The world snooker championship is underway in Sheffield. It has already generated excitement with a close finish by defending champion John Higgins and a maximum break by Stephen Hendry.
Seven times world snooker champion Stephen Hendry has been out-of-form in recent years. This year he was required to qualify for the main part of the tournament. However, this year he has displayed tremendous form.
In his opening match Hendry was drawn against the higher ranked Australian Open champion Stewart Bingham. Hendry was not overawed his opponent's higher seeding and, as World Snooker
recounts, compiled a flurry of big breaks, including runs of 100, 89, 78, 61, 147, 75 and 65. Breaking News Ireland
notes that this enabled Hendry to establish an 8-1 lead.
The biggest of those breaks was a maximum break, still a rare feat in snooker. To score this a player must take a black ball after each of the fifteen red balls and clear the six colours. Hendry completed his effort in just over eleven minutes. Hendry's break came in the seventh frame.
The break earns Hendry a £50,000 (around $80,000) bonus prize.
reports that the maximum was the forty-three year-old Hendry's eleventh in his distinguished professional career and his third in the world professional championship. On both these counts he is equal with former three-times champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Hendry's previous 147 breaks were made in 1995 and 2009.
What was special about Hendry's performance was that, as MSN sport
reports, the Scottish player was still shaking off the after effects of jet-lag. Hendry flew out to north-east China on Monday and returned to the UK on Friday - a round-trip of over 10,000 miles, but appeared sharp over the weekend match.
As Hendry was potting in balls with apparent ease, defending John Higgins was made to struggle to win his opening match. Higgins squeezed past the Chinese player Liang Wenbo by 10 frames to 9.
This looks like it will be a high quality and entertaining world championship.