Six-time World Snooker Championship finalist Jimmy White has called on Ronnie O’Sullivan to up his game if he’s to triumph at the Crucible this month. ‘The Rocket’ is on the verge of a 13th career appearance in the tournament’s semis as he leads Stephen Maguire 11-5.
That’s despite O’Sullivan, 46, displaying some uncharacteristic miscues thus far in his quarter-final, which resumes on Wednesday. The six-time world champion has said his cue has been “unplayable” at times in the contest, but White put the onus on O’Sullivan to make the necessary tweaks if he’s to add to his title haul in Sheffield.
“He’s not played well at all,” said the snooker egend and Eurosport pundit. “He’s obviously unhappy with his tip. And it must be demoralising for Stephen Maguire, a man of his class, he’s not really competed, you know?
“Every now and again, he shows us what he can do [Stephen Maguire]. But Ronnie O’Sullivan—he’s closer to the next round but he’s not played well at all tonight.” It’s a testament to the second seed’s quality that he can play badly and still thrive, but that luck may at risk of running out.
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The Rocket beat David Gilbert 10-5 in the opening stage before devastating No. 15 seed Mark Allen 13-4 in the second round. However, White said issues with O’Sullivan’s tip were making him “lose focus, lose his concentration.”
Only two more frames are required for the 20-time Triple Crown champion to advance, which seems a foregone conclusion at this stage. Tougher tests are to come, however, and O’Sullivan may soon find himself outmatched unless he makes some significant adjustments.