Saturday 26 May 2018

O'Sullivan in hot water

O’Sullivan: Battled through. Photo: PA
O’Sullivan: Battled through. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ronnie O'Sullivan's often tumultuous relationship with his sport took another bizarre twist yesterday when he was told he will be disciplined for failing to fulfil media duties after his 10-7 first-round win over David Gilbert at the World Championships in Sheffield.

O'Sullivan turned a 6-3 overnight lead into a relatively comfortable triumph over the dogged world No 65 before a World Snooker official confirmed the five-time champion's no-show, which is in breach of his contractual obligations.

In a statement, World Snooker said: "All players have a responsibility to the sport, and in particular to their fans. This includes fulfilling media obligations. Any players found to be in breach of these rules will be referred to the disciplinary process."

While the 40-year-old's punishment is unlikely to stretch beyond a fine of a few hundred pounds, it raises new questions over his notoriously fragile mental stage ahead of his second-round match against either Barry Hawkins or Zhang Anda next Saturday.

And although he never quite found his top form, there was no suggestion O'Sullivan ought to be unduly frustrated with his performance against Gilbert, as he produced breaks of 101 and 72 to wrap up a relatively routine victory.

Gilbert paid tribute to his opponent, saying: "That is probably the best I'll ever play without winning a game of snooker."

Two-time champion Mark Williams wrapped up a 10-4 win over Graeme Dott while John Higgins scored three centuries as he raced to a 7-2 lead over Ryan Day with their match due to resume and be played to a finish this afternoon.

Irish Independent

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