Snooker Masters 2014: Daily Results and Updated Schedule Info

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2014

Snooker Masters 2014: Daily Results and Updated Schedule Info

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Alexandra Palace played host to one of the biggest events on the Snooker calendar in the 2014 Masters, which wrapped up on Sunday, Jan. 19.

    The world’s most prestigious invitational tournament has had some seriously high-calibre winners down the years, and the new champion was no exception amid a field of the most talented players in the world game.

    Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan defeated defending champion Mark Selby 10-4 to take home his fifth title, per the Belfast Telegraph's John Mulgrew.

    Previous winners include Ray Reardon, Alex Higgins, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and O’Sullivan, and this year five previous winners returned looking to retain or regain the title. 

    Naturally, this made for a pretty strong field. Sixteen players took part, including the world’s best 15 players according to the official world rankings. The only unseeded player, in fact, was the World Champion and crowd favourite O’Sullivan. 

    His triumph fed the notion that this year's tournament was wide open.

    Selby would have joined a select group of players by going back-to-back, with only Hendry and O’Sullivan being the previous four-time winners—Hendry having won six times in total. Selby spoke of his desire to join that illustrious company before the tournament,—which he fell just short of—per The Leicester Mercury:

    To defend the title and join Ronnie on four titles would be unbelievable.

    The Masters makes you feel special because it's only the best 16 players, so you know that every match is going to be against another top player and you will have to be at your best to win.

    If you do win the title, you know you've really earned it because you've beaten the best.

    The “Jester from Lester” defeated Australian Neil Robertson in the 2013 final and started the tournament against Mark Davis. Selby was in wonderful form heading into the tournament, and was unlucky to finish as runner up in the UK Championship last month. That makes falling short against O'Sullivan even more disappointing.

    Robertson was the man who won that title, and the world number one sought to exact revenge for last year’s final defeat. A 10-7 victory over Selby in that final last month will surely provide him with a major boost.

    He won this championship back in 2012 and was a hot favourite to reach his third consecutive final. Robertson became the first ever overseas player to win the UK, World and Masters Championships and after his most recent triumph has spoken to BBC Sport of his want to win a coveted triple crown; winning all three of the major titles in one season:

    I'd love to win all three in the same season The way I've played over the past six or seven months, I think I really deserved to win the UK

    That pressure is off me now. I'm just challenging for titles now. To win nine ranking tournaments, plus the Masters - I've won everything in the game now.

    I guess I'm just going to try and repeat the achievement

    But it wasn't meant to be, as the favourite with the crowd and the bookmakers in the mercurial O’Sullivan reigned superior. Success here puts O'Sullivan within one title of Hendry on five Masters titles and supporters were delighted to see him in action after reports surfaced he was considering pulling out of this tournament back in December.

    The tournament got underway on Sunday, Jan. 12, with the first round consisting of eight ties over the course of four days. Here were the full first round fixtures and start times (GMT):

     

    First Round Schedule:

    Sunday 12 January

    Mark Selby vs. Mark Davis (13:00)

    Stuart Bingham vs.  John Higgins (19:00)

     

    Monday 13 January

    Judd Trump vs. Marco Fu (13:00)

    Stephen Maguire vs. Joe Perry (19:00)

     

    Tuesday 14 January

    Ding Junhui vs. Shaun Murphy (13:00)

    Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Robert Milkins (19:00)

     

    Wednesday 15 January

    Neil Robertson vs. Mark Allen (13:00)

    Barry Hawkins vs. Ricky Walden (19:00)

     

    Read on to find out what happened as the exciting tournament unfolded.

January 19 Results

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Ronnie O'Sullivan captured his fifth title, denying Mark Selby's bid as a repeat champion in a dominant 10-4 victory on Sunday, Jan. 19.

    The outcome had essentially been decided when O'Sullivan won a whopping seven of the first eight frames in the morning session.

    Although Selby tried to hang tough and grind his way back into the match he wasn't given much of an opportunity by the relentless "Rocket" after ripping off three of four frames to begin the afternoon.

