World Snooker 2012: Matthew Stevens to maintain Crucible form

Matthew Stevens assesses a shot
Matthew Stevens assesses his next shot in his World Championship semi-final against Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Crucible

Matthew Stevens believes his semi-final place in the 2012 World Championship proves he is returning to his best.

Stevens, twice a Crucible runner-up, suffered a 17-10 loss in his sixth world semi-final to favourite and three-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

But the Welshman, the 2000 Masters and 2003 UK Championships champions, hopes his form is the start of a comeback.

"I have had a good couple of weeks after a tough few years," the 34-year-old Stevens told BBC Sport.

The former world number four had once considered retiring from snooker during the sport's barren years as Stevens is an accomplished poker player and won a six-figure sum when he won the 2004 UK Open.

Stevens, though, has recently enjoyed a resurgence in form and at this year's World Championships in Sheffield he won his first match at the Crucible for five years since reaching the quarter-final in 2007.

"I feel as if I am playing well again and I will be back next year fighting," said Stevens, the world number 14.

"Obviously I am disappointed to lose in the semi-final but Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he's on song, is the best player in the world and tough to play against.

O'Sullivan will be making his first final appearance since 2008 and is favourite to win his fourth world title, having never lost to fellow Englishman Ali Carter in their previous 11 meetings.