There is very little left to say about Ronald Antonino O’Sullivan, who is generally regarded as the most naturally-talented player to ever pick up a cue. Anyone, even those on the periphery of the sport, knows that he is a mercurial talent, but a man who can also be, let’s say, unconventional. However, snooker and pool, as with all sports, are not judged on talent alone. When he looks back on his career, O’Sullivan might think that he should have added a few more World Championships to his haul. For all his talent, it may end up being disappointing if O’Sullivan does not surpass Stephen Hendry’s tally of seven World Championship crowns.
O’Sullivan chasing Davis’ record
Seven will be a number on O’Sullivan’s mind this week however, as he targets a record-breaking number of UK Championships. He is currently tied with Steve Davis on six titles and, as you would expect, O’Sullivan is the favourite to go all the way. The event takes place from 27th November to 9th December at the Barbican Centre, York.
At this early part of the season, the Rocket seems to be in the mood. He picks and chooses his tournaments these days, but has he been ultra-consistent in events he has played over the last couple of months. That included wins in the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions tournament, as well as a runner up spot in the Northern Ireland Open.
As we know with O’Sullivan, his biggest enemy is usually himself. If he gets bored or loses concentration, there is every chance that he crashes out in the early rounds. There seems to be a zen-like quality to his attitude at the moment, which will perhaps worry his competitors.
O’Sullivan backed by bookies
The latest snooker UK Championship betting makes good reading for O’Sullivan and his fans. The Rocket is priced as low as 5/2 to win the tournament with Ladbrokes, although some bookies go up to 4/1. Mark Selby is widely seen as his closest competitor, with the world number one given decent odds of 6/1 by Betfair. The evergreen pair of John Higgins and Mark Williams can be found at 10/1 and 14/1 with the same bookmaker.
However, there must be some betting value in backing Judd Trump, who defeated O’Sullivan in the final of the Northern Ireland Open this weekend. Trump is available at 11/1 with Bet365 and will surely have a psychological advantage if he is to clash with O’Sullivan again. It was a long drought of 13 months without a ranking event victory for Trump, but he looked on his game in Belfast and could use it as a platform going forward. Incidentally, the other standout price has to be the 14/1 Ladbrokes are offering for Ding Junhui.
Will O’Sullivan justify his favourite status? It tends to become apparent early in the tournament if he is in the mood or not. That doesn’t intend to cheapen his attitude, it’s rather a statement of fact. Usually within a few days we can tell if O’Sullivan is a likely winner, or that he wishes to be elsewhere. The signs are good though for a player who is reached the semi-finals or better in every major tournament he has played this season. A seventh UK Championship beckons.