Class of ’92 reigns supreme

The cream has risen to the top in Sheffield with all four semi-finalists at the Betfred World Championship 2022 being former Crucible winners.

Three of those players are from the Class of ’92, with John Higgins (9/2 Outright) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (5/4) set to meet at 19:00 on Thursday in the latest instalment of snooker’s very own El Clasico rivalry.

The 14:30 start features Mark Williams (9/2 Outright) against Judd Trump (9/4), with three-time champion Williams coming through a fierce quarter-final against Yan Bingtao 13-11 to reach the semis for the seventh time.

Life was eventually a bit easier for Trump, who won eight straight frames across two sessions to beat Stuart Bingham 13-8 to book his spot against Williams (Match Result – Williams 13/8, Trump 1/2), though only after the ‘Ace in the Pack’ had struggled badly early on Wednesday.

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Speaking afterwards, even the 2019 winner admitted he was excited about the semi-final line-up, telling BBC Sport: “Seeing the [semi-final] line-up with Ronnie [O’Sullivan] and Mark Williams, it is not something you want to be sat at home for.”

The final man to confirm his place was Higgins, who won a tense final frame against Jack Lisowski to set-up his showdown with O’Sullivan (Match Result – Higgins 13/8, O’Sullivan 1/2).

The four-time winner recorded breaks of 105 and 72 to come from 12-11 down to win 13-12.

Meanwhile, having led 11-5 overnight, the Rocket, chasing a record-equalling seventh Crucible crown, needed just 20 minutes to see off Stephen Maguire 13-5 on Wednesday morning.

Even after breaks of 71 and 126 in the two frames played on Wednesday, O’Sullivan reaffirmed he is still not comfortable at the venue but says he will continue to give his all.

He told the BBC: “I actually prefer going to Leicester to play in the Championship League, but you kind of have to show up to this one and give this one your best.”

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Author: Paula Allen