Hazel Irvine introduces highlights from Thursday's play in Sheffield, where the line-up for the last 16 is now complete.
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Blink and you'll miss him, the Rocket, Ronnie O'Sullivan and! Here
comes the musician, Sean Murphy. At just happy to be out there and play.
Every snooker player loves playing and you have to embrace at all. I
came here in good form a few months ago and he slapped me to one side.
You are capable of anything coming not just playing him, you're playing
the entourage and his intimidation factor and the crowd and last time I
got too involved in all of the other stuff unforgotten A. It is round two
at the Crucible and the boxing analogy may be apt because this
evening we had ourselves a proper heavyweight contest. You know and I
know that Ronnie O'Sullivan and Shaun Murphy are not exactly best of
pals but that gave their second round match an extra edge amidst a
heated build-up and a lot of strong words on the way. Stand-by for the
magician against the Rocket, that was evening offering. Earlier in the
afternoon Neil Robertson got across the line in comfortable fashion
against Noppon Saengkham. The Aussie had earlier in the match knocked in
a landmark 500 strolled over the line 10-4-macro. Today we saw more
of the knock-on who qualify to get here. Yesterday was very daunting to
come here for the first time and I was speaking to him straight after
the match and I said that he would do better next time here and he said
he was very nervous in the first session yesterday so he came out and
played much better today but it was very tough to lose from 8-1 down in
so many things have to go against you and I was lucky to finish off
the match pretty early. This evening Barry Hawkins became the last man to
book a place in the second round after beating Tom Ford. He hasn't
failed to make it to release the quarters since 2012 and he now faces
Graeme Dott, another Crucible specialist. I am delighted to get
through that round and I am expecting a tough game. Tom is a
great player when he gets going but I will take it and the main thing
was together a past that first round really. I think winning 7-2 in the
session yesterday against him didn't really kill the match off but it put
a lot of doubt it is my, that's official. If I get a chance I will
score. I am happy with my form and this is a tough place to play but if
you can settle that they're as I have done in the last few years then
I can play good snooker and hope you do that again. The second round draw
is now complete and here is how it looks.
Earlier this week Ronnie O'Sullivan caused a Ferrari amidst all the
accusations of bullying and intimidation at the highest levels
of the sport, accusation strongly denied, and then Shaun Murphy waded
in and accused Ronnie of washing his dirty linen in public and a slanging
match between the games authorities and players doesn't look good.
Factor all of that into your computations and you have got the
makings of a Rather combustible encounter, to say the least. The
bell went on it tonight and we join the refrain one with Shaun Murphy to
play and 14 points behind and we are in the company of Steve Davis and
John Virgo. The cue ball is coming up the table. Money will be tempted
by this one. He will look at what he would be left with if he puts his
opponent up again and Sean will play a more successful safety. He has got
to go for this. Absolutely. If he had it replaced John -- Sean could
get the safety shot just right and he would be in trouble. There is a
little bit of something in the cloth that has caught his eye. Good cueing
needed for this. Just off straight and he will play the run-through for
pink or blue. That is solid. A good shot. A good finish and a little bit
betwixt and between. 2.5 for the pink and not enough of the blue. --
too hard for the pink and not enough for the blue. Not absolutely sure
what he played for there but I think he played for the blue and once
again these conditions are at the moment playing a bit slower.
Trapping a bit. When they are hitting the cushions
Square on, but when they are hitting it sideways they seem to be sliding.
He played for one of the reds in the middle of the table and he got one
to the right of a black. He can just get through to.
Not the right angle on the pink so a little bit of work to do with the
cue ball. He can use a fair bit of force here. He played that well. He
deserves everything he gets. He has got choices now. Should the
red away from the path of the black. -- shift the red away. There is a
red by the black spot but he won't like the look of as well.
You don't want to be playing the black, as Steve said, the black spot
is almost tied up by the red. Just hit nicely to get on the pink. I
would say that if there was any player in the game that you would
pick to tune into a table as quick as possible, it is Ronnie
O'Sullivan. He needs to get to 61 points. He has
screwed back a little bit too far and there is a little gap year. He
has to find it though. He won't mind that cue ball keeps running, and it
has, he is now perfect the blue. You can see it as a nice angle. The
right side of the blue line. The Bulls could not be better placed. A
snooker player 's nightmare, the wrong side of the blue. On the days
when you judge that particular shot by Ronnie O'Sullivan has judged to
perfection correctly, it makes the game a lot easier. The red colour
and a red would be enough as Ronnie glances at the scoreboard. He has
overdone slightly but after this blue just one point needed. It was
never going to be a problem. The next red to go 57 ahead with only 51
remaining. Inigo Ros. -- in it goes. He needed two chances but Shaun
Murphy blade two pour shifty shots and he capitalised on the second
one. -- Shaun Murphy played two pour shifty shots.
