All the attention in the build-up to the start of the 2022 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible was on Ronnie O’Sullivan.
He can go down in tournament history if he wins, as the six-time world champion will equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven modern-era titles.
O’Sullivan won the event most recently in 2020, having first won it in 2001, and he is the No. 2 seed for this year’s event, which begins on Saturday.
Full schedule: when is Ronnie O’Sullivan playing at the 2022 World Snooker Championship?
O’Sullivan began his No. 7 title tilt against qualifier David Gilbert, winning 7-5. After leading 3-0, O’Sullivan came back strong to win the contest on Sunday, his game-highest break a brilliant 122.
His opponent made the semi-finals of the World Championship in 2019 and has a ranking title to his name – the 2021 Championship League – but he had little response once the six-time champion took Control.
O’Sullivan’s second-round match was against No. 15 seed Mark Allen. After the first session, O’Sullivan held a 6-3 lead, with the six-time champion producing a 131 clearance in a superb performance.
He extended that lead to 12-4 and looked in impressive form as Allen had little response to O’Sullivan’s shots. It didn’t take long for him to wrap up Saturday’s game, a 13-4 win that set the record for most World Championship wins: 71.
Most matches won at Crucible: 7⃣1⃣
In his 2⃣0⃣e world championship 𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹
—Eurosport (@eurosport) April 23, 2022
O’Sullivan defeated Stephen Maguire in the quarterfinals. He led 11-5 on Tuesday night and finished the match with his usual quickness in the third session on Wednesday morning, sealing a record 13th place in the semi-finals.
Four-time champion John Higgins was his opponent in the semi-finals for a best-of-33 match, taking place over four sessions.
O’Sullivan led 15-9 after a brilliant third session and, although Higgins defended to less than four frames, he was never able to apply the pressure. O’Sullivan ultimately secured a 17-11 victory.
Sunday, May 1 (1:00 p.m. BST)
O’Sullivan’s eighth final will be a best-of-35 contest that begins May 1 and ends May 2. Judd Trump waits, after beating Mark Williams 17-16 in a classic Crucible in the other semi-final.
How to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan’s matches on TV and live
In the UK there will be coverage on BBC TV on BBC One, Two and Four in the UK.
Via the BBC the action can also be followed when not on a TV channel on the iPlayer or Red Button option, with the option to view the matches on the BBC website.
Eurosport will also show coverage on its channels in the UK, and matches can also be streamed on Discovery+, with the latter option also available to European viewers.
DAZN will have streaming coverage in the United States and Canada.
Australian viewers will have the Matchroom Live app as an option for streaming coverage of Sheffield.
How many times has Ronnie O’Sullivan won the World Snooker Championship?
Six times in the past, O’Sullivan has been champion. He beat John Higgins 18-14 in 2001 to win his first.
The “Rocket” beat Graeme Dott 18-8 in 2004 and won by the same score against Ali Carter in 2008.
Carter was beaten again, this time 18-11, in 2012. A year later, the No. 5 title came as Barry Hawkins was beaten 18-12.
The sixth success came in 2020, when Kyren Wilson was sent off 18-8.
2001 🏆 | 2004 🏆 | 2008 🏆 | 2012 🏆 | 2013 🏆 | 2020 🏆
—Eurosport (@eurosport) December 19, 2020
Has Ronnie O’Sullivan ever lost in the first round of the World Snooker Championship?
Yes. On four occasions O’Sullivan had to pack up and leave South Yorkshire after the first round.
He lost his very first match at the Crucible in 1993, to Alan McManus 10-7. He was beaten in 2000 on a final decider, 10-9 by David Gray.
In 2003, Marco Fu won 10-6.
More recently in 2019, amateur player James Cahill caused the shock. He upset O’Sullivan with a 10-8 success.