    Despite holding such a commanding lead entering the final stretch of the tournament, the 38-year-old O'Sullivan knew better than to let up, per BBC Sport:

    I want to congratulate Mark on a brilliant tournament. He is a very consistent player so I'm pleased to have won. It is a miracle - I don't know how I won it this week. Playing Mark you expect he will take you all the way and sometimes the worst thing you can do is build a lead because you never feel you are near the winning line.

    This triumph adds to O'Sullivan's wins in the Masters from 1995, 2005, 2007 and 2009. It's a testament to his longevity and excellence that he's been able to secure a Masters trophy in three different decades.

    What would have ached even more is if O'Sullivan had finished runner-up yet again—something he's also done on five previous occasions.

    Selby is the second-ranked player in the world and still has a bright future ahead, but O'Sullivan will have to be the preeminent force to be reckoned with for the time being.

January 18 Results

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    Berthold Stadler/Associated Press

    Mark Selby 6-1 Shaun Murphy

    Mark Selby sailed past Shaun Murphy in the day's first semifinal to make it into the final of the 2014 Masters championship. The reigning champion—dubbed the "Jester from Leicester"—has already won this tournament three times and will have his eyes on a history-making fourth Masters title in Sunday's final.

    He made light work of Murphy in this one, racing into a 4-0 lead before the interval and effectively putting this one to bed before Murphy could establish any kind of fluency. The 2005 world champion was sat comfortably in his chair for the most part, as Selby prowled around the table like a man determined to defend the title he won back in 2013.

    Murphy's only real opportunity to salvage the match came and went in the fourth frame. He got in amongst the balls and missed a routine pot. Selby marched to the table and needed no invitation to clear up and at 4-0 up, looked to have the contest boxed off already.

    The three-time champion won the fifth frame to go 5-0 up, before Murphy finally got another opportunity to get a point on the board. Selby needed snookers to win the sixth frame and complete a 6-0 whitewash, but he eventually conceded after Murphy had him tucked in behind the black ball with a significant deficit to make up.

    Murphy contributed to his own downfall in the final frame when he inadvertently potted the white-ball; Selby took full advantage to run out a comfortable winner and will have high hopes of securing yet another Masters crown.

     

    Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-2 Stephen Maguire

    The temperamental Ronnie O'Sullivan proved to be too much for Stephen Maguire to handle, clinching a spot with the defending champion Selby in the final.

    As "The Rocket" roared through this match and seized a commanding 5-1 lead, he slipped up in the seventh frame by failing to convert a blue. That gave Maguire a glimmer of hope toward the end, but by then it was too little, too late.

    Despite some reservations with regard to how he played overall—certainly not as sharp as his previous romp over Ricky Walden—O'Sullivan commended his defeated opponent and felt satisfied with the victory, per ESPN.co.uk's Ismail Vedat:

    I just want to congratulate Stephen on a good tournament, and I'm pleased with my win. I played some decent stuff. Missed a few, but so did he, and that's just the way it goes. There was a job to do out there. I had to stay professional, and against someone of Stephen's ability and quality you have to be on your game from start to finish. I was disappointed with that blue, but you just have to put it to the back of your mind.

    Once Maguire won the opening frame, all his momentum was stymied by the brilliance of O'Sullivan, who cruised confidently past his overwhelmed adversary.

     

    Few could ask for a better final between Selby and O'Sullivan—two multiple past title winners who should put on a great show for the spectators at Alexandra Palace and elsewhere.

January 17 Results

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    World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan sailed into the semifinals on Day 6 of the Snooker Masters, taking down Ricky Walden in record-breaking fashion in the first quarterfinals match of the day.

     

    Ronnie O'Sullivan 6, Ricky Walden 0

    The champ couldn't be touched. All it took was 58 minutes for O'Sullivan to kick Walden out of the tournament—a record-breaking virtuoso of a performance, as described by James Colasanti of The Sun:

    Ronnie O'Sullivan sets another record as he scores 556 unanswered points in a 6-0 win over Ricky Walden at the Masters. Wow.

