Eurosport expert Jimmy White has sent a warning to Ronnie O’Sullivan over potentially losing his focus over an issue with his cue at the World Championship.
O’Sullivan claimed his cue has been “unplayable” at times at the Crucible and again brought it into focus during his quarter-final with Stephen Maguire – but also insisted he has “played with worse and won”.
Despite looking out of sorts for much of the second session, the 46-year-old closed on the semi-finals in Sheffield after stretching his lead over Maguire to six frames. He will return on Wednesday bidding to secure the final two frames he needs to book a semi-final meeting with either John Higgins or Jack Lisowski.
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While O'Sullivan has been playing some sublime snooker this World Championship and looks set to continue his fine run, White has warned his good friend not to lose his focus and concentration over the cue issues.
"He has been playing really well all season, he’s played well in this tournament so we know it’s in the tank," said Eurosport expert White.
"But the tip situation is making him lose focus, lose his concentration and you see Ronnie O’Sullivan in the balls and he doesn’t really know what to do.
"The main thing is he’s getting the W, getting through to the next round. It looks like he’s going to win this match, let’s be honest, he’s that far in front. But if he’s going to beat John Higgins, he can’t play like that, that’s for sure."
He added: "He’s not played well at all. He’s obviously unhappy with his tip. It must be demoralising for Stephen Maguire, a man of his class. He’s not really competed.
"You can see every now and again he shows us what he can do. Ronnie O’Sullivan is closer to the next round but he's not played well at all tonight."
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‘I’ve played with worse and won’ – O’Sullivan shrugs off ‘unplayable’ cue
Fellow Eurosport expert Alan McManus added: "Even the greats have to accept that now and again you’re going to drop your level. But with that comes a steel and a desire to get through sessions, churn them out. 11-5 to the good, it’s almost job done.”
O’Sullivan told Eurosport after Tuesday's evening session that he had called upon cue tip connoisseur Les Dodd for assistance after struggling in the first session. That was despite the fact that he took the session convincingly 6-2.
"As long as it doesn’t implode on me, then obviously it will stay on,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport when asked about his tip.
"Les Dodd did a fantastic job. It was unplayable at the start of the day. I called him up to come and tidy it up, he’s tidied it up.
"Listen, it’s not ideal, but hopefully the more I play with it, the more I get comfortable. I have played with worse and won.”
It is the fifth occasion in O’Sullivan’s illustrious career that he has occupied the world No. 1 ranking, and the first time since 2019, as he continues his pursuit of a record-equalling seventh world title.
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