RONNIE O’Sullivan is delighted to have survived his own personal boot camp at the Coral UK Championship – with defending champion Neil Robertson also firing on Tuesday.
The Rocket eased into the last 16 at York’s Barbican Centre with a 6-2 win over Ben Woollaston – and will now play Matt Selt for a place in the quarter-finals.
And four-time UK winner O’Sullivan, 39 on Friday, was back in shoes with his broken ankle on the mend and his movement ominously almost back to normal.
O’Sullivan said: “I have won three awkward matches not feeling at my best. The first two rounds the foot was really bad but it was much, much better today.
“Today was the first day I felt I could walk without worrying I would fall over and had confidence in it. It is still sore with the swelling but I owe a big thank you to the Sheffield United physios.
“I could wear shoes today, not the blue boots – they were doing my head in. I watched them on the TV and thought they were horrible but these were great.
“They are Paul Smith, they are great and comfortable and also black and go with my suit and socks and trousers, I felt like a human again.
“Boots are horrible with a dinner suit. You want to feel the part out there as well, and not walk around like an oddball.
“And the atmosphere and the tables were much better today, when it gets down to the two tables it will be a proper event.
“I didn’t settle in the first four frames, but managed to get to 2-2. He can be unsettling to play against as you don’t know what to expect, and he scores quickly.
“Steve Peters was here and I spoke to him at the mid-session interval, he said a couple of things and was right and I put it into action.
“You know the standards and heights I can reach, this wasn’t brilliant and unless I reach that I always want more, the form that I look for and without it I am hard on myself.”
Robertson, who could yet face O’Sullivan in the semi-finals, won the battle of the snooker vegans against Peter Ebdon 6-2 – and will now play Scotland’s Graeme Dott in a repeat of the 2010 world final.
World No2 Robertson made breaks of 74, 108, 84, 70, 78 and 65 in an impressive display.
Robertson said: “That is probably my best performance of the season, especially against a great player like Peter. I was very pleased, it was almost faultless.
“Maybe I should have had more centuries, but that would be asking for too much maybe. There are some players playing really well, and I have put myself in contention.
“This is the second-biggest tournament so you expect guys to be primed and ready for it. Graeme doesn’t get the credit he deserves and he is a wonderful player, I will need to be at my best.”
Photograph by Monique Limbos