    — James Colasanti (@JamesColasanti) January 17, 2014

    Ken Doherty, the former world champion and current BBC analyst said it was, "probably the best performance I have seen from anybody in all the years I've been coming to the Masters," according to BBC.com.

    Walden could do nothing. The match was over as soon as O'Sullivan struck the first blow. 

    For his part, O'Sullivan was reserved afterward, contemplating the nature of the sport and explaining how he arrived at perfection on this day, per BBC.com:

    That's snooker. I've been on the receiving end numerous times, when you just sit there as a passenger.

    I have been trying to put a few hours in on the practice table because I wasn't happy with my form over the last five or six weeks and this is a busy part of the season.

     

    Stephen Maguire 6, Neil Robertson 2

    O'Sullivan was a tough act to follow, but Stephen Maguire did a fine job taking care of business against Neil Robertson in the second quarterfinals session of the day in London. 

    The Scottish pro pulled out to a 3-0 lead to open things up before Robertson, the current UK Open champ, got two back to make things interesting at 3-2. 

    However, Maguire was having nothing to do with Robertson's comeback bid, and he took the final three in a row to close it out 6-2, as shown by Snooker Live:

    A tremendous result for Stephen Maguire as he reaches the Masters Semi-Finals after a 6-2 win over Neil Robertson! pic.twitter.com/2RUlmcQJgP

    — Snooker Live (@SnookerNews147) January 17, 2014

     Robertson wasn't happy with his performance afterward.

    "It was a real flat performance, lacklustre," said Robertson, via au.eurosport.com. "There was nothing there."

    Maguire's victory sets up a semifinals match against O'Sullivan, who was unstoppable earlier in the day. 

January 16 Results

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    Shaun Murphy dispatched Marco Fu to reach the semi-finals.
    Shaun Murphy dispatched Marco Fu to reach the semi-finals.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    On Day 5 of the Masters at Alexandra Palace, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby booked their places in Saturday's semi-finals in very different ways.

    Murphy fought back to defeat Marco Fu in the early session, while Selby came out on top against John Higgins in a tight affair in the evening's game.

     

    Shaun Murphy 6, Marco Fu 4

    Murphy produced a stunning comeback to beat Fu and reach the semi-finals of the Masters for a third straight year.

    Murphy, 31, trailed 3-0 and 4-1 before a break of 86 in the sixth game sparked him into life and began a five-game winning run, which included a 117 break in the eighth as he pulled the match level.

    The Englishman had previously recovered a deficit of 4-2 to win 6-4 against world No. 3 Ding Junhui in the first round.  

    Eurosport's Desmond Kane and Alexandra Palace reported that Murphy blamed the air conditioning for his slow start:

    I was really annoyed at the start because there was cold air coming into the arena which affected the way the table was playing. The temperatures make such a difference to the way the tables play, and how the balls react on the table.

    If there is a slight difference, it can make us look very silly. There was an Arctic wind coming across from the air conditioning trying to make it cooler than yesterday, but it had a massively adverse effect on conditions until they (World Snooker) turned it off. They turned it off later on, and I thought the tables played better.

    It has been a long time since I played so well in the arena. It is nice to see it still there. I've never given up in matches.

    After his victory, Murphy celebrated in style with snooker legend Jimmy White and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood:

    Two legends and me lol @jimmywhite147 @ronniewood pic.twitter.com/6s0NGIsuS5

    — Shaun Murphy (@Magician147) January 16, 2014

     

    Mark Selby 6, John Higgins 5

    In the other quarter-final, Selby produced a masterclass under pressure to edge out Higgins in a battle that lasted more than four hours.

    Selby, who led 3-1 at the mid-session interval, was forced to fight all the way by a dogged and determined opponent who won four games in a row to take control of the game with a 5-3 scoreline.

    But three-time Masters winner Selby hit back and capitalised on multiple missed opportunities by Higgins to pull level at 5-5.

    Pro Snooker Blog tweeted that Selby was now the favourite, going by past form:

    It's there, 5-5! Selby into what I make his tenth deciding frame finish at the Masters. He's won the other nine...

