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Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts to win over David Gilbert: “It’s like Gladiator – you just have to find a way to win”

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Record-equalling Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches World Championship Second Round

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Barry Hawkins pays tribute to “classy” Jackson Page after shock Crucible defeat

O’Sullivan compared himself to Russell Crowe during victory over Gilbert (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Ronnie O’Sullivan believes the battling qualities he displayed during victory over David Gilbert were similar to those demonstrated by Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator.

The Rocket advanced to the second round of the World Championship after wrapping up a 10-5 win over Gilbert on Sunday.

O’Sullivan headed into the second session carrying a 6-3 lead, but was pegged back to 6-5 as the 2019 semi-finalist capitalised on his missed opportunities.

Nevertheless, a brilliant break of 109 got the six-time World champion back on track as he won the next five frames to reach the last 16 for the 26th time in 30 Crucible appearances.

While O’Sullivan may not have been at his vintage best, he acknowledged the necessity to grind out a victory in the face of adversity – similar to a well-known film scene.

“It’s like Gladiator when Russell Crowe has a hole in his arm and knows he’s going to die,” he said. “You just have to find a way sometimes.

“He found a way; that’s what winners and gladiators do. I just drew on all my experience, all my skills, everything I’ve learned.

“I don’t know what it is, but I was probably born to do it.”

O’Sullivan claimed his 70th win at the Crucible – moving level with Stephen Hendry’s all-time record – and is also looking to match the Scotsman’s tally of seven titles.

Nevertheless, he feels his characteristics would be better suited elsewhere in sport.

“I should’ve been a formula one driver or even a boxer,” he added. “I don’t think snooker’s suited for me because I have to work on the temperament side of it.

“I find it hard to be like a robot. A lot of the great players over the years have been like machines; I’m not a machine, I’m quite an emotional character. That’s probably not good when you’re playing snooker; you should be ice cold, so I have to work on that.

“I probably wasn’t born to play snooker, but I was born to do something with a ball. I just wish it would’ve been another sport where my temperament would have been suited to it.

“I find snooker very challenging, but it teaches you about yourself and your character.”

The 20-time major winner will now face either Mark Allen or Scott Donaldson in the Second Round in Sheffield on Friday.