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Page last updated at 22:27 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 23:27 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 Ali Carter
O'Sullivan and Carter have known each other for a long time

The World Championship final between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter has been billed as one of the biggest mismatches in recent Crucible history.

O'Sullivan is 8-1 odds-on favourite to win his third world title, while Carter is valued as a 5-1 outsider.

The last great upset came in 1986 when Joe Johnson beat Steve Davis 18-12.

"I'm going to try to win frames," Carter told BBC Sport. "If I'm still punching in the final session then we'll have a look at it then."

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Carter's 147

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O'Sullivan's 147

He added: "Ronnie has beaten me every time we've played but I'll trade all those defeats for a win in the final."

Carter, who along with O'Sullivan made a 147 maximum at this year's tournament, beat qualifier Joe Perry 17-15 to reach his first ranking final.

I'm not taking anything for granted

Ronnie O'Sullivan

"If someone had told me I would defeat two former champions, make a 147 and reach a final, I probably wouldn't have believed them," said the Essex-based 28-year-old who is ranked 14th in the world .

"But I've played some good stuff these couple of weeks and I'm delighted to get to the final."

Carter made his maximum against Peter Ebdon, a day after O'Sullivan grabbed the first against Mark Williams.

"I guess getting the 147 at The Crucible gave me confidence. If I got it in Wales or Ireland it may have gone under the radar," added Carter, who has already won nearly 230,000 from this year's event.

The qualified pilot has never played so many frames in competition before, but said he was undaunted by the possible 35 frames left to play.

"I've played snooker since I was six. It doesn't matter if it's 35 frames, 350 frames or 3,500 frames - it's my job to play snooker."

606: DEBATE

O'Sullivan produced some of the best snooker of his career to thrash Stephen Hendry 17-6 and book a place in his third Crucible final.

But despite many insisting that the tie is a foregone conclusion, O'Sullivan is not counting his chickens.

"I'm not taking anything for granted," he said, ahead of the 250,000 showdown.

"Coming here I felt confident I could do something and since I've been here, there have been occasions where I've found it hard.

"I could have dug my own grave at times but have instead battled through."

O'Sullivan determined to win the title

O'Sullivan has suffered in the past from not producing his best form against slower, tactical players - a ploy that Carter could adopt.

But the 32-year-old is adamant he would not suffer any problems against "plodders".

"If I'm comfortable over the table then slower players won't thrash me or take five or six frames in succession off me," he said.

"I've beaten my share of plodders in my time."

The best-of-35 final begins at 1500 BST on Sunday and finishes on Monday.



see also
Carter holds nerve to make final
03 May 08 |  Snooker
Brilliant O'Sullivan into final
02 May 08 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
20 Apr 08 |  Snooker
World Ch'ship scores & schedule
03 May 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
02 May 08 |  Snooker
Crucible champions
14 Apr 08 |  Snooker


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