Thursday 23 November 2017

Rocket shot down by brilliant Bingham


Ronnie O'Sullivan suffered a shock defeat in the World Championships at the hands of Stuart Bingham
Ronnie O'Sullivan suffered a shock defeat in the World Championships at the hands of Stuart Bingham Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ronnie O'Sullivan tumbled out of the World Championship last night as Stuart Bingham claimed the biggest Crucible win of his life.

While the 38-year-old advances to a semi-final against Judd Trump, O'Sullivan goes home before the final for the first time in four years.

His body language in the arena suggested O'Sullivan was lacking the enthusiasm and focus necessary for such battles, meaning Bingham's 13-9 victory was both richly deserved for the world No 10 and the natural outcome. He sealed it with a break of 66 and O'Sullivan stepped forward to offer his congratulations.

While Bingham was raring to go, O'Sullivan looked to be playing out of obligation, showing flashes of his brilliance but also making elementary errors.

Bingham led 5-3 after the opening session, was still firmly in the match at 8-8 after the afternoon session, and returned to seize control of a match many expected O'Sullivan to sweep through.

O'Sullivan pointed to his limited playing schedule as a factor in the defeat. He plays few small-scale events, which his rivals, such as Bingham, typically do not miss.

O'Sullivan said: "I was off the pace. I've no complaints, I was the second-best player and deserved to lose the match.

"You can't start looking for form these days. I made so many unforced errors. Before you might have got away with it but now you get punished by all the players.

"I'm not surprised and I'm not prepared to play in all the little events either. I'm not prepared to travel around in and out of a suitcase. I've had 20 years at the top, eventually there has to be a changing of the guard." Asked how he would react, O'Sullivan said: "Hopefully I'll be gutted and hurt. But tomorrow I'll go for a run in the morning and sparring in the afternoon. Life has to go on."

Last night's other quarter-final saw another shock as Barry Hawkins edged out former champion Neil Robertson 13-12. Shaun Murphy progressed with a 13-8 win against Anthony McGill.

Irish Independent

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