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Move to Strike

The semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship is unique in that it is the only format that is played over the course of three days.

In those three days a lot can change, so to get too excited over somebody’s position after the opening session would be foolish.

These frames matter, of course they do, but all is never lost if you can go into the final session, which is the most important, within touching distance.

That’s why the first two sessions of four is more a case of jostling for position rather than trying to win the encounter outright.

There was suggestion from various quarters on Thursday that if Judd Trump fell behind to Ronnie O’Sullivan following the first bout of play he’d be a certain loser.

How ludicrous is that?

So basically, if Trump had lost the last frame of the session to go 5-3 down to the defending champion the result, despite the eventual victor needing 17 frames, was already etched in stone?

Makes sense!

As it turned out, Trump did win the last frame of a highly entertaining set of eight frames to share proceedings after day one.

Even so, the beauty of the longer format is that there are opportunities for both players to string successive frames together while the flip-side is that if you are on the wrong end of a winning run there is no immediate need to panic.

In a clash of a pair of competitors who are making their debut appearances at the last four stage of the Crucible, Barry Hawkins has fallen 6-2 down to Ricky Walden.

Walden still needs 11 frames, which is more than what is needed for any final elsewhere on the snooker calendar.

Despite his inexperience under these conditions, 33 year-old Hawkins will be well aware of this and simply claiming the next two sessions 5-3 will have him back on level terms before the contest’s conclusion – not an insurmountable task at all.

The point is, the semi-finals cannot be won on the opening day and neither can they be lost.

All four participants have now tasted the atmosphere and energy of the one-table setting.

It is from today that it becomes more important, especially in the Trump vs O’Sullivan clash as they play 16 further frames, to find a suitable attacking point prior to the games’ likely nerve-jangling completion on Saturday.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.