Ronnie O'Sullivan admits he needs to win at the World Grand Prix this week

January 17, 2023
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Cazoo Masters - Day Five
Ronnie O’Sullivan is focussed on getting results this week in Cheltenham (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan is clear that he wants and needs to pick up results this week at the World Grand Prix as he bids to qualify for crucial tournaments over the rest of the season.

The Rocket may have won the Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions so far this campaign, but neither carry ranking points and his performances in ranking events have been a bit below-par.

The World Grand Prix features the top 32 players on the one-year list and O’Sullivan is involved, but he is not yet set to make the forthcoming Players Championship (top 16 on the one-year list) or the Tour Championship (top eight).

The world champion is currently #21 on that list and is moving in the right direction after beating Barry Hawkins 4-0 in the first round on Tuesday night, but he is well aware he needs victories and is focussed on results, when at some other tournaments he might not be quite as fussed whether he wins or loses.

‘Barry didn’t play good, missed a lot of balls, gave me some chances. On another day Barry pinches a few of them frames and could easily win that match,’ O’Sullivan told ITV after beating Hawkins comfortably in Cheltenham.

‘I’m just enjoying playing, enjoying competing, I need to have a good run here and in the Welsh [Open] or else my season is pretty much done until…I’ve got the 6 Reds and Sheffield [World Championship], so if I don’t have a good run here and Wales it’s back to the exhibition circuit just to keep ticking over until the Worlds comes round.

‘It’s not that I want to get into them tournaments, if it was just the Championship League, some of them would do me, it’s match practice. I decided I’d play as many tournaments as I could just for the match practice, even if it’s one or two matches it’s better than nothing to keep the rustiness off.

‘By not having some matches it’s not a good position to be in. I don’t care what tournament it is, but if you’re not in these next few, the only option is to go and play some pool tournaments or go on the exhibition circuit for a bit.’

O’Sullivan wasn’t the only big name to look good in their opening round, with Judd Trump and Mark Williams both flying through on Tuesday after they contested the Masters final on Sunday night.

Trump said his 4-2 win over Hossein Vafaei was one of his best performances of the season so far, while Williams was immense in his 4-1 victory over Jamie Jones, knocking in breaks of 104, 82, 100 and 121.

‘I didn’t have a drink after the final, so there was no hangover, just a bit of jetlag from travelling home at half three in the morning,’ said Williams on his 10-8 loss to Trump on Sunday.

;It is nice to come here and important to get a win in the first game because everyone is trying to get into the top 16 for the next event.’

There have been notable casualties already, though, with Neil Robertson falling on Monday to Xiao Guodong, while Mark Selby was beaten by Noppon Saengkham on Tuesday afternoon and Ding Junhui ousted Stuart Bingham in the same session.

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