Tuesday 24 October 2017

In brief: Reluctant Rocket in 147 'guilt trip'

Snooker

Ronnie O'Sullivan made a 147 break in beating Mark King 3-0 at the World Open -- but only after the referee urged him to pot the final black.

O'Sullivan asked match referee Jan Verhaas if there was prize money available for the 147 only a few balls into his break before going on to complete the maximum in around nine minutes.

He potted the final pink before bizarrely shaking hands with King and was set to leave the auditorium before Verhaas patted O'Sullivan on the back, requesting him to pot the final black for the sake of an expectant crowd at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Verhaas finally convinced the former world champion to finish off the 10th maximum of his career, putting him in pole position to claim the highest break prize of 'only' £4,000.

O'Sullivan said: "I wasn't going to pot the black because to make 147 and not really get a nice bonus was a bit disappointing because they are magical moments and they deserve magical bonuses.

"But the ref played a guilt trip on me and said 'Come on, do it for your fans'. And I thought, 'Okay, because I haven't got long to play anyway, so I might as well go out on a high'."

"But I wasn't going to pot it because four grand, once you've paid the taxes..."

Tennis

CONOR NILAND blamed a match schedule mix-up for a below-par performance as he crashed out in the first round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Izmir, Turkey yesterday, WRITES PADDY HICKEY.

For the second time this year, the 146-ranked Irish No 1 came up short against Belgium's 223-ranked Yannick Mertens, this time on a 7-5 6-2 scoreline.

Niland had put in a hard week's training in his build-up to the Turkish hardcourt tournament, and originally thought he would be playing the Belgian No 7 today.

But it was only when the Limerick man signed in at Izmir that he was informed he was down to face Mertens in the very first match on yesterday morning.

"I hadn't enough time to properly recover from all the hard training I did last week," said Niland. "If I had an extra 24 hours, I would have been in much better shape to take on Mertens."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Colin O'Brien yesterday qualified for the second round of qualifying of the ATP Challenger Tour in Ljubljana with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 6-3 win over Slovenian Matjaz Jurman.

Irish Independent

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