Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump both began to produce the goods today, taking control of their respective last 16 clashes in Sheffield.
O’Sullivan was nearing his imperious best at times against old foe Mark Williams and, having held a 5-3 advantage overnight, quickly rattled off a further six frames on the trot to build up an overwhelming 11-3 lead.
There were rumblings that the three-time champion would even complete the victory with a session to spare but his Welsh opponent did well to salvage the last two frames of the session and at least give himself the tiniest glimmer of hope for tomorrow afternoon.
That said, it is hard to envisage Williams dominating a session in such a fashion to win it 8-1, which is what he would have to achieve in order to complete a monstrous turnaround.
Not in the former world no1’s favour is the fact that he hasn’t beaten the ‘Rocket’ in the last ten years – totalling a staggering 15 defeats to the Englishman in a row.
There could be scope to suggest that Williams goes into his ties with O’Sullivan these days with a defeatist attitude from the outset but, in truth, there wasn’t much he could have done today against a rampant Ronnie.
O’Sullivan is looking ominously good as the tournament enters its second week, the business end of proceedings, and if he does get the job done a mouth-watering encounter with 2010 winner Neil Robertson will be his reward.
Should that materialise, it promises to be an absolute barnstormer of potting and break-building but both players are well capable of excellent matchplay snooker as well which could lead to an out and out classic.
The eventual winner of that game would be the undoubted favourite to go and reach the final while on the other side of the draw Judd Trump is the obvious choice to do likewise.
Trump began the event poorly but struggled over the winning line against Dominic Dale despite suffering from food poisoning while he was perhaps fortunate to be within two of Ali Carter after their opening bout of action following a fairly poor display by his high standards.
Yet, today the 2011 runner-up produced snooker much more akin to his performances at the UK Championship before Christmas as he overturned the deficit and created a two frame advantage of his own at 9-7.
Trump enjoyed a good run of the ball against Carter, who was visibly frustrated at times, but success normally comes with a slice of fortune along the way.
While it still very, very early days, people will inevitably begin to realise the distinct possibility of a Trump-O’Sullivan final next weekend and if last year’s atmosphere inside the Crucible was electrifying then it beggars belief what level of noise there’ll be for that duo.
In the other second round ties, Jamie Jones showed experience beyond his youthful years to lead Andrew Higginson 10-6 while fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens is locked at 8-8 with Barry Hawkins.
The full draw, latest and results can be viewed by clicking here.
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