Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ranking, Snooker Headlines

Ronnie O’Sullivan – ‘I think the sport needs someone’

Ronnie O’Sullivan emerged with a quarter-final place in the Shanghai Masters after winning his first match on Tuesday.

The reigning champion overcame Ali Carter with a 6-3 scoreline to reach the last eight at the Shanghai Grand Stage.

O’Sullivan compiled breaks of 99 and 57 to lead 3-1 at the mid-session interval but was mostly sat in his chair upon the resumption as Carter restored parity in the game.

From 3-3 the Rocket shifted through the gears, however, and reeled off successive breaks of 101, 74, and 81 to safely advance in the prestigious invitational.

“Obviously, I’d love to win this tournament. It’s one of my favourite tournaments,” Ronnie O’Sullivan said in his post-match press conference.

“Even when it was a ranking event, it was a fantastic venue. A fantastic city here in Shanghai, I love to come to this place.”

“I always want to do well in the really, really, big important tournaments, and this is a very, very important tournament.

“The promoters of this tournament are one of the best in the world. They do the tennis, the Formula One, so they are used to doing the big sports.

“When you work with promoters like that, you always have a good time. It’s a pleasure to be able to help promote this tournament.

“It’s an important tournament in the calendar for all the snooker players, and Shanghai is one of the major cities in the world.

“You want to showcase the tournament in the best possible way, and it’s a pleasure to be able to help.”

O’Sullivan, who has won the last three editions of the Shanghai Masters, was also asked about his opinion on young players in today’s game and who his all-time top five legends of the sport are.

“I’d probably say Stephen Hendry number one, Steve Davis number two, Joe Davis number three, Ray Reardon number four, and maybe John Higgins as number five.”

“There are some great young players (these days). Everybody is about as good as each other, there’s no standout player.

“When Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis were around, they were so much better than everybody else, so it was easy to just pick one.

“But now, you have maybe five, ten, or 15 players who are maybe all as good as each other.

“I think the sport needs someone. I think the sport is always more exciting if one player can dominate, because everybody wants to see that player lose.

“At the moment, there isn’t really one player dominating. There are many, many good players, there’s a lot of very good young players.

“(There are) some good players from Belgium – Ben Mertens is good and obviously Luca winning the World Championship. China has many, many good players.

“Si Jiahui played fantastically in the World Championship – a great talent, a great player. It’d be nice to see one of them really dominate.

“Every sport needs one, like (Max) Verstappen. He’s winning everything, and people just want to see if he’s going to lose today.

“People want to watch the really dominant players to see if somebody can beat them, so snooker needs one of them.”

The world number one’s next challenge is an interesting one as he prepares to face familiar foe John Higgins on Thursday.

The Scot reached the quarter-finals courtesy of a confident 6-3 defeat of Kyren Wilson in the last 16.

Elsewhere in the top half of the draw, Judd Trump and Mark Selby set up a clash against one another thanks to respective 6-5 triumphs over Jack Lisowski and Hossein Vafaei.

On Wednesday, the round of 16 concludes with the remaining four games.

World champion Luca Brecel faces Mark Williams and home hero Ding Junhui is in action against Neil Robertson in the pick of day three’s action.

Shanghai Masters draw and schedule

Last 24 (bo11)

Ali Carter (11) 6-2 Dong Zihao
John Higgins (10) 6-0 Deng Haohui

Hossein Vafaei (16) 6-1 Gong Chenzhi
Jack Lisowski (13) 6-5 Zhou Yuelong

Gary Wilson (14) 2-6 Fan Zhengyi
Ding Junhui (15) 6-2 Si Jiahui

Robert Milkins (12) 6-1 Bai Yulu
Mark Williams (9) 6-1 Pang Junxu

Last 16 (bo11)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 6-3 Ali Carter (11)
Kyren Wilson (8) 3-6 John Higgins (10)

Mark Selby (5) 6-5 Hossein Vafaei (16)
Judd Trump (4) 6-5 Jack Lisowski (13)

Mark Allen (3) 3-6 Fan Zhengyi
Neil Robertson (6) 6-5 Ding Junhui (15)

Shaun Murphy (7) 5-6 Robert Milkins (12)
Luca Brecel (2) 6-4 Mark Williams (9)

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 6-5 John Higgins (10)
Mark Selby (5) 6-1 Judd Trump (4)

Fan Zhengyi 1-6 Neil Robertson (6)
Robert Milkins (12) 3-6 Luca Brecel (2)

Semi-Finals (bo19)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 10-7 Mark Selby (5)

Neil Robertson (6) 7-10 Luca Brecel (2)

Final (bo21)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 11-9 Luca Brecel (2)

Featured photo credit: WST

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