|The Rocket takes off|
And although Barry Hawkins' performance was absolutely spectacular giving the circumstances and the magnitude of this event, the best man at the end of the day was still, the Rocket.
O'Sullivan ended both sessions in the leading position the first one at 5-3 and the second at 10-7.
Two breaks of 74 and 92 were opening the final of this year's World Championship, O'Sullivan putting his foot down from the very beginning.
But Hawkins wasn’t going to let the four-time world champion get to him, so he fought back with a tremendous set of breaks (88 and 81) to draw level and added runs of 45 and 50 for a 3-2 lead. Who would have thought? The Rocket was being led for the first time since the kick off of the tournament.
Still, by the end of the first session things went Ronnie's way thanks to breaks of 76, 113 and 100 for a 5-3 scoreline. The man looked unbeatable.
|The Hawk is right behind him|
Hawkins was the first to break the ice and narrowed the gap at just one point (4-5), but the Rocket reverted the situation with just a break of 46 that came after Barry called a foul upon himself, thus the scoreline re-opened the two-frame gap (6-4).
One more time Barry pushed the odds and with runs of 37 and 23 got closer to his opponent and just like before O'Sullivan preferred to get away from him at 7-5.
"Too much déjà-vu in this match", thought Hawkins, so he stormed in with a break of 83 and a marvellous 133 clearance to level up at seven apiece. Game on!
Nothing could be easier fro O'Sullivan though, who used a break of 103 and one of 106 to fly at 9-7. "Catch me if you can, Hawkie-boy!"
|Ronnie is getting closer to winning his 5th world title|
So it’s 10-7 and the lads have two more sessions to complete, at the end of them the Crucible arena and its spectators as well as the entire planet being able to witness the new world champion.
Does Hawkins have any chances at all to hold the Rocket down and fly above him? Can Ronnie win his fifth world title and get his name under Stephen Hendry (7 titles), Steve Davis/Ray Reardon (6 titles each)?
Many would be tempted to choose the second option and the truth is that the odds favourite Ronnie, but still, let's not forget that the worst thing one can do, is to underestimate one's opponent and if a cue and some snooker balls are part of the equation, than the saying fully applies.
But putting all that aside, I invite you all to follow both Ronnie O'Sullivan and Barry Hawkins in their quest for the world title, on Monday from 2pm and 7pm. See yaa there, peeps!