Ronnie O’Sullivan was unable to stop Yan Bingtao earlier this week and he believes the Chinese player is a born winner who’s “got something different”.
Masters champion Yan edged past O’Sullivan in the third round of the Northern Ireland Open on Thursday and has since gone on to set up a semi-final against John Higgins.
The 21-year-old was at his imperious best in the quarter-finals as he eased past Mitchell Mann 5-0, and six-time world champion O’Sullivan has predicted a bright future for his conqueror.
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Speaking on Eurosport, he suggested that Yan was a born winner who has a “deep-rooted belief” in his ability.
“Winners are born,” O’Sullivan said. “You can’t mould them, you can’t develop them, they come out and they’re champions – and he’s one of them.
“If Ding [Junhui] had a bit of what [Yan] has he’d probably have won three or four world titles now, but he hasn’t.
This kid’s got something different which makes him a competitor.
“This kid’s got something different which makes him a competitor, a little bit like what [Mark] Selby is, you know.
“What they lack for flair, and this and that, they make up with that warrior inside them that they believe they can win.
“I’m not talking about false belief. You get a lot of players on tour, ‘I believe I can win if I’m playing well’. They don’t really believe it.
'This kid's got something different' - Ronnie O'Sullivan believes Yan Bingtao is a born winner
“This is a deep-rooted belief that comes from within that doesn’t need to be shown to everybody.
“It’s sort of like, you keep it calm inside, you just go about your business.”
Yan will now face Higgins for a place in the final in Northern Ireland, in a repeat of this year’s Masters final. The Chinese player won that match 10-8.
“It’s going to be a tough match,” O’Sullivan added. “Even if John plays well, this kid will hang onto him.”
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