Ronnie O'Sullivan has reflected on his opening-round victory at the 2021 World Championship and praised the fans at the Crucible for helping him through.
The 45-year-old defending champion started slowly against world number 46 Mark Joyce at the Crucible with the first session containing few moments of genuine quality as the two exchanged a litany of errors.
But O'Sullivan returned in the second session to wrap up the win with ease and produce some magic with a hat-trick of centuries. It is just the eighth time in history at the Crucible that a player has hit three centuries in a row.
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The Rocket put his resurgence in the match down to the fans at the Crucible and he believes he may not have pulled through had it not been for their support.
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"It was great to have the fans out there," he told Eurosport after the opening-round match.
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"If the fans weren't there today maybe I just would not have found anything, because you just think there is no one to play for, really.
So in a way, maybe it was the fans that forced me to kind of really find something, because it is nice to perform in front of a crowd.
"It is fantastic. I love having a crowd there. A crowd, full capacity or whatever they want... it's fine, no problem."
O'Sullivan will now face the winner of the match between Anthony McGill and Ricky Walden.
'Hat-trick of centuries!' - O'Sullivan seals victory in style
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