Snooker: Hendry targets centuries milestone after defeat
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Ronnie O’Sullivan gave a brutally honest assessment about the threat he poses at the top of the snooker world, as he warned rival John Higgins ‘it’s not me he needs to worry about’ when it comes to the Scot attempting to win titles.
O’Sullivan was hammered by Higgins in Thursday’s Champion of Champions quarter-final, as the latter eased to a crushing 6-1 victory in Bolton.
Higgins quickly moved into a 2-0 lead over his long-time rival, before O’Sullivan responded to take the third frame to leave the Scot 2-1 up in the early stages.
However what followed would be a nightmare for The Rocket as he was dismantled by the 46-year-old, who went on to claim the next four frames in succession to cap off the quarter-final drubbing.
Despite his status as the greatest snooker player of all time, O’Sullivan believes Higgins should not be worrying about him when it comes to winning titles.
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Following his hammering, the Englishman said: “It’s not me he’s got to worry about, it’s the others. He’s got to do it against them if he’s going to start winning titles.”
O’Sullivan has been in somewhat of a career lull over the past year, having not one a tour title in 15 months. That run continued in Bolton, where he believes Higgins turned up with his strongest game which proved too much for him.
The Rocket continued: “He was too good, and I didn’t do enough when I had chances. He always seems to play good stuff against me.
“I know I need to be at my best, and I wasn’t tonight. I missed a few opportunities, but I don’t think I was cueing well enough tonight.”
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Higgins came into this week’s event after two narrow final losses at both the English Open and Northern Ireland Open, to Neil Robertson and Mark Allen respectively.
Following his two agonising defeats, the Scot admitted he felt he hasn’t ‘really got it at this level’ anymore but O’Sullivan still believes his old rival still can compete.
When asked if he felt Higgins could still win more titles, the Englishman commented: “You’d think so, but it’s going to be a different game against Yan [Bingtao].”
Higgins addressed O’Sullivan’s initial comments, saying: “Maybe half heat of the moment, half belief.”
He also looked to have put his recent final disappointments behind him following his impressive win, adding: “You’re disappointed [after losing finals]. Come back here, beat Ding, and then going against Ronnie, I’m delighted.”
Higgins will be back in action on Saturday evening for his semi-final clash, as he takes on China’s Yan Bingtao for a place in the final against either Kyren Wilson or Judd Trump.
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