Snooker: Hendry shows off his touches of class : White struggles to make impression in world championship final

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The Independent Online
THE NATION may be demanding a win for Jimmy White, but Stephen Hendry is not being accommodating. The final of the Embassy World Snooker Championship was going the holder's way last night, Hendry leading 11-4 in the best-of-35 frames match.

It was a remorseless exhibition from the Scot which did not encourage optimism that White, a runner-up on four occasions, might win his first world title. At times yesterday he was fighting for his self-respect at The Crucible.

White was 31 yesterday, a reminder that his chances of his winning the world championship are receding fast. There was no gift of luck either in the opening session as Hendry began irresistibly. At one point White had missed just three balls and was staring at a 5-1 deficit.

The opening frame could not have been a more resolute statement of intent from the reigning champion. White broke off leaving a stray red dislodged from the pack, and Hendry potted it from distance with aplomb. Nine minutes, and a near impeccable start, later he was 1-0 up, having made a 136 clearance.

The Londoner then levelled the score 1-1 with a break of 58. It was not a birthday precedent, however, as it was the last time he would see parity. White missed a red at 63-0 up and Hendry cleared for the third frame. In the next two he missed relatively easy blacks and his opponent swooped. When he cleared for 126 from another less- than-safe break, Hendry had been about as close to snooker perfection as you can get.

EMBASSY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Sheffield): Semi-finals: J White (Eng) bt J Wattana (Thai) 16-9; S Hendry (Sco) bt A McManus (Sco) 16-8. Final: Hendry leads White 11-4.

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