He won't be able to make the century but he will be keen to clear the
table. He doesn't want his opponent coming back and getting some
practice time. Clever use of the middle pocket. He
looks wonderful touch. Sending out a signal to Shaun which
I'm sure he knew before the start of this match, that if he is going to
get anything out of it he will have to play well. But that is what you
expect at this level and that is what you expect in the World
Championship at the Crucible Theatre.
Wonderful stuff from Ronnie O'Sullivan. It is Ronnie O'Sullivan
who takes the first frame. He leads 1-0. Ronnie was springing out of his
corner to land the first blow and incidentally he has twice beaten
Shaun here in Best of 25 frame matches at the Crucible, most
recently in 2014 which was a thumping 13 frames to three. We go
into frame to with money trailing by 46 points. -- Ronnie is trailing by
46 points. Didn't see that coming. The bridging
is awkward and I think it certainly got a kick, the red came off a bit
thick. It was the type of shot that he has misjudged the fact that he
was putting top spin on. Surely now pot the black and get
into those roads, just use those roads as a buffer. He didn't have to
do, I know, but he thought he might as well have done. He can get over
the line without them, I know. This will put in 62 points in front.
You still need to read and the colour. It looks like the top right
of that cluster of four goes to this one way, but it doesn't, he is very
proficient with the rest. The red and the black will do.
In goes the black, 70 points is the lead now. Just 67 remaining. He is
on this read to the right middle. 25. He made a couple of mistakes in
this frame, Shaun, but he wasn't punished for them. Yeah, I mean we
may not be correct in digging him out for not going into the pack of
reds. There are plenty of ways to play the positional side of things.
He will be happier now he has a frame on the board, that is for
certain. 41. He has got into this a little bit
too much. When you play this shot you're trying to win the yellow
under brown. It doesn't matter now of course. Funnily enough, if he was
to clear up here he would have a 91 break. That would equal one his
break in the first frame. Tit-for-tat, or what?
Tonight 's session, however it unfolds, one thing is for sure, you
are witnessing two of the greatest cue wastes that the game has ever
seen, -- two of the greatest cueists that the game has ever seen. So
relax and enjoy. Not bothering about the black. That puts Shaun Murphy on
the scoreboard. It is one apiece. So, at counterpunch from Murphy and
into the next it was Ronnie, this time with a break of 75, going 2-1
in front. Now we're into the last before the interval, frame four, and
it is Murphy to This game has been going on over
41.5 minutes. The average frame time at the moment is just under 14
minutes. Now let's see how Ronnie queues this one.
That is better. They are tough shots to play. He had to hold for the
black and seeded. You cannot decelerate with those. A good shot.
You really have to get the cue few through. It is interesting that the
shot but Ronnie O'Sullivan played, if he misses it he presents Shaun
Murphy with reds at the top of the table. It is very difficult to try
and explain which shots are the ones who have to go for and which ones
you should leave alone. That is whether you are sitting in a
commentary box, fan, a player at home, or the players out on the
table. They all have different opinions.
25. There is a loose read up near the blue but he has a nice angle if
he should wish to go into the red tear. I don't think it is one of
these situations that you can guarantee. One is had a quick look
at the pink into the red corner and if not I play -- I see value in
playing the cannon here. He decided not to. I can only assume that the
red just below the kink -- pink does go. And it does.
Play the red to the left middle here, I would have thought. I know
he was low on this red here, but I suppose he could play at an open up
the reds but he wouldn't have a clue where the cue ball would finish.
This is quite a shock to take on. It is a frame-winner if he putts but it
is a risk. Summing up this red in the middle pocket. This is the one
for me. OK, it is a tough spot but if you miss it you will be bringing
everything into play. But he did not miss it and he will be black, black.