    — Matt (@ProSnookerBlog) January 16, 2014

    In an error-strewn and tense final match, Selby remained calm to edge Higgins out and progress. 

    Selby will now face Murphy on Saturday afternoon with a place in the final at stake.

January 15 Results

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Wednesday brought world No. 1 Neil Robertson into the Masters mix in the final day of opening-round matchups.

    The Australian native didn't fail to disappoint either, triumphing over Mark Allen before Ricky Walden staged a comeback to defeat Barry Hawkins in their evening meet.

     

    Neil Robertson 6, Mark Allen 5

    It was nowhere near as formulaic an outing as Robertson would have hoped for, but "The Thunder From Down Under" would eventually rally to beat Allen in Wednesday's afternoon outing.

    The 31-year-old trailed in frames on five occasions, allowing mistakes to creep into his game time and again, Allen cleaning up the score as a result.

    Robertson, a 2012 Masters champion, lost the opening frame thanks to an impressive 114 break from his Antrim-born foe, but had managed to pull things back to 2-2 by the time both players went in at the interval.

    From there, Allen edged his way through the match, always keeping the favourite at bay by a space of one frame, but Robertson picked the opportune moment to make his surge, and eventually buzzed into the quarter-finals, winning back-to-back frames from 5-4 down.

    Robertson was quoted by BBC Sport as saying the conditions affected his play:

    When the arena is so hot the balls just spray off all over the place. We had to get the white changed because it was playing like a ping-pong ball.

    After the interval it got a bit better but it was hard work. But I'm really happy with that clearance there, especially with that kick off the blue. I feel for Mark, it's similar to last year and how he went out 6-5 to me.

    Remarkably, it was identical to the result that the pair saw out in their quarter-final meeting last year, with the outcome once again going in the Australian's favour.

    Snooker may not be the first sport one thinks of when talking about inclement weather and the influence of other forces, but Robertson's profligacy will need to be curbed if he's to survive similar mistakes in his quarter-final tie against sixth-seed Stephen Maguire.

     

    Ricky Walden 6, Barry Hawkins 5

    After a bad beginning saw Hawkins seize a commanding 5-2 advantage, Walden certainly lived up to his "Stamina Man" moniker by outlasting his adversary, pulling off a dramatic come-from-behind triumph.

    MaximumSnooker.com provided a snapshot of the key statistics in this thriller that came down to the wire:

    As the stats show, Hawkins outscored Walden throughout, but it is the Stamina Man who will face O'Sullivan next pic.twitter.com/KZMldDabXo

    — Steve (@MaximumSnooker) January 15, 2014

    The big turning point came in the ninth frame, when Hawkins' blunder on a re-spotted black allowed Walden to skate by, cutting the deficit to 5-4.

    From there, all the momentum went Walden's way, and his execution tightened up down the stretch amid a grueling test of grit. As mentioned above, heat was a factor in this meet as well.

    Even with the critical win in the ninth frame, it took 53 minutes for the two to complete Frame 10. That occupied almost a quarter of the four-hour match, and by the decisive frame, Hawkins ran out of resolve.

    The 10th-ranked Walden moves on to face 2009 Masters champion and 2010 finalist Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan in the final eight, which will certainly be one of the most intriguing clashes on the upcoming slate.

    Note: Facts and information were obtained from BBC Sport.

January 14 Results

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    Tuesday evening's action saw one of the tournament's big favourites, Ronnie O'Sullivan, finally step to the fore at Alexandra Palace, and "The Rocket" lived up to the billing by cruising past outside bet Robert Milkins.

    Earlier in the day, Shaun Murphy's shock win over Ding Junhui was somewhat more surprising as his Chinese opponent fell by tight margins as the 2014 Snooker Masters put on another lavish display, overcoming a power outage to triumph in entertainment value once again.

     

    Shaun Murphy 6, Ding Junhui 4

    Shaun Murphy was in electric form on Tuesday as "The Magician" pulled an ace out of his sleeve after a power cut interrupted play at Alexandra Palace during his match against 2011 Masters champions Ding.

