Ronnie O’Sullivan said he would not be distracted by his status as heavy favourite in Sunday’s Welsh Open final against Jordan Brown.
Brown is ranked 81st and O’Sullivan is the current world champion. Anything but a straightforward victory would be a surprise to observers, but he was reticent to look too far beyond his own game, but he did add that he feels like when he is playing well, he can "do some damage".
Speaking after the game to Eurosport’s Andy Goldstein and Jimmy White, 45-year-old O’Sullivan had mixed feelings over his current form.
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“Didn’t feel like I was cueing like I had been in Milton Keynes, and the first few matches last week, but the new grip is allowing me to place some really good shots, which is letting my game control the table, rather than just playing mediocre stuff,” he explained.
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“Playing like this, I’m a lot harder to beat than my old stuff.”
Despite his comprehensive victory, O’Sullivan pointed out he didn’t feel able to score more than one century.
“I just played the balls. If I could have knocked in six, seven tons I would have gone for it,” he said.
“But there were times where I wasn’t seeing it great and I missed a couple. Every so often I could hammer home my advantage.
“At the moment I’m feeling like if i play well, then I can do some damage.”
With most events held in Milton Keynes to meet coronavirus restrictions, O’Sullivan was pleased to be back in Wales, where he has already won four Welsh Open titles over the course of his career.
“It’s just the venue, I love playing at Newport. Every time I turned up there were hardly any fans, and as soon as I played my match it was packed out with fans,” he recalled.
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“It was just nice to know they’ve come to support me from start to finish. I just play some of my best snooker there.”
O’Sullivan is not taking his opponent lightly despite being well ahead of him in the rankings.
He said: !I’ve been watching his game and he strikes the ball really well. Good touch, good safety, good match player and great temperament.
“I just want to go and play good snooker and enjoy it. I’d rather play good snooker and lose than bad snooker and win. That’s just how I’ve always been. Winning and losing is irrelevant to me, I just like playing the game.
“I know people might think I’m crazy for thinking like that!”
O'Sullivan finishes in style against Dale with fine clearance
O'Sullivan survives sloppy start to beat Dale and progress to second round