SNOOKER: FIVE-time World Snooker Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has once again praised the setup at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena after progressing through to the semi-final of the Champion of Champions event.
O’Sullivan made a winning start at the Ricoh Arena on Monday after beating both Robin Hull and Martin Gould to book his place in Friday’s final four showdown.
The two-time event winner, who missed last year’s competition, returned in style as he made breaks of 88 and 102 to take a comfortable 2-0 lead against Hull in the opening match.
World number, 59, Hull hit back with breaks of 83 and 99 to make it 2-2 but O’Sullivan got over the line to win the match 4-2 and set up a Group 3 final with Martin Gould who beat Mark Davies 4-3 in the second match of the afternoon.
O’Sullivan’s ten match unbeaten run in the competition continued in the evening and it never looked like ending as he hit one century break on his way to a comfortable 6-2 victory.
He will now head back home and return to Coventry on Thursday ahead of Friday’s semi-final showdown.
“I love this venue and the table always plays fantastic here,” said O’Sullivan. “It is an invitational tournament and I like those – nowadays it is seven matches to win a ranking event, it is a bit hard work!
“I think Martin (Gould) didn’t play well, he didn’t play well in his other match and I think he is suffering from a bit of a confidence thing at the moment, he hasn’t had as good a season as he normally has and I think I am the same at the moment.
“It shows in our game because we are both probably making too many errors. If we had played a player in form either one of us would have been beaten.
“I was on top for a while and it was coming easy but I took too much time out and it feels like I am trying to climb Everest again and as I got older I think, ‘can I really be bothered?’
“I did so many exhibitions last year, I did about 60, I am sure that has had some sort of effect on my game; I don’t feel as tight and compact as I used to. If you have a combination of those together then there are going to be weaknesses in your game.”
Asked if he still had the hunger for the game with £300,000 on offer to the winner of this year’s Champion of Champions event, O’Sullivan added: “I am keen, I will always be keen, but I have had it quite easy for the last four or five years and have felt on top of my game and I feel that I am back to having to really graft it, the confidence is probably not there as much.
“Trying to find your form in events is impossible. I didn’t practice going into the season because I was doing things off the table which I probably shouldn’t have done, so I didn’t come into the season as prepared as I should have been and it has been a nightmare.”
Next in action today (Tuesday) in Coventry is Australian Neil Robertson who takes on 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham in the opening match of Group 1, while Ding Junhui plays Ali Carter in the second match of the afternoon. Play gets underway at 12.45pm.
The Dafabet Champion of Champions takes place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, November 7-12. Tickets are available now at www.championofchampionssnooker.co.uk.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.