Ronnie O’Sullivan in good form despite playing in socks
Few snooker players have graced the Crucible with as much talent and charisma as Ronnie ‘Rocket’ O’Sullivan; his unpredictable nature makes him a charming and often hilarious spectacle – but can the Rocket win this Betfred World Championship?
There is rarely a dull moment with O’Sullivan – who in 2006 stormed out of a UK Championship quarter-final against Stephen Hendry which disappointed his fans.
His most recent jaw-dropper was at the World Championship in Sheffield this week, playing briefly in his socks in the opener, after claiming sore feet.
He broke the dress code risking a fine in the process of creating lead of 7-2 against fellow Brit Craig Steadman.
Five-time champion O’Sullivan was close to scoring a maximum 147 break in the first frame, potting 13 reds and blacks, but then apparently found issue with his feet challenging four frames later.
According to reports O’Sullivan asked the audience in Sheffield if anyone could lend him a pair of Size 8s before taking up an offer to wear tournament director Mike Ganley’s shoes.
This was his second footwear related incident in a tournament for O’Sullivan, after playing in December’s UK Championship wearing soft shoes after breaking his ankle while running.
The Rocket capitalised on Steadman’s errors to build his 5-frame lead and will continue today in Sheffield’s Crucible. Paddy Power now has Steadman 100/1, which could be worth a punt.
The world’s best players are battling it out at the famous trophy at the Crucible for a top prize of £300,000.
Two-time finalist Ali Carter – who has lost twice to O’Sullivan in two previous World Championships – enters the second-round where he’ll meet with Neil Robertson after a 10-5 win over Alan McManus from Scotland.
Carter, from Chelmsford, said: “Peter Ebdon is here to help me on the practice table. All things considered, today will bring me on leaps and bounds and I’m here to win this tournament.”
“I didn’t feel as if I played great, but I competed in all departments and won quite convincingly in the end.”
Carter has a 6-3 and added the four frames he needed today with top breaks of 52, 53, 69 and 76.
Mark Selby, who is ranked world number 1 and reigning champion, a spot above O’Sullivan, was lucky to see the second round.
Selby says the pressure of the Crucible played a huge part in his dramatic 10-9 first-round win over Crucible debutant Kurt Maflin.
“At any other venue I think I would have been out. But because it is the Crucible, he [Maflin] probably felt the nerves a bit towards the end,” Selby said.
Many talk of the ‘Crucible Curse’, as no first-time winner has ever successfully defended the title.
Odds by Paddy Power on Selby winning in his second round against red-haired Scot Anthony McGill are currently 2/9, while McGill is 3/1.
There are no bookmakers giving odds on O’Sullivan to play in his socks again, lets hope he found some comfortable footwear and won’t have to ask the crowd for a pair of size 8s again.