In the pocket: World Snooker Championship favourites

A preview of who is likely to make the headlines for all the right reasons at the 2011 Snooker World Championships.

With Neil Robertson crashing out of the running in the first round, it looks set to be a nail-biting two weeks at the Crucible. Who’s going to walk away with the victorious title on May 2? A few favourites…

Judd Trump

Current World Ranking: 14

The youngster nicknamed, Mr Haircut 100 is hoping he can make his mark when he makes his second trip to the Crucible four years after his debut.

After knocking out defending world champion, Neil Robertson in a 10-8 first round victory, the 21-year-old looks set for the big time.

The fearless youngster is another player to have a good start to the season, scooping his first major title in Beijing with victory over Mark Selby.

The hugely entertaining and exciting player is hoping to impress with not only his ever changing hairstyle but also with his skilful cuing.

Trump has proven that when he’s on his game he is unstoppable and after knocking his 100th century break in on his road to victory in Beijing, the rising star looks set to make a great outside bet for causing upsets in Sheffield.

Mark Williams

Current World Ranking: 2

Mark Williams is back and hoping 2011 will be his year. After slipping to 47th in the rankings two years ago and numerous talks of him putting down his cue for good, the dragon makes his return and looks set to fire his way through the tournament.

After making a promising start to the season with victory in the Players Tour Championship followed by further success in the first ranking event of 2011 in the German Masters, Williams is hoping he can maintain his level of play when he returns to the Crucible.

After a disappointing 10-9 defeat to world number one, John Higgins last year in the UK final which saw him lead 6-2, Williams needs to lay the past to rest and start a plan of attack to help him reclaim the title he last won eight years ago.

Despite facing tough competition in the form of Ryan Day in the first round, Williams will be hoping his smooth left-handed cuing arm will secure him the much sought after victory he is hoping for.

Regardless of a seasons of many ups and downs, opponents should not fooled by the Dragons mellow persona.

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Current World Ranking: 10

After a disappointing season resulting in a slip to 10th place in the rankings and never ending talk of early retirement, it is a certainty that all eyes will be on the three-time World Champion as he takes to the table.

After what seems like a string of bad luck, the ‘Rocket’ will be hoping he can make it past the first round unlike in the last four tournaments he has played in. Expectations are high for the former number one to redeem himself when he takes on Dominic Dale in the first round of the World Championships.

Famous for his unpredictable behaviour and huge breaks, fans are wondering whether this is the tournament that will see him fade into the background or prove why he has become a snooker legend by claiming his fourth world title exactly ten years after his first Crucible victory.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure the ‘Rocket’ should never be ruled out regardless of what his cue is doing.

From erratic one minute to completely electrifying the next, this is one player that is worth the view.

John Higgins

Current World Ranking: 1

After one of the most difficult years of his personal and professional life, the Wishaw Wizard is hoping to go for his fourth world title when he takes to the table at the Crucible.

After receiving a six month ban and £75,000 fine last year, Higgins returned to competition in top form winning the second biggest tournament of the season, the UK Championship.

Getting off to a good start this season and crushing Stephen Hendry 5-0 in the semi-final of the Scottish Championships should stand the Scot in good stead.

After being quoted saying he has become a ‘stronger person’, the world number one will be hoping that strength travels with him as he prepares to pick up his cue once again.

Despite a year of ups and downs, the Wishaw Wizard is a snooker legend never to be reckoned with. In a bid to claim his fourth title, Higgins fancies his chances as much as the next.

Higgins is yet another spell-binding player to be watched.

 Ashleigh McGuinley


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