-- back on the black. It looks like the end of 147 if he is dead
straight. It will be tough to keep the break going from here after the
black, does he have a fractional angle? Just. He may be able to force
it to the condition. If he comes in very low on the red he turned down
before. He is on it but he won't be able to play on the black off it. He
is a bit closer to the red. He'd get his hand on the table and it is
close enough that it makes it a bit easier, this pot. In Ros. He is on
the pink. -- in it goes. This is snooker of quality. Break shot.
Didn't leave much, but now Short is suddenly seeing he is looking at the
mid-session interval and see he will be 3-1 down. Only ever been two 146
breaks at the Crucible apparently. I remember Doug Mountjoy making a 145.
Mark Allen Graham got one. It was a pub quiz question. A nice -- the
highest break at the moment is Ding Junhui, it will get broken, but just
when? He is a little bit betwixt and between there. He will give this red
every due care and attention. Nice plate. He controlled the cue ball
perfectly. A quick glance at the scoreboard. This blue will put in 67
points in front but there are still 75 remaining so he is looking for
another red. That will put him 68 ahead. There are just 67 remaining,
he will want to clear up here because this will be a good target.
At the moment there is a possible 142 if you took blacks with these
remaining reds. He has decided to play for the pink. That just means
now that there is no way that Shaun Murphy will win coming back to the
table. A good break this, Steve. Yes, and also made without risk as
well, forgetting any types of 147 prize money or anything like that,
when the frame at all costs. He looks as we speak very workmanlike,
Ronnie O'Sullivan, apart from his natural genius which was makes him
look like a virtuoso. Yeah, workmanlike, I am not sure if Ronnie
and workmanlike together, I'm sorry. But the way his attitude, around the
table more than any body language. Yes, claimed the correct shot and
play the expansive shots, if you like. That is what I hate about
golf, when you hit your best drive down the middle they all go, steady,
steady! It's my best shot! He has played these absolutely wonderfully.
He has already made two centuries in the tournament so far. He could have
made it 140 but I don't think he is particularly interested in high
breaks. Wonderful stuff. Beautiful. 139 was possible, but not now. It
has gone down again and it is 135. His early break was 136. He just
wants to pot all of the balls. Remember, if you put all of the
balls you are bound to rain. Judging the reaction of his first-round
match against Gary Wilson which was such a tough work-out, there is only
one thing on his mind, and that is lifting the title to Mondays from
now. Somewhere he has been written off as not being so dominant but
when he is on top form, how could you write off? Never. This is an
absolutely superb break. Never looked in trouble. Clear the table
completely. All Shaun Murphy did was break off, sat down and enjoyed it
with the rest of us as Ronnie O'Sullivan makes one to wait because
he leaves at the mid-session interval 3-1. That was won his third
century here so far this year and the 20 fifth of bit tournament so
far. Blink and you miss and the interval was gone and we are into
frame five, only 20 behind. Six. It looks as though he has come
straight on this red. Just to roll it into the black. He did not want
to risk that. He thought he had to be too precise so he played that the
blue. A nice angle on it, no harm done.
You know Ronnie, he would like to get the black on the spot sooner
rather than later and there was a chance now to do that. 13. You do
get the feeling that once Ronnie O'Sullivan gets amongst the balls he
is likely to make a frame-winning contribution but at the moment Shaun
Murphy hasn't settled down in that department. He made an 80 break
early on but just being found wanting a fraction more in the
positional Department of the game. Yes, and the cue ball control is the
essence of this game. They can all part, but it is having good control
of the cue ball which can make the difference between winning and
losing a match. One of the problems with playing a
player of the standard and stature and break-building capability of
Ronnie O'Sullivan, is that it does put a lot of pressure on all
departments of your game, including break-building. When you get amongst
the balls, you feel like you must take advantage. He wasn't
particularly happy with that potting angle, so in potting this black
comedy will try to cannon the red in the middle of the table. He just
missed the cannon. He just brushed past it but wanted to hit it full in
the face. It is unlike him to miss a cannon like that. He played it quite
softly. He could have played it harder and he would have still been
on a red. He could have struck the ball with more authority and
guaranteed the back spin and the cannon. As he played it, he let it
drift past a fraction. But this red is still on.
No problem. It always amazes me, because he plays so many shots
left-handed, his standard with the rest is unbelievable, because he
very rarely uses it. He had to punch that in off the cushion. He now has
a 32 point gleed. These reds in the middle of the table with blacks
would put him at the snooker required stage.
It is a giddy 15 and a half minutes, the longest frame of the match.
