Crucible Diary 2013: Day Thirteen Blog

Day thirteen at the at the Crucible Theatre sees the venue come into its own, as we see the start of the three-day semi-finals with just the one table in the arena. Already we have seen Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump split the first eight frames of their last four encounter, though much of the attention (rather unfortunately), has centred upon Ronnie’s post-match press conference yesterday.

Click here to view my video of the player walk-ons yesterday

Click below for a few thoughts from the day…

  • Click here to view the latest drawsheet
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

Arriving at the Crucible slightly later today, ahead of the start to the first session between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump at 1pm, much of the talk unsurprisingly was on the subject of Ronnie’s press conference yesterday, the key quotes from which you can read here.

As I explained today on Twitter, for me the most telling interview with Ronnie was not his press conference, nor his BBC interview, but instead his piece with MC Rob Walker on the sport’s official website. There he explained that far from retirement, we will probably see him compete at tournaments such as the UK Championship, German Masters and Welsh Open, but not at all five of the events based in China.

While this may sound dramatic, in truth this is largely what was to be expected anyway, certainly by me, and I would not be surprised to see many other top players do similar going forwards. What Ronnie will do beyond the ‘ten events’ that he is contracted to play remains to be seen, but short-term at least, retirement is certainly not on the cards.

Perhaps the general view though was best summed up out in the arena, when with Ronnie’s BBC interview footage rolling, members of the audience burst out laughing when he spoke of the need to earn money to pay his children’s school fees.

With that done, the action soon got underway on the baize and it was O’Sullivan who took the opening frame, before Trump snatched a dramatic second on a re-spotted black. Despite this set-back though, O’Sullivan added the next three frames to open up an early advantage, some already fearing that the defending champion might run away with the match.

To his credit though, Judd showed the same fighting qualities that had got himself back into the match against Shaun Murphy in the previous round and hit back to take the next three and leave the scores level at 4-4 heading into tomorrow. It is hard to read too much into the action so far, but knowing what a good front-runner O’Sullivan can be, Judd will be relieved not to be behind going into the second session.

Following a swift conclusion to the day’s play, I headed out for a pizza with @garyoncue, before heading back for the start of the opening session of the match between Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins.

The general consensus amongst those that I have spoken to is that of the two, Walden is likely to be the heavier scorer in the match and he duly delivered early on, breaks of 91 and 105 seeing him take the opening two frames.

What followed was a bizarre third frame which initially saw all of the reds pushed towards one corner pocket, before eventually being re-racked, before second time around the reds were instead all sent up into baulk. Though he had clearly not yet settled into the match, it was Hawkins who was able to take it, to find himself trailing 1-2 at the time of writing.