The Rocket Returns To Crucible To Defend World Snooker Title
By Richard Smith: The eagerly anticipated Snooker World Championships gets under way on Saturday at the famous Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The epic 17-day showcase draws together the best names in the sport – with six former Champions in the field – and the 2013 showcase promises to be a captivating contest with a number of players in with a realistic chance of winning the prized World title.
The 2010 champion, Neil Robertson, along with Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan are the market leaders to win the prestigious title. Australian, Robertson, who won the China Open last month, will be looking to take his momentum into the tournament and bring his country more sporting success following Adam Scott’s win at the US Masters golf tournament last week.
Consistency has been a key element to Robertson’s game in recent months, with the four reaching four finals this season, and the in-form 2012 Masters champion will be gunning to win his first World title.
As always, all eyes will be on defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan as he bids to win his fifth World title. The Rocket remains on course to beat Stephen Hendry’s record haul of seven titles and if he plays to the best of his ability then he will no doubt edge closer to that tally.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan: Will make a decision on Tuesday
By Scott Macleod: The Chigwell cueman has played only one competitive match this season, stepping away from snooker in November in a move that cast doubt on whether he would ever be back.
One source close to O’Sullivan said he anticipates that the 37-year-old will confirm his intention to play at the Crucible and go for a fifth world title.
However, many key snooker figures were travelling to China for this week’s Haikou World Open and were unavailable to discuss the development.
It appeared even World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn was not certain what O’Sullivan will announce at a press conference in London scheduled for midday on Tuesday.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan could return to action at the 2013 World Championship
By Matthew Glazier: The four-time world champion walked away from the sport earlier this year, claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family, but he will be offered an invitation to appear at The Crucible next year following secret talks with Hearn.
Hearn said: “I have said to Ronnie that the only tournament for us if he wanted to change his mind – and that is not unknown – is the World Championship.
“We are not sure exactly when the closing date for that would be, maybe the end of January, and I will call him and make sure he knows when it is. Then he has the option, and it is his decision.
“We know exactly how much interest that would generate at this season’s event, clearly more so as he is defending world champion and has had most of the season out.
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Written by Rod Crowley: Having become the home to the PDC World Darts Championship, the Alexander Palace in London will now play host to the prestigious World Masters Snooker Championship, which gets underway on 15th January.
The top 16 players in the world will do battle over the week and although it is not a ranking event, a top prize of over £150,000 ensures that the game’s best players are all out to win.
As is the case ahead of any major snooker tournament, it is Ronnie O’Sullivan and world champion, John Higgins who are the favourites to win the title. The snooker betting
makes O’Sullivan and Higgins the joint 11/2 favourites with twice winner and current world number one, Mark Selby, next best at 13/2 alongside 2011 world finalist and recent UK Championship winner, Judd Trump at 7/1.
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