He made certain of the red and there is no way back to the table for
Shaun. There is a chance of another
century. He made one before the mid-session interval. If he gets on
this red, a chance of another one. Not quite. It is a pity, but an
excellent contribution. Shaun laid a marvellous opening red and did not
make the most of it. Ronnie now leads by four frames to one. When he
took the next as well, you got the feeling Shaun Murphy did not have
many tricks left up his sleeve, at five frames to one down. A huge
frame coming now in the seventh. Ronnie, 57 points to 44 ahead, with
just four colours remaining. What on earth has he done there? Oh,
no! Well, it just shows you, he thought of everything but that. And
now... Gee-whiz. Unbelievable. What a gift for Shaun. Shaun has gone too
far with the cue ball. He has to do more mileage with the cue ball. OK,
you think he escaped to get there, but...
This is not going to be good unless it runs on a lot. He still needs
pink and black. The points are level. He needs to take a big
breath, Shaun Murphy, take the negative thoughts out of your brain.
Approach this like Ronnie had just played a bad safety shot, and then
you are in a different frame of mind. Stop thinking about the fact
that you have messed it up and try to play the right shot. I think he
has to go for the cut. I think it is cuttable and the cue ball comes in
and out of baulk for the black somehow.
He had to hit it hard, and when you hit it hard, you lose your accuracy.
What has he done here? Is the black going to snooker Ronnie on the pink?
It has done. There you see it. The things that can happen on a snooker
table that is only 12 foot by six. It's amazing.
It is safe. I am sure that Ronnie thought for a moment that the pink
was running towards the corner. But he had gifted Shaun a chance, and
Shaun was unable to take it. This is now a big frame, particularly for
Shaun Murphy. Good shot from Shaun Murphy. He was not tempted to try to
get the cue ball behind the black, that was too difficult. Ronnie has a
two, three-cushion safety behind the black. The pink will be in open play
a bit. He played the pot. Wow! I did not think he would play the pot.
Well, it surprised me. But the pace that the pink arrived at the pocket,
it was difficult for it to escape, really. Another chance for Shaun, a
bit more difficult, but the natural line for the cue ball is back
towards the black, if he can pop the pink. Would you believe it? Would
you believe it? He is having a nightmare.
He did not hit it with the right amount of pace. He was trying to
play the control shot, but surely you have to make sure of the pot.
Ronnie also needs pink and black. Never easy to get the cue ball up
the table from a ball in the pocket. And this is a tough one. This is a
massive turning point in the frame from Shaun Murphy's perspective, if
he misses it. And Ronnie knows the significance.
Not there. Is the black going to stop short of a middle pocket? It
is. It was a tough black, as Steve explained, and he made certain he
got a good cue ball. Everybody is susceptible to the tension at the
Crucible at different times in the match, even from in front. Shaun,
twice across safety, cue ball up the table. Good effort. Yes, could have
done with a bit more role on the cue ball to get tight to the baulk
cushion, but safe enough. Ronnie plays the side to side,
guaranteed to be safe. And he has a little bit of an angle on that,
enough of an angle that Shaun could be tempted into the cocked hat
bubble into the right middle, with an element of safety. It was too
straight. It was not like that. So another containing safety. The only
problem is that he has not put distance between cue ball and object
ball, so you would fancy Ronnie to play a better safety shot.
Advantage, Ronnie O'Sullivan at the moment. He could not afford to hit
it too thin, so he has left it up. My goodness! Everything is happening
in this frame, bad shots, bad misses. The difference between six
frames to one, and five frames to two, coming up now. Straight in the
heart of the pocket, and much appreciated by this packed crowd.
Ronnie O'Sullivan will be kicking himself. He had lots of chances, as
did Shaun, but Shaun will not be kicking himself because he won the
frame. Now three behind. Ronnie's domination of the session
is slowed up for now but much depends on the outcome of the final
frame of the evening. He missed it completely and it will
run back and leave the red to the left middle.
Ronnie will not be immune to the fact that he more or less threw away
the last frame. So he will look on this opportunity now with not so
much trepidation, but he will take extra care over every shot.
Particularly at the start of the break. He will not want to make any
silly mistakes. Once again, the judgment of pace, to
finish absolutely inch perfect on the blue. It gives him an
opportunity to play for the red just above the black.
