The “Rocket” launched into the second round with a routine opening outing at the Crucible Theatre.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is through to the last 16 of the World Championship after a comprehensive 10-1 triumph over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in Sheffield.
The five-time champion was approaching his best but in truth wasn’t challenged enough by an overawed opponent.
Completed in a mere one hour and 48 minutes, it marks a new record for the fastest game in the World Championship at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan raced into a 6-0 lead courtesy of a brace of century breaks and additional runs of 88, 85, 76, and 74.
Un-Nooh avoided the whitewash in the seventh frame, but that was as good as it got for the Thailand competitor, with O’Sullivan wrapping up the success quickly in the second session.
In recent years, O’Sullivan has struggled with the taxing conditions of the World Championship, but the 44 year-old seems to have prepared well ahead of a bid for a sixth crown.
“Thepchaiya never performed to the level that we know he can so he made it a little easier for me,” Ronnie said post-match.
“But I still had to pot the balls and still had to make the breaks, which is always pleasing. I put quite a lot of practice in the last two weeks on proper match tables.
“I found that for the last two or three years I’ve been at sea with the conditions – I was doing a lot of exhibitions, but I never really had a practice facility to play at.
“I was winging a lot of it, but I thought this time that rather than that I’ve been able to get myself a decent practice facility and play on proper match conditions.
Entire match quicker than the Gilbert v O’Brien decider in 2017. #WorldSnookerChampionship2020
— Neal Foulds (@fouldsy147) August 3, 2020
“Sheffield is super intense. I didn’t play in the Masters because I didn’t want to deal with all the press, the hassle, and the extra stuff that’s required from you that isn’t required from you in 90% of all of the other tournaments.
“At this stage of my career, I’d rather play longer and win less than win lots and play for a short period of time, because I’d be bored otherwise.
“I pick out the events that actually I feel like I can enjoy. This is one event that I never really enjoyed and the Masters is another one I really don’t enjoy. I was kind of blackmailed into playing in this event.
“My sponsors and my ambassadors were like ‘we really want you to play in the World Championship’ so this was kind of done for them – it’s more of a team effort.”
Ronnie faces Ding Junhui for a quarter-final berth, with the pair sharing a win apiece from their previous Crucible battles with one another.
Featured photo credit: WST