Another record could be heading the Rocket’s way in this year’s tournament.
There have been 220 World Championship players at the Crucible since 1977, but not all of them have managed to win a match at the sport’s spiritual home.
Just over half of those competitors have enjoyed the taste of victory at least once in their careers, and even fewer still have reached the second round on more than one occasion.
Consider then how magnificent a feat it is that Ronnie O’Sullivan could equal Stephen Hendry’s all-time record of 70 victories in World Championship matches in Sheffield when he takes on Anthony McGill in the last 16 on Thursday and Friday.
The 45 year-old’s appearance in the first round this year already saw him eclipse Hendry’s tally of 90 matches overall at the venue, and this encounter against McGill will see O’Sullivan’s impressive total tick closer to the century landmark by reaching number 92.
O’Sullivan’s first match at the venue stages was in 1993 when he was defeated at the opening hurdle, but twelve months later he sealed his first win and has been a constant force in the arena since.
With six world titles to his name, the defending champion could match Hendry’s record of seven world crowns with a repeat victory this year.
Plenty of more work is required to achieve that special feat, but O’Sullivan will at least be the favourite to beat Hendry’s fellow Scot McGill in the next couple of days.
Should he reach the quarter-finals of the 2021 edition that is sponsored by Betfred, one of the leading sports betting and online casino firms, O’Sullivan will then be one match victory away from breaking the all-time Crucible record.
A total of 44 players have won at least ten World Snooker Championship encounters – a long way off Hendry and O’Sullivan but respectable showings nonetheless.
The question is, can you name them?
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