All attention in the build-up to the start of the 2022 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible is on Ronnie O’Sullivan.
He can make history at the tournament if he prevails as the six-time world champion will match Stephen Hendry’s modern-era record of seven titles.
O’Sullivan won the event most recently in 2020, having first won it in 2001, and he is No.2 seed for this year’s event, which begins on Saturday.
Full schedule: when does Ronnie O’Sullivan play at the 2022 World Snooker Championship?
O’Sullivan began his tilt at title No. 7 on Saturday, winning 10-5 against qualifier David Gilbert.
Having trailed 3-0, O’Sullivan stormed back to win the contest on Sunday, his highest break of the match a brilliant 122.
His opponent made the semi-finals of the World Championship back in 2019 and has one ranking title to his name — the 2021 Championship League — but he had little answer 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 lead 6-3 lead, the six-time champion producing a clearance of 131 in a superb showing.
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 him long to wrap the match up on Saturday, a 13-4 win that saw him set the record for most wins at the World Championship: 71.
Most matches won at the Crucible: 7⃣1⃣
Into his 2⃣0⃣th World Championship 𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹
— Eurosport (@eurosport) April 23, 2022
Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals. Maguire has pedigree, but his form has tailed off recently.
Maguire entered the competition through qualifying, but that didn’t stop him beating Zhao Xintong to reach the quarter-final. The young Chinese player is highly regarded by many, and Maguire may have gotten a taste for taking a big scalp.
The first session will start at 10:00 on April 26, with the match expected to continue to April 27.
Four-time champion John Higgins and 2010 winner Neil Robertson are potential semi-final opposition. That will be a best-of-33 frames match, running over four sessions between April 28 and April 30.
Top seed Mark Selby and 2019 winner Judd Trump are in the other side of the draw, and O’Sullivan cannot meet them before the final.
If O’Sullivan does make it to the final for an eighth time, it is a best-of-35 contest that will start on May 1 and finish on May 2.
How to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan’s matches on TV and live streaming
In the UK, there will be coverage on BBC television across BBC One, Two and Four in the UK.
Via the BBC, the action can also be followed when not on a TV channel on either the iPlayer or the Red Button option, with it also possible to view the matches on the BBC website.
Eurosport will also be screening coverage on their channels in the UK, and matches can also be streamed on Discovery+, with the latter option also available to European viewers.
Australian viewers will have the Matchroom Live app as their option for streaming coverage from Sheffield.
How many times has Ronnie O’Sullivan won the World Snooker Championship?
Six times in the past has O’Sullivan been champion. He beat John Higgins 18-14 in 2001 to claim his first.
The “Rocket” beat Graeme Dott 18-8 in 2004, and won by the same scoreline against Ali Carter in 2008.
Carter was again beaten, this time 18-11, in 2012. A year later, title No.5 came as Barry Hawkins was beaten 18-12.
The sixth success came in 2020, when Kyren Wilson was despatched 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 has had to pack his bags and leave South Yorkshire after the first round.
He lost his first ever match at the Crucible in 1993, to Alan McManus 10-7. He was beaten in 2000 on a final-frame decider, 10-9 by David Gray.
In 2003 it was Marco Fu who got the better of him, with the result 10-6.
Most recently in 2019, it was an amateur player James Cahill who caused the shock. He upset O’Sullivan with a 10-8 success.