Not quite far enough. In putting the red he will have to judge the cannon
on the black nicely. And he did. He did. Excellent shot. Tremendous
knowledge. There was a risk of the cue ball going behind the red.
He could have got into that Littlemore but it didn't matter, as
long as he made contact with the red.
Even though Ronnie O'Sullivan will have hated the last frame, and could
have got himself under it from in front, his vast talent and the speed
at which he plays around the table is usually enough to let that talent
do the talking. He can take his brain out of gear and play the shots
as if he is down the club. I think it is a fact, over the last few
seasons you can say that. But a few seasons ago, something like that
would have really knocked him out of his stride.
He would play the red to the right middle but it is too straight. Well,
he could. I don't know why he gave it that extra thought. I presume the
downside was that he was going to finish close to the cushion.
When you have to dig in, it makes the blue missable. Solid enough, but
he gave every attention to the pot and has just run slightly out of
position. Not perfect on the red. Dead straight, made it a bit easier.
Not certain to be on a red offer this shot. He could have pushed a
red towards the middle pocket. Don't tell me he is on that! I thought he
would play it softer and control it towards the middle but was obviously
opening up other reds. He is on this red, a massive bit of luck, really.
I suppose you cannot have it both ways. So many times we see players
go into the reds and finish on nothing and you say, that was
unlucky. So it is swings and roundabouts. But I think his purpose
was to open up more reds than just a single one, as you say. He was
fortunate it caught the bump on the middle pocket, and now a clear run
to the winning line and a four frame advantage at the end of the session.
And he certainly has not been tentative in this frame. We see
players so often, when things have gone wrong for them from in front.
All things considered, if this does become six frames to two for Ronnie
O'Sullivan, I think Shaun would have to say fair enough. It could have
been seven frames to one. Yes, I think it is a fair reflection
of what we have seen. Shaun can look at frames he should have won, and he
had chances to win, and under normal circumstances you would expect into.
But 81% pot success is really the Achilles' heel of Shaun this
evening. This pink will put Ronnie 72 points
in front with just 67 remaining. And an opportunity to finish with a
century break. He needs an angle on the blue,
because no reds are available. He may just be able to force it in and
come off the right-hand side cushion. Going round to see if
something is available, possibly a plant. He has not got the best angle
on the blue. But it doesn't matter, frame over. He played the cannon.
Unlucky. I don't think he banged his cue on the table on purpose, it
slipped out of his hand. Anyway, as I say, 78 points ahead, just 59
remaining. There will be a handshake, and they have treated us
to someone before snooker. OK, Ronnie O'Sullivan has been the main
man, Shaun Murphy will be disappointed with his performance.
Ronnie waves to the crowd and gets good appreciation. Shaun will hope
to do better in the second session tomorrow afternoon, but thought
might, he is six frames to two behind. Intrigue, drama, big breaks
and black ball finish. What a start, and we will have more tomorrow
afternoon in their second session. The other second-round match today
featured the 2015 champion Stuart Bingham and the world 14 Kyren
Wilson, who held the psychological advantage. They have met four times
previously and Wilson has never been beaten.
The first of the second round matches, just about to get underway.
That settles the first frame. Kyren Wilson leads by one frame to zero.
That is fantastic cueing. Anywhere but there are. Kyren
Wilson, leading by three frames. He actually got a kick there.
Excellent pot. He now leads by five frames to nil. It will be a very
relieved man to get a frame on the board. He trails five frames to one.
Kyren had a look to see if he could pot the red in the middle. He needs
to be careful not to play a push shot. I think that may well have
been a push. So a very relieved Stuart Bingham wins the seventh
frame and trails five frames to two. It looks like he is playing the pot.
And it is there. It will be a delighted Stuart Bingham. He will be
absolutely delighted to finish only five frames to three down. They are
back for the second instalment at 10am, live. There were quite a few
candidates for shot of the day but only one winner, and what a winner
from Shaun Murphy. I am not sure what he is trying to
do. Well, he is coming off side cushion, top cushion, lots of
right-hand side. This is risky. What a shot this is. Unbelievable!
Unbelievable export --. What a shot! Brilliant, wasn't it? Trick shot
supreme in the heat of battle. We are back live at 10am with the first
session between Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo, with China guaranteed a
quarterfinalist, but which of these will it be? Catch you in the
morning. Goodbye for now.
Hazel Irvine introduces highlights from Thursday's play in Sheffield, where the line-up for the last 16 is now complete.