Snooker: O'Sullivan seeks five in a row
Saturday 12 January 2008
Ronnie O'Sullivan is hoping to become only the second player ever to reach five consecutive Wembley finals when he begins the defence of his Masters title tomorrow. His opening match against Stephen Maguire pits the provisional World No 1 and No 2 against each other.
O'Sullivan beat Maguire 10-2 last month to win the UK Championship – his first ranking title for 33 months – but the 32-year-old twice-world champion does not expect a simple rematch. "Stephen will be back stronger," he said.
As usual, the Masters field has strength in depth. Nine of the 18 competitors at the Wembley Arena, where a £150,000 winner's cheque is up for grabs, have won a major title in the past two years.
World Champion John Higgins' match against China's Ding Junhui is another that catches the eye in the first round. But O'Sullivan is the man with Wembley form. He beat Ding 10-3 last year, and Higgins 10-3 in 2005. He lost 10-9 thrillers in 2006 to Higgins and in 2004 to Paul Hunter. Only Stephen Hendry has ever reached five straight Masters finals, between 1989 and 1993. He won them all, and made the final again in 1994, but lost.
"I love the Masters and I'm proud of my record over the last four years," O'Sullivan said. "Even the finals I lost, I don't mind looking back on them, because they were both great matches."
Latest in Sport
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...