Ronnie O’Sullivan let his emotions get the better of him during a frustrating day of snooker on Thursday.
The five-time World Champion let his 5-3 lead slip into a 9-7 chase against Mark Selby in their semi-final before they meet again on Friday, handing his opponent an important advantage.
During a tough second session, 44-year-old O’Sullivan missed a long-range shot at the pink before punching the table as he returned to his chair.
In his role as a BBC pundit, Steve Davis mentioned the punch, and why he wasn’t too worried about any damage to the knuckles of O’Sullivan’s right hand.
“A frustrating session for Ronnie O’Sullivan, that culminated with a black that went wrong,’ explained former World Champion Davis.
“It looked like he’d got himself out of trouble, snuck a red in the middle pocket and then the pink, which was a tough shot, a little bit of pressure on it.
“I expected him to get it but you can see the reaction. It must have hurt, that.
“It looked like it was his knuckles as well, but fortunately he can play left-handed.”
Stephen Hendry said while on commentary: “You can see what that means to Ronnie to miss that one, he knew that was a big shot. There was pressure on it.”
Selby has won both of his previous meetings with O’Sullivan at the Crucible, and is now well placed to reach the 17 frames that will put him into the final against either Kyren Wilson or Anthony McGill.
Ken Doherty, the 1997 World Champion, said after Thursay’s action: “A tense afternoon and you can see how much it meant to Ronnie. Where he let Selby off the hook last night, he was completely different in his approach in today’s final frame.
“He knew he had his opponent and he was keeping his foot firmly on him.
“That was a great break and it will hurt Ronnie, he didn’t play well today and that will have been brought on from last night when he did not finish the session well.
“Ronnie will need to win the third session 5-3, if he loses it he will be well behind going into the final session.”
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