Saturday, 4 May 2013

World Championship (semi-finals) - the clock is ticking


The clock is ticking
One more day separates us from the grandiose 2013 World Championship final, a final that we've been waiting for an entire year. 

In Sheffield things are ready to explode, as the semi-finals are under way and the four players have a lot in common with the ancient gladiators that were fighting for their lives. Well, maybe they aren't fighting precisely for their own lives, but they sure are fighting for the final of their life, for this is what a final at the Crucible means.

On one side we have a pair of players that could easily be described as "the clash of the century" - Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump -  and on the other side we have two players, that sadly enough are performing under the shadow of the first two named ones. Not fair, I tell you, for Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins's match it a genuinely thrilling one. These lads deserve more publicity.

Walden in control
So let's begin with them, shall we?

The cueists have completed two of their four sessions, at the end of the second one Walden taking a comfortable lead of 9-7 over his opponent.

However a more comfortable lead was the one he got after the first session, when runs of 91, 105, 60 and 119 brought him a 6-2 advantage over Hawkins.

The second session started with some very scrappy frames, the first two being cashed by Barry, who was now trailing 6-4.

Walden put his foot down and took the 12th frame, while his opponent stroke back and won the next one, thus creating a "I win the first frame, you the next one" playing pattern. 

A break of 106 was re-opening a three-frame gap between Walden and Hawkins, but this time the OnQ Promotions lad rushed in and took the next two frames with runs of 36, 30 and 47 to narrow the gap at 8-7.

The Hawk ready to upset things
The last frame was carefully conquered by Ricky (who's playing like a cool cat) and his 53 break, so today the players will start their third session from a 9-7 scoreline.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump have completed three sessions of cue-crossings and if after the first one the lads were all square at four apiece, by the end of the second session the Rocket was launching himself into space with a 9-7 lead, while after the third one his advantage is set at 14-10.

As expected, the clash of the century had a very foreseeable start: the players were separated by just one frame. Wroooooong! At least for the first part of the match.

Ronnie was the first to break the ice with a break of 65 and even though Trump drew level by taking the next frame, the Rocket fired back with breaks of 40, 34, 75 and 89 for a 4-1 lead.

It took Trump the rest of the remaining three frames of the first session to draw level at 4-4 and only from that point on, the lads started their "one frame apart" strategy.


O'Sullivan on his way of reaching the final
Things took a very different turn from frame 14, when an early miss from Judd brought Ronnie to the table, a break of 93 points giving him a 8-6 lead.


One more decisive 60 break and O'Sullivan was 9-6 up, with only one more frame to be played, frame that was in the end cashed by Trump, so the scoreline froze at 9-7.


The third session saw an eager-to-win O'Sullivan storming in and taking the first two frames (runs of 51, 22 and 28), Trump only managing to hit a beautiful ton and catch the 19th frame to trail 11-8.
Trump eyes his second World Championship final
Another couple of frames entered into Ronnie's account thanks to runs of 62 and 34, but this time Trump replayed by taking the next two also, for a 13-10 scoreline.

The last frame of the third session reverted to O'Sullivan who used a top break of 89 to get a four-frame advantage, 14-10.

So the clock is ticking and by the end of today we shall find out who's going to entertain us for this year's final. Will it be O'Sullivan? Will it be Trump? Will it be Walden, or will it be Hawkins?


But no matter who wins today, we are in for quite an interesting final, no double about that.



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