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Page last updated at 21:33 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 22:33 UK
STRAPLINE -World Snooker 2008
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
19 April - 5 May 2008




By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport at The Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry
O'Sullivan won 16 of the last 18 frames against Hendry

Stephen Hendry described Ronnie O'Sullivan's performance as the best he had ever encountered after his 17-6 defeat at the World Championship.

O'Sullivan won all eight frames of Friday's early semi-final session before wrapping up his win later in the day with a session to spare.

"Ronnie was outstanding," said seven-time Crucible winner Hendry.

"His all-round game is the best I've ever played against. I told him it was the best safety I've ever seen."

The match resumed at 4-4 on Friday, but O'Sullivan did not take long to find top gear hitting breaks of 93, 57, 87, 133, 135, 85 and 70 to hand Hendry his first ever Crucible session whitewash.

He's the best player in the world by a country mile

Stephen Hendry

Any hopes of a Hendry comeback were crushed in the evening when two more tons helped the two-time world champion to victory.

Hendry and O'Sullivan heap praise on each other

The 39-year-old was seen to congratulate O'Sullivan at length at the end of the match.

"I just told him he played brilliantly," he added.

"He's the best player in the world by a country mile.

"At the moment, I can perform like that in a club but not in a match. Ronnie hits the ball in match like someone hits a ball in practice.

"Today I couldn't remember him missing a shot or getting out of position.

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"I am gutted about losing but sometimes you have to hold your hand up and say the guy was too good."

Regarding his own performance, Hendry was content but bemoaned the fact he had been unable to replicate the form that took him to seven Crucible crowns in the 1990s.

"Reaching the semis wasn't a bad effort but there are shots in a match I can't play - it's like a handicap. It has been like that for five or six years.

"Against Ding Junhui and Ryan Day I got away with giving away chances, but it was a major step up in class against Ronnie and I didn't get away with it."

When asked whether semi-finalists Ali Carter or Joe Perry had a chance of an upset in the final, Hendry responded:" If Ronnie plays like that, no."

see also
Brilliant O'Sullivan into final
02 May 08 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan 'can set new record'
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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