    China's finest ever player quickly mounted a 2-0 lead over his opponent, significant of his superior seeding in the competition, but this was the first sign of complacency setting in as Murphy was allowed to draw level at 2-2.

    Again Ding would mount a two-frame lead over his rival, making the score 4-2 on frames, but Murphy's resilience was an enamouring factor on the day as the 31-year-old bounced back to win four frames on the trot and eventually come out on top of the encounter.

    According to Murphy, who was kind enough to tweet during the event, the power cut was a new experience for him:

    Never had a power delay stop play before #allypally

    — Shaun Murphy (@Magician147) January 14, 2014

    "Ally Pally" bore witness to one of its bigger upsets, although not directly as a result of the break, but Murphy will be thankful for Ding failing to make his lead count, particularly in the seventh and eighth frames, where matters could have been put to bed by the 26-year-old favourite.

    Murphy now meets Marco Fu in the next round.

     

    Ronnie O'Sullivan 6, Robert Milkins 1

    O'Sullivan battered the doors down in his first Masters examination of the year, finding himself four frames up before the interval against Robert Milkins.

    Despite there being a 12-place gap in the seedings between these two, it was still a slight surprise to see the ease with which the reigning world champion moved past his foe, only giving up a frame when the score had reached 5-0.

    The opening frame saw O'Sullivan claim a 48 break before going on take the score, and Milkins may have hoped for more in the second frame after bettering that start with a 49 break of his own.

    However, O'Sullivan quickly showed that he's not one to be bossed around, claiming a superb 84 to end his opponent's hopes of an immediate response and heading into a 2-0 lead.

    With morale at a low, the next three frames all followed suit for The Bullet, who shot a high of 91 in the fourth frame as something of a highlight.

    That being said, the gulf in talent was visible as Milkins slipped up on numerous fairly rudimentary reds and gifting his opponent chances, O'Sullivan far too good to do anything other than mop up the opportunities.

    Next on the agenda for the four-time Masters champion is a quarter-final matchup against either Barry Hawkins or Ricky Walden, both of whom could give the 38-year-old a better run for his money.

January 13 Results

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    The 2014 Snooker Masters in London kept pace on Jan. 13 after the opening round of matches the day prior set the stage for what is sure to be a tense tournament.

    Marco Fu held off Judd Trump in an opening match that lasted more than four hours, while Stephen Maguire survived a surging comeback bid by Joe Perry.

     

    Marco Fu 6, Judd Trump 5

    The heavyweight bout between Fu and Judd lived up to its billing in a tense affair that saw neither contender win more than two frames in a row.

    Trump had a 4-3 lead, but surrendered the next two frames to bring things to a riveting conclusion. There, he lost a 12-0 lead as Fu pulled away.

    The match was Fu's first Masters match since 2011, where he lost 10-4 to Ding Junhui in the final. He told reporters it was a semblance of poetic justice to win in the deciding frame, per BBC Sport:

    It was a bit scrappy, but I played well in patches. I felt pretty good among the balls to win the final frame. I expected it to be a deciding frame. I've lost four or five matches on the deciding frame so it is nice to win one in the Masters. It was difficult to get away from Judd in the end.

    Fu is well on his way to another final appearance after knocking off a former world No. 1 player to get things started.

     

    Stephen Maguire 6, Joe Perry 4

    It is near impossible to follow up what Fu and Trump did in terms of excitement, but Stephen Maguire sure tried as he nearly let a 5-1 lead evaporate against Joe Perry.

    Maguire hit a break of 112 in the first and a break of 80 after a six-ball plant to go up 2-0 and eventually jumped to a 3-1 lead. The Scottish star eventually pulled through in a decisive 10th frame.

    Perhaps most interesting of all was Maguire's admission that he was a bit nonchalant after taking a big lead and even changed some of his technique, per Tom Moore of London24.com:

    I thought I’d win one of the next two frames. I had a couple of chances. I was just running out of position. I changed a couple of things technique wise but towards the end it was hard to trust it. It was hard to trust what I’ve changed. In the last frame I went back to the way I started the match. It probably is a gamble but I wasn’t getting anywhere anyway. I’m looking for different things to try and improve and it feels pretty good.

