Ronnie O’Sullivan raced into the British Open quarter-finals with a quickfire victory in Brighton today – and then claimed he felt like an underdog.
The ‘Rocket’ made breaks of 90, 56, 94 and 100 as he hammered Australian Quinten Hann 5-1.
But O’Sullivan, the world number three, is well aware that his main green baize rivals are also in top form.
John Higgins made a 147 in his third round match on Wednesday, his second in as many games, and Mark Williams last month completed a grand slam of BBC television events by adding the LG Cup crown to his UK, Masters and world titles.
“I feel like I’m scrapping for my life,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m an underdog - I’m kicking around looking for results.
“John is back in form and he’s probably got the best all round game. He’s like the Rolls Royce of snooker.
“And Mark is obviously playing well at the moment, so I’m just hoping to compete. You have to put in the work if you want to beat these guys but I’ve been lazy.”
O’Sullivan won the European Open and Irish Masters titles back-to-back in March but made early exits from the Regal Scottish Open and Embassy World Championship.
In last month’s LG Cup at Preston, he was beaten 5-0 by Matthew Stevens in the last 16, a result which persuaded him to head back to the practice table.
O’Sullivan now faces Kent-based Northern Irishman Gerard Greene, who reached the third major quarter-final of his career by beating compatriot Joe Swail 5-1.
Greene, who eliminated 1997 world champion Ken Doherty 5-1, lost the opening frame but made breaks of 80 and 51 to lead 2-1, added the next two and then made a 30 clearance to steal the sixth for victory.
The victor said: “I’ve played Ronnie before and the big crowds don’t worry me.
“If I can play to the sort of form I’ve shown here, I can be the winner.”