - 3-5
QF3 – Matthew Stevens x Shaun Murphy - Michaela Tabb - 4-4
2.30pm
QF2 – John Higgins x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Johan Oomen - 4-4
QF4 – Mark Selby x Allister Carter - Eirian Williams - 5-4
7pm
QF1 – Anthony Hamilton x Stephen Maguire - Jan Verhaas - 7-9
QF3 – Matthew Stevens x Shaun Murphy - Michaela Tabb - 11-5

Wednesday May 2
10am
QF2 – John Higgins x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Johan Oomen - 11-5 :-(
QF3* - Matthew Stevens x Shaun Murphy - Michaela Tabb - 12-13
2.30pm
QF1* - Anthony Hamilton x Stephen Maguire - Jan Verhaas - 7-13
QF4 – Mark Selby x Allister Carter - Eirian Williams - 9-6
7pm
QF2* - John Higgins x Ronnie O’Sullivan - Johan Oomen - 13-9 :-((
QF4* - Mark Selby x Allister Carter - Eirian Williams - 13-12

Thursday May 3
2pm
SF1 – Stephen Maguire x John Higgins - Jan Verhaas - 4-4
7pm
SF2 – Shaun Murphy x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 5-3

Friday May 4
10am
SF1 – Stephen Maguire x John Higgins - Jan Verhaas - 8-8
2.30pm
SF2 – Shaun Murphy x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 8-8
7pm
SF1 – Stephen Maguire x John Higgins - Jan Verhaas - 14-10

Saturday May 5
10am
SF2 – Shaun Murphy x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 12-12
2.30pm
SF1* - Stephen Maguire x John Higgins - Jan Verhaas - 15-17
7pm
SF2* - Shaun Murphy x Mark Selby - Michaela Tabb - 16-17

Sunday May 6
3pm
Final - John Higgins x Mark Selby - Eirian Williams - 5-3
8pm
Final - John Higgins x Mark Selby - Eirian Williams - 12-4

Monday May 7
3pm
Final - John Higgins x Mark Selby - Eirian Williams - 12-10
8pm
Final* - John Higgins x Mark Selby - Eirian Williams - 18-13

ROCKET FACES DING AT THE CRUCIBLE

20 Mar 2007 08:50:00
www.worldsnooker.com

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui, previously considered by bookmakers the two favourites for the 888.com World Snooker Championship title, have been drawn together in the first round at the Crucible.

Ding, the youngest ever winner of three ranking titles, qualified for the televised stages of snooker’s most famous event for the first time by winning his qualifying match against Mark Davis last week.

But the Chinese 19-year-old faces a daunting Crucible debut as he takes on two-times World Champion O’Sullivan in his opening match on Sunday April 22.

It will be a rematch of this season’s Northern Ireland Trophy final, which Ding won 9-6, and the SAGA Insurance Masters final when the Rocket took revenge with a 10-3 victory.

Defending 888.com World Champion Graeme Dott faces Ian McCulloch on the opening day of the Championship – Saturday April 21. Preston’s McCulloch beat Dott 10-9 in the first round two years ago.

One of the most intriguing ties to come out of the draw, which was revealed on BBC Breakfast television this morning, brings together BBC Sport’s two most recognisable snooker pundits.
Veterans Steve Davis and John Parrott, seven world titles and 53 years of professional experience between them, will go head to head. It’s their first competitive meeting since the 2000 Irish Masters and a repeat of the 1989 Crucible final.

World No 1 Stephen Hendry is up against David Gilbert, 65 places below him in the rankings, while last year’s runner-up Peter Ebdon will face 1995 finalist Nigel Bond.

Shaun Murphy, the 2005 champion, will play 17-year-old Judd Trump, who will become the third youngest player ever to compete at the Crucible after Hendry and O’Sullivan.

Australia’s Neil Robertson, the only player to win two ranking titles this term, will take on Malta Cup finalist Ryan Day. Ken Doherty, the 1997 champion from Dublin, plays debutant Mark Allen from Belfast.

There are five debutants in all – the most since 1999.
The full draw is:
Graeme Dott v Ian McCulloch
Anthony Hamilton v Marco Fu
Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry
Mark Williams v Joe Swail
John Higgins v Michael Holt
Barry Hawkins v Fergal O'Brien
Neil Robertson v Ryan Day
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Ding Junhui
Ken Doherty v Mark Allen
Matthew Stevens v Joe Delaney
Steve Davis v John Parrott
Shaun Murphy v Judd Trump
Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond
Stephen Lee v Mark Selby
Ali Carter v Andy Hicks
Stephen Hendry v David Gilbert

The 888.com World Snooker Championship runs from April 21 to May 7 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

888.com, the world's No 1 online casino and poker room, has a five-year multi-million pound agreement with World Snooker to sponsor the World Snooker Championship - now known as the 888.com World Snooker Championship.

Drawsheet of the qualification

FORMAT OF PLAY

28 Jan 2007 13:57:00
www.worldsnooker.com

Below is the schedule for the final qualifying round of the 888.com World Snooker Championship.

All matches will start at 10am and play 9 frames in the first session. The second session will begin at 4pm and play to a finish.

Monday 12 March
Ian McCulloch v Dominic Dale - 10-4
Robert Milkins v Mark Allen - 4-10
David Gray v John Parrott - 7-10
Mark Selby v Ricky Walden - 10-6

Tuesday 13 March
Alan McManus v Joe Delaney - 9-10
Joe Swail v Dave Harold - 10-9
Nigel Bond v Jamie Burnett - 10-6
Ryan Day v Marcus Campbell - 10-5

Wednesday 14 March
Stuart Bingham v Fergal O'Brien - 5-10
Andy Hicks v Rory McLeod - 10-4
Marco Fu v Michael Judge - 10-9
Ding Junhui v Mark Davis - 10-6

Thursday 15 March
Mark King v David Gilbert - 6-10
Michael Holt v Adrian Gunnell - 10-7
James Wattana v Judd Trump - 5-10
Joe Perry v Drew Henry - 10-5

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