Ronnie O’Sullivan compared himself to a Ferrari after finding top gear to beat Graeme Dott 6-1 at the Ladbrokes Players Championship.
O’Sullivan is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, having won more ranking events, made more centuries and earned more prize money than ever before. He’s into the quarter-finals in Llandudno and will face Ding Junhui on Wednesday night in a repeat of last month’s Ladbrokes World Grand Prix final, which O’Sullivan won 10-3 (tickets still available, click here for details).
Dott had chances in the opening frame tonight but couldn’t take them and he was eventually punished as O’Sullivan made a 48 clearance to win it on the black. World number two O’Sullivan then raced into a 5-0 lead with top breaks of 106, 62 and 51.
At that stage he had won 17 consecutive frames against Dott, across four matches, and he looked set to extend that sequence until Dott came from 40-0 down to snatch frame six. Scotland’s Dott also had a chance to clear from 50-0 down in the seventh, but missed a tough last red along the top cushion, allowing O’Sullivan to seal the result.
“A lot of the other players are burned out. I just chip up now and then and nick a few trophies,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan, chasing his fifth ranking title of the season. “I’m as fresh as a daisy because you have to pace yourself. I look at myself like a Ferrari – you can’t keep driving it every day, you have to polish it, clean it, keep it in the garage and keep the miles down. If you want to put 300,000 miles on the car you will wear it out pretty soon so I try to keep my mileage down.”
Neil Robertson was in superb form in a 6-2 win over Luca Brecel, setting up a quarter-final with Judd Trump or Stephen Maguire on Thursday afternoon. Brecel made a break of 130 in taking a 2-1 lead, and he potted the first red at the start of the fourth frame, but then failed to pot a ball in the remainder of the match. Australia’s Robertson piled in runs of 75, 72, 62, 103 and 107, scoring 432 points without reply.
“I played pretty much perfect snooker from 2-1 down,” said world number 15 Robertson, aiming for his third title of the season having won the Hong Kong Masters and Scottish Open. “I’m really pleased because I played that well at the Welsh Open but still lost 4-3 to Ian Burns. My game has been in great shape and I feel fantastic.
“Ronnie has been the standout player this season, then you’ve got Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ryan Day and myself who have all won a couple of tournaments. We’re all looking at the next two events as a chance to keep the momentum going heading into the World Championship. There are a lot of players feeling really good about their game, which makes it great for everyone watching.”