Snooker: O’Sullivan upbeat after Scottish Open exit
PUBLISHED: 10:37 14 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 14 December 2019
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Ronnie O’Sullivan was beaten by Mark Selby in a nine-frame thriller at the 19.com Scottish Open but remained upbeat as he heads into an extended break from the sport.
Two heavyweights of the cueing world went toe-to-toe in the quarter-finals at Glasgow's Emirates Arena, with the world number six winning a compelling final frame to book his place in the last four on Saturday with a 5-4 triumph.
But five-time world champion O'Sullivan refused to have his spirits dampened by his premature exit, showing graciousness in defeat to a player he views as a friend, rather than foe.
"I'm happy to have got four frames and I'm happy to have competed alright - Mark played well and deserved his victory, so I can't have any complaints," the 44-year-old said.
"I try not to see me and Mark as a rivalry - if you're giving someone an eight-year head start it's not really a rivalry.
"True rivalries are people who are the same age and who have come up together, so probably me and John Higgins would be a better rivalry.
"It's easy to do the comparisons because they're at the same stage of their lives.
"The pace of the game is what the pace is - you just have to get amongst the balls, keep your rhythm, and I thought I did that pretty well, but Mark also kept his rhythm as well.
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"I'm really good friends with Mark and we have a bit of banter, and the things I say to you and to the TV I say to his face anyway, so we've got a great relationship and I hope he goes along and wins it now."
The speculation before the match had centred around the contrasting styles of two players who have eight World Championship titles between them, with O'Sullivan's flamboyance not matching his opponent's more conservative approach.
And O'Sullivan's fluency was visible from the off under the Glasgow lights, rolling back the years with three majestic century breaks before Leicester's Selby restored parity at 4-4.
The 16-time ranking event winner then won a captivating decider, progressing into the last four on his first appearance at the competition since it became a Home Nations event back in 2016.
But uncertainty now surrounds O'Sullivan, who pulled out of the prestigious 2020 Dafabet Masters and now looks set for an elongated period away from the table.
"I haven't really got any tournaments now so I probably won't be playing until March or April," he added.
"I don't think there's much left for me to really play in - I've made so many centuries those three breaks in that match don't give me loads of satisfaction.
"You've just got to try and win the match and that's the way it goes, but I still enjoyed it."
*Watch the Scottish Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with studio analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan and Jimmy White.