Crucible Set For World Championship Bonanza

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The Crucible is back for another staging of the Snooker World Championship but will anybody be able to stop Ronnie O'Sullivan in his quest for title number seven?

Ronnie O'Sullivan

The qualifiers are complete, the draw has been made and 32 of the world’s top potters are ready to battle it out in a two-week snooker World Championship marathon.

There’s no shortage of contenders this year and you could easily make a case for many of the runners, including the 11/4 favourite Judd Trump.

The Ace looked almost unstoppable in the early part of the season and there is no doubt he holds strong claims. However, that has been the case in the past and the Bristol potter hasn’t always produced his best in this event. Trump was beaten by Kyren Wilson at the quarter-final stage last year, after surviving close matches against Tom Ford and Yan Bingtao, and the Ace can be opposed at the prices.

The Rocket Handed Favourable Draw

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to have been handed a fairly kind draw and at 4/1 he makes each-way appeal. The Rocket is housed in the top section, away from favourite Trump and third in Neil Robertson, and the Chigwell cueman looks to hold a major chance.

O’Sullivan’s ability needs no introduction and although he hasn’t won a ranking event this season, the Rocket has made five finals and that indicates that his game is in decent shape.

The six-time World Champion takes on debutant Mark Joyce in round one and there doesn’t look to be anyone in the quarter to cause the Rocket major problems.

The likes of John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby are all potential semi-final opponents for O’Sullivan, but they look to have far trickier paths to negotiate and the Chigwell cueman could be ready to equal Stephen Hendry’s seven world title record.

Captain on the Right Course

If there was to be a player to upset the big guns then perhaps Ali Carter is capable of outrunning odds of 50/1.

The Captain famously beat O’Sullivan in an ill-tempered Crucible second-round match back in 2018 and you can guarantee the Essex cueman has the mental strength to deal with any situations that may come his way.

It’s worth remembering that Carter is a two-time finalist in this event and the longer format matches seem to bring out the best in the 41-year-old.

Carter made the final of the recent Pro Series event and he continued that good form when cruising through the World Championship qualifiers.

The Captain takes flight against Jack Lisowski in the opening round, and while Jackpot is a good operator, the outright prices tell you that the draw could have been far trickier for the Captain.

The likes of Robertson, Wilson and Barry Hawkins are all housed in what is a strong looking quarter, but perhaps quotes of 23/20 about the Aussie and 16/5 on the Warrior look to overplay their chances, compared to the 12/1 available for Carter, and the Captain can be considered to win the third section.

Mark Allen, Mark Williams, Yan Bingtao and Shaun Murphy are potters that can also be considered and, with crowds returning, punters are set for cracking fortnight of baize battles.

*All odds correct at time of writing

An experienced sports journalist, Henry’s knowledge spans across a number of different areas, including darts and snooker.

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