Experience Gives O’Sullivan the Edge

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Ronnie O'Sullivan will take on Kyren Wilson in the Crucible final after both went the distance in their respective semi-finals.

Five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan

The most dramatic day of snooker the grand old Crucible Theatre has ever seen has resulted in what should be a classic World Championship final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson.

O’Sullivan is the 20/67 favourite following his 17-16 victory over old nemesis Mark Selby, the man he infamously nicknamed the Torturer because of the pain he had previously inflicted on him, while 51/20 outsider Wilson will have done well to sleep on Friday night after somehow overcoming Anthony McGill in a decider which was arguably the most bonkers frame in the history of the sport.

Both men need to regain their focus to go again and O’Sullivan will fancy his chances of making it six World Championship titles.

Rocket Has Been There and Done It

The 44-year-old has the experience on his side of being at this stage previously and is in an illustrious list of those who have claimed snooker’s Triple Crown – the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.

Indeed, the 36-time ranking title winner has lifted the UK Championship and Masters seven times each and when it comes to the crunch he is difficult to stop in big matches. 

He has won five of his six World Championship finals and eight of his last ten ranking finals which is evidence that when the Rocket is playing well enough to go deep in tournaments it is a strong indicator that he won’t be stopped.

Wilson does not have anything like that kind of pedigree and is a touch of an underachiever given his obvious talent.

Final Hurdle a Problem for Wilson

The three-time ranking event winner grabbed the 2015 Shanghai Masters and then landed the Paul Hunter Classic in 2018 and the German Masters in 2019. 

He has, however, lost five of his eight finals overall and also came up short in the 2018 Masters and prestigious Champion of Champions competition.

O’Sullivan beat Wilson in that Champion of Champions final two years ago but he had to go the distance winning 10-9 and those looking for a bet are pointed towards the Warrior at 50/59 in receipt of a 4.5 frame start on the handicap in the race to 18.

Little Between the Two on Past Evidence

The last three meetings between the players went to a decider – O’Sullivan recovered from 5-1 down to win 6-5 in their Shanghai Masters quarter-final in 2019 and reeled off the last two frames from 9-8 down to take the Champion of Champions Trophy.

However, the Warrior showed his battling spirit to beat O’Sullivan the last time they were on the green baize with a 6-5 success in the semi-final of this year’s Welsh Open.

Wilson was whalloped 9-1 in the final by Shaun Murphy and there is a question he could be overawed by the occasion. But Wilson was good enough to eliminate defending champion Judd Trump earlier in the tournament so clearly has pedigree.

Another O’Sullivan v Wilson decider is available at 13/2 and it’s 20/33 for over 5.5 centuries with these two already knocking up 18 breaks of at least a ton.

It should be an open final given both like to attack and ultimately that probably suits the Rocket, who is unlikely to get bogged down in the long drawn out tactical battles he detests.

An O’Sullivan victory by a margin of 18-15 is 9/1 and 18-16 at 10/1 also appeals.

*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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