On-song O’Sullivan blunt about title hopes

PUBLISHED: 08:49 23 April 2017

Ronnie O'Sullivan in action at the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (pic Rui Vieira/PA)

Ronnie O'Sullivan in action at the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (pic Rui Vieira/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Five-time champion faces Ding in Crucible quarter-finals

Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has downplayed his motivation for another Betfred World Championship crown – by comparing himself to singer James Blunt.

The Romford-based cueman eased into the Crucible quarter-finals with a 13-7 win over Shaun Murphy, registering his 18th last-eight appearance in Sheffield.

Breaks of 67, 52, 111 and 55 helped him ease over the line after resuming 10-6 up, with Ding Junhui the next obstacle in his way of a potential sixth title.

But O’Sullivan admitted he is more than happy to be the backing singer at the Crucible Theatre – despite hitting all the right notes in his performances so far.

“It doesn’t drive me on, you might think that’s crazy, but I look at myself as a band or a singer nowadays: if you want to write great albums every year then you do well on the snooker circuit,” he said.

“I’m not confident enough in writing brilliant albums, so I come and have fun and look to enjoy it while doing my best and being fiercely competitive.

“I’m doing a lot of exhibitions and becoming a bit like a band on a world tour, there isn’t that pressure and I enjoy being in that position. I haven’t written a great album this season, but it’s not been a bad year.

“If I was to win it, I’d be saying it’s a great feeling but I’ve had it five times before. Is it worth putting 365 days of blood, sweat and tears to hopefully get that title and get that feeling?

“I don’t feel I’m due one, I just need to be a supporting act and let the other guys write the good albums while fading back into the security of life. Maybe I’m a bit like James Blunt, he seems a pretty cool dude.”

O’Sullivan now faces Ding for a place in the last eight, with the fourth seed having got the better of O’Sullivan’s Essex training partner Liang Wenbo in the second round.

Liang had trailed 6-2 but valiantly fought back to take the game to a deciding frame in the Crucible, bidding to reach his second last-eight appearance following his debut in 2010

But Liang lost out to the experience of his compatriot, with a potted cue ball an unfortunate way to end some impressive snooker from the 30-year-old.

*Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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