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Ronnie O'Sullivan might be among snooker's older gunslingers, but the world champion shows no signs of slowing down.
The six-times Crucible winner averaged 14.8 seconds in his 4-1 win over world number 82 Jamie O'Neill in the first round of the Northern Ireland Open and weighed in with 17.7 seconds against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the last 16, who boasted 16.9 seconds in losing 4-2 to the Rocket.
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"I felt quite slow," he said after downing O'Neill.
I've got quite a quick brain I suppose and my positional play is decent so I don't have to walk that far to the next ball.
O'Sullivan has an overall average shot time of 17.97 this season just behind Un-Nooh's 17.92.
World number one Judd Trump comes in at 19.26 over the campaign. Defending champion Trump meets Scott Donaldson in the opening quarter-final as he chases a third successive Northern Ireland title with O'Sullivan, who has lost 9-7 to Trump in the previous two finals, facing Ding Junhui, who defeated John Higgins 4-1 in the last 16 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
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"I'm as fast now as I was as a kid, the other day I was on 14 seconds a shot," said O'Sullivan, who famously made the sport's fastest 147 in five minutes and eight seconds at the 1997 World Championship. "I'm not as good as I was, but still fast.
I play snooker more as a hobby. I practised last week, I did about 20 hours, which I hadn't done since I was 17 or 18.
"At my age, I want to tick over. I just love playing snooker. I think you have to find ways of loving it."
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Six-times world finalist Jimmy 'Whirlwind' White concludes that O'Sullivan is still the game's ultimate speed merchant.
"He's still the fastest player in the world, I think he was 17 or 18 seconds when he was younger," commented White.
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