Ronnie O'Sullivan snooker schedule
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Ronnie O’Sullivan on snooker schedule: ‘It’s like one continuous tournament’

The Englishman only just reached the final of the previous event on Sunday.

Ronnie O’Sullivan defied a busy snooker schedule to advance to the last eight of the Players Championship on Tuesday in Milton Keynes.

The 45 year-old, a runner-up in the Welsh Open a few days ago, beat Ding Junhui 6-5 in a hard-fought battle.

For the third time in as many months, the pair needed every allotted frame to be separated, and just like at the Scottish Open and last month’s Masters it was O’Sullivan who emerged as the winner.

Ding boasted an early 2-1 advantage with breaks of 65 and 71, but the Chinese number one lost four out of the next five to trail 5-3 heading into the final straight of the contest.

The 33 year-old fought back with runs of 53 and 60 to force the final frame, but the Rocket held his nerve with a contribution of 95 to settle the affair.

On his own performance and the snooker schedule, Ronnie O’Sullivan told the World Snooker Tour: “I try not to assess it really, you go out there and try to do a job.”

“It felt tough out there to be honest, but I just had to stick in there. I want to be in the tournament, so I had to erase as many poor shots as I could and focus on the next shot.

“He should have beaten me a lot more than he has, but I like playing Ding – he plays the game in a good way, you can get into a good rhythm with him.

“The best way to look at it (the busy schedule) is that there’s one continuous tournament, I don’t separate them any more.

“I’m in round 38 at the moment, it’s very hard to differentiate between one tournament and the other.

“It’s like having a nine-to-five job, you get up and play, and try to get as much holiday time if you need it.”

O’Sullivan’s next opponent in Milton Keynes had a slightly easier time of it in the last 16, with Jack Lisowski recording a 6-3 triumph over Martin Gould.

The match appeared to have turned in Gould’s favour when a fluke at 4-1 down helped him to pinch the frame with a re-spotted black before the Pinner Potter reduced the gap to just one with a tidy century break.

But Lisowski dug deep to win the last two frames he required in what could be an important victory in his battle to remain inside the provisional top 16 in the world rankings in time for the World Championship at the Crucible.

Meanwhile, the performance of day two undoubtedly went to Neil Robertson, who made his comeback after skipping last week’s Welsh Open for personal reasons.

The wild-haired Australian was in devastating form in among the balls, firing in four tons in a 6-1 drubbing of Lu Ning.

Robertson has odds of 10/3 to claim the Players Championship top prize worth £125,000 for the first time in his career.

O’Sullivan remains the online bookies favourite at 7/4, with betway offers for signing up available if you think the Rocket can triumph for the third time in four editions of the competition.

Barry Hawkins was the other winner in round one, needing all eleven frames to get beyond Zhou Yuelong in a thriller.

A terrific 143 total clearance from the Hawk stands as the highest break of the event so far.

On Wednesday, the first round concludes with Mark Selby in action against Mark Williams and John Higgins taking on Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown.

Later on the third day, the quarter-finals get under way with Hawkins returning to face Stuart Bingham.

Last 16 Draw

Judd Trump (1) 5-6 Stuart Bingham (16)
Zhou Yuelong (8) 5-6 Barry Hawkins (9)
Jack Lisowksi (5) 6-3 Martin Gould (12)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (4) 6-5 Ding Junhui (13)

Neil Robertson (3) 6-1 Lu Ning (14)
Kyren Wilson (6) 6-1 Ryan Day (11)
Jordan Brown (7) vs John Higgins (10)
Mark Selby (2) vs Mark Williams (15)

Where to Watch the Players Championship

The tournament will be available to UK and Irish viewers on ITV4 in addition to blanket Eurosport coverage provided to the rest of Europe.

Fans around the world will have various other options available to them, which you can find more details for here.

As has become the norm since last year, the tournament in its entirety will be staged behind closed doors.

Featured photo credit: WST

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