Ronnie O’Sullivan sent Stephen Hendry tumbling out of the 12bet.com World Open but admitted he might not have the hunger to last the distance in Glasgow.
Seven-time former world champion Hendry has not won a ranking title for five years, and the wait goes on after he failed to punish O’Sullivan for some occasional careless play.
O’Sullivan is now at the quarter-final stage after his 3-1 win, but he acknowledged: “Stephen of old would have trounced me today.
“I’m just hacking it around a bit.”
O’Sullivan fired in a break of 93 to take the opening frame, and Hendry replied with 95 in the next.
But they traded misses in the next frame, which O’Sullivan edged, and then Hendry presented his opponent with a perfect chance to take control of the fourth by running into the blue from his break-off shot.
O’Sullivan’s last title came over a year ago, but after making a maximum break in his first match against Mark King this week, then knocking out Jimmy White and now Hendry, the 34-year-old suggested it could be difficult to stay focused.
“You make a 147, play Jimmy White, play Stephen Hendry – it’s over isn’t it?” O’Sullivan said.
“I’m going to try to win it, but I’ve played two of the greatest players to have ever played the game – Hendry arguably the greatest player to have picked up a cue and Jimmy the greatest entertainer and one of the greatest players.
“They were easy to get up for, those matches.
“But against other players I might struggle a bit.
“I’ve got to play better than that anyway to win it.”
Tonight’s draw handed him a last-eight clash with Hendry’s fellow Scot Stephen Maguire, and that could be sufficient of a challenge to keep him interested.
Glasgow cueman Maguire is certain to have strong support in tomorrow evening’s tussle, which he reached by crushing his fellow Scot Alan McManus 3-0.
It was just the match Maguire fancied, having said after his match: “I hope I draw Ronnie or Mark Williams next because if I’m going to win it I will have to beat one of them at some stage.”
The quarter-finals at the SECC venue will begin with an attractive clash between Williams and Ding Junhui, who both won yesterday.