O’Sullivan lost 6-1 to Yan at the International Championship in October
Ronnie O’Sullivan came through a tough battle against Yan Bingtao 4-3 to reach the last eight of the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix in Preston – then accused snooker’s younger generation of being “flaky under the cosh.”
O’Sullivan, chasing his fourth ranking title of the season, had to come from 3-2 down at the Guild Hall to beat talented 18-year-old Yan. The Rocket will now meet Xiao Guodong on Thursday evening (tickets still available – click here for details).
A break of 121 gave O’Sullivan the opening frame then China’s Yan took the second on the colours and made a 71 to lead 2-1. O’Sullivan’s 58 made it 2-2 then his opponent compiled a run of 84 to regain the lead.
Yan had a chance for victory in frame six but could only make 49 and O’Sullivan cleared with 75 for 3-3. Both players had chances in the decider but O’Sullivan eventually won it 81-38 to progress to round three.
“I don’t think either of us played really well,” world number two O’Sullivan told ITV. “I had to dig in because I had no touch and feel. My timing was all over the place but my competitiveness kicked in and that’s why I won.
“Yan is a very good talent. I don’t know if he has got any bottle. A lot of the players that are meant to be doing the business, they’re not doing it because they don’t seem to be able to do it under pressure. It doesn’t matter how good you are – if you can’t perform under pressure then you’re going to get to quarters, semis and finals but then get found out.
“I think there are only four or five players on the circuit who have got any bottle. John Higgins has it, Stephen Hendry had it in abundance, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby have a bit of it – other than that they all get a bit flaky under the cosh.
“If you want to get to quarters and semis and be a journeyman that’s fine, but if you want to win tournaments you have to learn to win under pressure. Stephen (Hendry) taught me that when I was a kid, I watched him and realised I had to change my game and do certain things at certain times in a match.”
Michael Georgiou’s winning streak of eight consecutive matches ended as he went down 4-3 against Stephen Maguire. Coral Shoot Out champion Georgiou came from 3-0 down to 3-3 with top breaks of 57 and 68, only for Maguire to win the decider 70-17. Glasgow’s Maguire now meets Shaun Murphy, who came from 2-1 down to beat Jack Lisowski 4-2 with top breaks of 67 and 73.
China’s Xiao edged out John Higgins 4-3 in a match with never more than one frame between them. Xiao took the decider with a break of 55.