Monday 24 July 2017

O'Sullivan plays down 146 furore after Crucible exit

 

Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after a missed shot against Ding Junhui. Photo: PA Wire
Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after a missed shot against Ding Junhui. Photo: PA Wire

John Skilbeck

Ronnie O'Sullivan bowed out of the World Championship despite producing another unforgettable Crucible moment.

The five-time champion made a thrilling 146 break and afterwards denied he snubbed the chance of a maximum as he crashed out 13-10 to Ding Junhui, to set up a semi-final clash with Mark Selby - a repeat of last year's final.

By taking pink from the 13th red when a perfect 147 looked a formality, O'Sullivan sparked debate over whether he had spurned the opportunity because of the low prize-money on offer.

O'Sullivan said: "I was playing for the black but I just didn't get on it. I don't take this stuff too seriously.

"I like to entertain, I like to put on a good show, and I like to have fun and I like to enjoy myself. In a world where everything's so serious, I like to make it fun."

Twenty years ago O'Sullivan pocketed £165,000 for a World Championship maximum that took just five minutes and 20 seconds, but this year the 41-year-old's reward would have been £15,000, made up of a high-break prize of £10,000 and a £5,000 147 bonus.

"Let's just say I don't think he was giving it 110pc," said seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, of O'Sullivan's efforts to get on the black for a 13th time.

When O'Sullivan was pressed on the financial rewards for the 147, and whether he was trying to make a point, he added: "Let's not go down that route, let's just wish Ding the very best."

At last year's Welsh Open, O'Sullivan turned down the chance of a maximum when he learned the prize-money was £12,000.

He said at the time he "didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147", and was criticised by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

At the 2010 World Open in Glasgow he had to be pressed by referee Jan Verhaas to pot the black to complete a maximum after being told there was no bonus on offer.

The masterful break from O'Sullivan had trimmed his arrears to 11-9, but Ding would not be denied and finished off with an ice-cool 117, his third century of the match. This afternoon he faces Mark Selby in the semi-final after the champion crushed Marco Fu 13-3.

Four-time champion John Higgins also won with a session to spare against Kyren Wilson and he takes on Barry Hawkins after the Englishman saw off Stephen Maguire 13-9.

World Championship,

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