    Maguire advances to the quarterfinals and will take on either Neil Robertson or Mark Allen.

January 12 Results

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    The 2014 Snooker Masters in London got off to a rousing start on Sunday, as defending champion Mark Selby survived an 11-frame scare against Mark Davis to win 6-5. In the other matchup of the tournament’s opening day, Scotland’s John Higgins claimed a 6-2 win over Stuart Bingham.

    So Selby and Higgins are on to the quarterfinals in the 16-man field, as the other six opening round matches will be held from Monday to Wednesday to determine who will join them. Here’s a roundup of Sunday’s action on the tables.

     

    Mark Selby 6, Mark Davis 5

    Davis entered as a big underdog against Selby and looked like it in the early going. Selby jumped out to a 4-0 lead and was completely in control, but Davis fought back to make it 4-2 and then eventually won three straight frames with his back against the wall to force a deciding 11th.

    But that’s where Selby has made a name for himself at the Masters, per James Cunliffe of London24.com:

    Yet Selby’s formidable competition record in final frame nail-biters – now standing at nine wins out of nine – continued and the 30-year-old agreed that past experience gave perhaps him the edge over Davis.

    “In general I’ve had quite a lot of deciding frames and managed to come through,” he said.

    “When you win those deciding frames, and in big tournaments as well – like a couple of times against [Ronnie] O’Sullivan in big finals – it gives you confidence when you do go into final frames.” 

    This time around, he wrapped up his win with a 81-33 win in the final frame. It was close, but Selby is still alive in his quest to join Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan as the only players to ever win four masters titles.

     

    John Higgins 6, Stuart Bingham 2

    While Selby sweated out his victory, Higgins wrapped his up in a tidy eight-frame battle against England’s Stuart Bingham.

    Higgins, also known as the Wizard of Wishaw, jumped out to a 5-1 lead before Bingham tried to make a late rally with a win in the seventh frame. But Higgins held on to the victory to defeat a struggling Bingham, who told WorldSnooker.com after the match, “My nan was in the crowd and she could have played better than that.”

    According to the same report, it was a much-needed win for Higgins.

    "I was in the depths of despair after the UK Championship and I had been in turmoil for a couple of months, so I decided to change cue again. I practised hard with it over Christmas and I feel a lot more confident and positive now. I felt my tempo at the table coming back, and when that happens you can see how to make breaks." 

    Higgins is now set up for a matchup with Selby in the quarterfinals as he goes for his third career Masters title.

Event Schedule

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    Image courtesy of Mark Kenna on Twitter
    Image courtesy of Mark Kenna on TwitterImage courtesy of Mark Kenna on Twitter

    The tournament gets underway on Sunday, with the first round consisting of eight ties over the course of four days. Here are your full first round fixtures and start times (GMT):

     

    First Round Schedule:

    Sunday 12 January

    Mark Selby vs. Mark Davis (13:00)

    Stuart Bingham vs.  John Higgins (19:00)

     

    Monday 13 January

    Judd Trump vs. Marco Fu (13:00)

    Stephen Maguire vs. Joe Perry (19:00)

     

    Tuesday 14 January

    Ding Junhui vs. Shaun Murphy (13:00)

    Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Robert Milkins (19:00)

     

    Wednesday 15 January

    Neil Robertson vs. Mark Allen (13:00)

    Barry Hawkins vs. Ricky Walden (19:00)

     

    Friday 17 January

    Ricky Walden vs. Ronnie O'Sullivan (13:00)

    Neil Robertson vs. Stephen Maguire (19:00)

     

    Saturday 18 January

    Mark Selby vs. Shaun Murphy (13:15)

    Stephen Maguire vs. Ronnie O'Sullivan (19:00)

     

    Sunday 19 January 

    Winner of Match 13 vs. Winner of Match 14 (13:30)

    Winner of Match 15 vs. Winner of Match 15 (19:00)