Ronnie O’Sullivain bags place in World Championship semi-finals
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan blew a huge sigh of relief after overturning a 7-2 deficit to prevail against old rival Mark Williams and book a place in the [eurosport.co.uk/snooker] World Championship semi-finals.
Having failed to find his rhythm for large parts of the pair’s hotly-anticipated quarter-final clash, the Rocket found form in the second half of the match, recovering to 8-8 and then rattling off the last four frames with two tons and two half centuries in tow.
The 44-year-old admitted he was concerned he was staring defeat in the face against an opponent he had previously beaten in 31 of 45 meetings between the pair.
And having ultimately got over the line 13-10 after addressing particular issues on the table in the game’s latter stages, O’Sullivan expressed his delight at reaching the Crucible last four for the first time since 2014.
“I was pleased I made a game of it in the end because I was scared I was going to get a good mauling at one stage,” he said. “With the way Mark was cueing I wouldn’t have been surprised, but luckily I managed to pull it back.
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“I don’t believe you can win the World Championship being good or rubbish, and I’ve been either good or rubbish too often. I need to be steady.
“Anytime the white ball was more than three feet from the other ball I was finding it really tough and there was a lot of guesswork going on. I wasn’t able to get any control of the pace or penetration through the ball.
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“I managed to be creative around the balls and make a few breaks, and as long as the white was near to the next ball I had half a chance. Otherwise it was like trying to win the US Open with just a five iron in your bag.”
Having successfully maintained his quest for a sixth world title, the Essex potter will now face three-time champion Mark Selby in the semi-finals, after he got the better of Australian Neil Robertson 13-7.
With both players employing largely different styles on the table, O’Sullivan is hoping they can bring the best out of each other, in a match against a member of the tour he truly admires.
He said: “I’m actually really good mates with Selby - he’s my favourite guy on the circuit. He’s a lovely guy and funny as hell, and I get on really well with him.
“As a snooker player he’s a beast and he’ll be the ultimate test. I’m going to have to draw on every bit of skill and experience I’ve got, and I hope it’s a good, competitive game.
“I know I need to improve if I’m going to get to the final. I think I’ve got to find some accuracy over distance against Mark - if I can do that and make a few long ones I think I’ll be in with a chance.”
Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from July, 31 until August, 16 with analysis from Jimmy White.