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Page last updated at 20:16 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 21:16 UK
STRAPLINE -World Snooker 2008
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
19 April - 5 May 2008

By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport at The Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan was in sparkling form against Hendry

Former Crucible winner Cliff Thorburn believes Ronnie O'Sullivan can beat Stephen Hendry's record of seven World Championship wins.

O'Sullivan is on course for his third world title after storming to a 17-6 victory over Hendry in the semi-finals on Friday.

"We haven't seen the best of Ronnie yet and I can see him beating the record," said Thorburn, the 1980 champion.

"The sky's the limit for the Rocket. It is ridiculous how good he is."

The 60-year-old Canadian added: "He has made three maximums at The Crucible and I reckon he could go on to make 10 to 12 at this venue. Ronnie's so different to anything I have ever seen."


Hendry, 39, won all seven of his titles by the age of 30, whereas O'Sullivan has won two titles and is now 32.

Thorburn reckons that age should not be a factor.

"He's far from washed up. I compare Ronnie to golfer Tiger Woods - neither have reached their peaks yet," he said.

Thorburn, who beat Alex Higgins 18-16 to win the title 28 years ago, added: "I played Ronnie about 12 or 13 years ago.

"I took a flight from Toronto to Thailand and then practised for two days. He then beat me 5-0 and I was lucky to get nothing.

"I could see he was pretty special then."

However, in the eyes of the three-time champion, O'Sullivan was still not worthy of the "greatest" tag.

"Hendry is the best ever. I would put Ronnie somewhere in between Hendry and Steve Davis for the moment."

see also
Brilliant O'Sullivan into final
02 May 08 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan 147 sees off Williams
28 Apr 08 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
20 Apr 08 |  Snooker

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