Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan looks in prime form to retain his World Snooker crown at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The Rocket has shown that he is revitalised following his self-imposed exile from the game. This decision proved to be paying dividends for him as other players are looking far more jaded from a season on the increasingly busy snooker circuit. World number one Mark Selby is one of the players complaining of burnout after an arduous season.

There have already been a number of upsets in the tournament, leaving O'Sullivan as the most experienced and gifted player left. A lot of potential champions have fallen, the most recent being Ding Junhui.

At the time of writing, there is the potential for a number of new names to reach the final. For the good of snooker it will be great to see one of Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden or Michael White compete in the world final.

Despite being on the verge of losing to The Rocket, Stuart Bingham has capped off a fine season by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump are both capable of beating Ronnie but only one of them will get the chance to do so after their close encounter has reached its climax.

The eras of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry are now over and the Championship is much more open and unpredictable than ever before it starts. This is great for the game and shows the huge amount of talent in existence. Gone are the days when the winner could be more or less predicted before the tournament starts, although from now on very few will be taking bets on Ronnie to win as he is odds-on favourite this year.

One thing you can predict is that if O’Sullivan is on top form and he has the desire to achieve then there is nobody in World Snooker who can live with him or stop him from reaching his fifth title at The Crucible.

The question is will he maintain this form or will he fall short at the final hurdle? Which player is capable of defeating O'Sullivan or will defeat be self-inflicted?

 

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