Ronnie O’Sullivan “on a holiday buzz” at empty World Snooker Championship
Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he is “on a holiday buzz” at an empty Crucible after booking his place in the Second Round in emphatic fashion.
The five-time World Champion swept aside Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1 in the fastest match in the history of the tournament, lasting just one hour and 48 minutes.
O’Sullivan established an 8-1 overnight lead and quickly secured the further two frames he required to race into the Last 16 in Sheffield.
Prior to the tournament, O’Sullivan had voiced his concerns over allowing fans into the venue, but after just one day of play in front of a limited capacity crowd, UK government restrictions meant that no fans would be permitted until further notice.
The 44-year-old says the absence of fans has means he can play without pressure and treat the event as if it was a holiday.
“I know it sounds mental but I actually prefer it because I haven’t got to deal with the pressure, the crowd and the expectation,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.
“Just getting in and out of the venue and being around, so much less is put on your shoulders so in a way it just feels like I’m on a bit of a holiday buzz.
“It’s the first time I’ve been able to stay in a hotel close to the venue because normally it’s full of snooker fans so it’s pretty hard for me to get any peace and quiet.
“It’s how I live my life really, I’m very private, I don’t really socialise much anyway so to me it’s like welcome to my world.
“Everything’s slowed down and that kind of suits my way of life.”
O’Sullivan had produced breaks of 101, 85, 115, 74, 88, 76 and 65 en route to an 8-1 lead and began the short-lived second session with a break of 93 before dominating frame 11 to seal his progression.
He will now face reigning UK Champion Ding Junhui in the Last 16, and added: “All I wanted to do was win my first match here, I didn’t have any other expectations than that so I’m just pleased to be through.
“Thepchaiya is obviously a very quick player as well but he made me look good really.
“He missed quite a few balls that he wouldn’t normally miss.
“It just shows you don’t have to have the crowd here at The Crucible for it to get to you in many ways, it must be something to do with this venue.
“Form is temporary, class is permanent. Ding will always be a class player.
“It’s probably one of the hardest matches you can get in this year’s World Championship.”
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