O’Sullivan spurred on by cash prize


Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted after his scintillating 147 at the Coral UK Championship that his motivation to get maximum breaks is not what it was – but joked that he had 40,000 reasons pushing him on against outclassed Matthew Selt.

The five-time world champion completed a 6-0 demolition of Selt with another moment of magic in the final frame as he stormed into the quarter-finals.

O’Sullivan’s maximum at the end of the fourth-round clash at York’s Barbican Centre was the 109th in snooker history and the 13th of the Englishman’s career – improving his own all-time record.

The 38-year-old, who had a scare when the final blue wobbled in the jaws of the middle pocket before dropping, could now earn a £40,000 bonus from the rolling 147 prize fund, plus £4,000 for the highest break in the tournament.

And it was that financial reward – which he will have share if someone else makes one in York – that a smiling O’Sullivan said was on his mind as he edged closer to yet another maximum.

He told reporters at a press conference: “The motivation to get them is not as high as it used to be, but it’s still nice to get them and obviously I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that the roll-over was kind of mounting up.

“So I thought it was worth getting the maximum because unless it’s over 40 grand you won’t be getting a max out of me mate! You’re not getting them cheap.”

O’Sullivan is now two clear of Stephen Hendry at the top of the list for career 147s, and he added of his latest: “They definitely get the adrenaline going.

“I already had the record at 12 and I just thought ‘well someone will have to go some to beat that’, but it’s always nice to make it that bit more difficult for someone to reach.”

The break also moved O’Sullivan a step closer to Hendry’s record mark of 775 centuries, but the Essex cueman said he was looking well beyond the Scot’s tally on that front as well.

He said: “I’ve set my sights to go to 1,000, so Hendry’s record is not something I’m looking at. I know that will get taken over eventually. I might as well set 1,000 and give somebody something to chase.”

The Rocket, who was also on for a 147 in the previous frame before falling short on 89, rattled in four half-century breaks as well as his brilliant century as he swept aside Selt – but despite the one-sided scoreline, O’Sullivan admitted he was struggling with nerves at the outset.

“It was a big match for me, a new player, a new style, I was a bit nervous out there at the beginning but I thought I handled it ok and I kind of worked my way into the match and the ending, it was a great ending,” he said.

Making the achievement even more remarkable is that he was playing on a broken left ankle, sustained while out running in Essex last week.

Such was the pain of the injury that O’Sullivan – who turns 39 on Friday – suggested after his first-round victory he might have to withdraw from the tournament if there was no improvement.

However, O’Sullivan played through the pain and on Thursday rewarded the watching public – and even fellow players Stephen Maguire and David Morris who briefly stopped their fourth-round encounter on the neighbouring table to follow the action – to another potting masterclass.

Next up for the former world number one is 23-year-old Anthony McGill, a player O’Sullivan says he is a big fan of and who will pose a tough test.

Also going through to the last eight on Thursday were Judd Trump, Marco Fu and Stephen Maguire.

Trump, the 2011 champion, made two centuries in overcoming veteran Rod Lawler 6-3 – the Bristolian winning five of the last six frames after trailing 2-1 – while Maguire beat David Morris by the same scoreline.

But while O’Sullivan undoubtedly produced the individual moment of the day, the best match was the one involving Fu and Shaun Murphy, who served up another dramatic encounter at the event before the Hong Kong potter sealed his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-5 win.

Murphy beat Fu 10-9 in a tense 2008 final and the pair went the distance again on Thursday, with the match being decided on the final black at York’s Barbican Centre.

Fu next faces Maguire, while next up for Trump is Mark Davis.

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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