It's the best of 35 frames/first to 18 frames so a long way to go yet, all the way through Bank Holiday Monday - a pure 'gimme' for BBC TV schedulers (for whom the usual Bank Holiday fair is usually pure dross with films that have been repeated to death - and that's if you're lucky).
The standout this year without doubt has been O'Sullivan - his performance has been notable for a distinct lack of gurning and general uncomfortable-ness which has been reflected in some stellar performances and nigh on vintage performances here and there through the second week. Anyone looking for 'tells' or as a cue for whether you should back Ronnie or not - whilst sat in his chair away from the table, if he's got a towel on his head, or he's nibbling away at his cue tip, or he's warming his hands on a cup of hot water, probably best not to bet on him to win the tournament (and if he's doing more than one of those things at once then definitely that's a big SELL ).
But yes generally none of those awkward traits were there - he only used a single tip throughout the tournament (we were reliably informed by the commentators!), towels were strictly not on his head, warm cups of water were also nowhere to be seen and all in all his demeanour looked more like that of a champion, calm, composed and workmanlike.
All of that said though, it's not a foregone conclusion that Carter will roll over and let O'Sullivan steamroller him. His performance throughout the tournament has been conducted to a strategy of 'safety first', with him notably refusing some half chances in the early few frames of the final to keep things tight. Whether that strategy will see him through against Ronnie once he gets on a roll is debatable...
Steven Hendry Announces Retirement
The other notable news from the 2012 World Championships was the retirement of Steven Hendry after 27 years of play at a professional level.
Undoubtedly one of the best - if not the very best - player of all time, the number of records and outstanding facts about Hendry include stuff like:
- Seven World Championship titles - a record in the modern era since the tournament moved to The Crucible in 1977 (only bettered by Joe Davis back in the day when he won every single tournament between 1927-1940, although there are significant caveats to that seemingly amazing feat).
- Youngest ever World Champion (at 21)
- World Number 1 for 8 consecutive years (1990-1998)
- Holds the record for the most world ranking titles (36)
- Holds the record for the most competitive 100 breaks (775)
- Also(!) jointly holds the record for the most competitive 147 breaks (11, jointly held with O'Sullivan
Check out his page on Wikipedia for the full lowdown.
As is usual for most top level pro players, he has been commentating on this year's WC (actually commentating for a few years now) and hopefully with time will settle into that role nicely. Also on the cards apparently is a move to China - not entirely sure what he's going to be doing there but presumably it will be a 'Hendry Academy' of some sort.
Kudos to him anyway for a lifetime of top class performances.
With the upsurge in interest in Twitter, snooker players have started to take to Twitter just like nearly everyone else. Predictably, controversy has never been far behind and Mark Allen managed to cause his fair share by Tweeting about his distaste for the way the current organization of the game is being carried out by ex-Davis manager Barry Hearn (current head of World Snooker).
Via his Twitter account, he went on to tweet some regrettable stuff about the China Open which went on to take up a lot of tabloid inches with stuff like:
This place is horrendous! Dead cat found this morning. Any wonder this place stinks! Must be dead cats all round the town!!
Journey a nightmare. People are ignorant. Place stinks. Arena's rubbish, tables poor, food is horrendous. Other than that I love China.
Might've been a bit harsh a few hours ago in my tweet. Not all Chinese people are ignorant. I stand by everything else though.
He seems to have some regret though about this kind of thing, and has since closed his Twitter account - the equivalent one would think to snapping your spade so you can't dig yourself in any deeper!