Snooker: Crucible saga pits genius of O'Sullivan against king Hendry

Drama is the Crucible's stock in trade and the Sheffield theatre will today play host to Act V of a World Championship saga between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry in this year's semi-finals after those titans of the game both progressed to the last four yesterday, and a fifth Crucible meeting.

O'Sullivan, the most naturally gifted player the sport has known and twice a champion, in 2001 and 2004, made it to the last four after seeing off the challenge of Liang Wenbo, the 21-year-old Chinese upstart whose all-attack style has thrilled audiences since his first-round demolition of Ken Doherty. O'Sullivan prevailed 13-7 last night.

Hendry is the undisputed king of the big-stage baize, with a record seven world titles already to his name. He kept himself on course for an unlikely eighth at the age of 39 by completing a 13-7 quarter-final win yesterday over Ryan Day.

The winner of their duel will be the favourite for the title in a final against either Ali Carter or Joe Perry. That pair meet in the other semi, which also starts today. Carter, 28, from Essex, beat Peter Ebdon 13-9 yesterday, while journeyman Perry, 33, won a to-the-wire battle with Maguire, 13-12, that finished at 11.28pm.

The last time Hendry progressed so far, in 2004, he played Sullivan and lost 17-4, which remains the biggest margin of defeat in any Crucible semi-final.

"Ronnie is the best player in the world at the moment, right-handed, left-handed, one-legged, one-armed, whatever you want," said Hendry. "He's a genius. I've got the game capable of beating him, but I need to bring my best game out."

O'Sullivan said: "It's good to be in the semi-final against a fantastic player." This year's semi-final will be Hendry's 12th, a record that eclipses Steve Davis's 11, and keeps him in contention for a 10th final (he lost in 1997 and 2002) and a first title since 1999.

Aside from the 2004 semi-final, which O'Sullivan used as a springboard to win the second of his own two titles to date, Hendry and the Rocket have met at the Crucible on three other occasions. Hendry won all three, 17-14 in the 2002 semi-final before losing the final to Ebdon; 17-13 in 1999 before beating Mark Williams in the final; and 13-8 in the 1995 quarters before beating Nigel Bond in the final.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions