Ronnie shrugs off World Championship exit

Ronnie O'Sullivan shrugged off a shock Crucible defeat as his exit from the Betfred World Championship threw the title race open.

Ronnie O'Sullivan shrugged off a shock Crucible defeat as his exit from the Betfred World Championship threw the title race open.

Judd Trump would have expected to tackle O'Sullivan in a three-day semi-final, but instead it will be Stuart Bingham he confronts in the first of four sessions this evening.

Bingham strung together five successive frames from 9-8 behind to knock out the five-time champion 13-9 at the Crucible.

Asked how he would react, O'Sullivan said: "Hopefully I'll be gutted and hurt."

The new convert to boxing added: "I'll go for a run in the morning and sparring in the afternoon. Life has to go on and will go on."

Bingham believes a career-long status of being unfancied against high-profile opponents can take him a long way, with 25-year-old Trump the new title favourite.

Bingham said of his semi-final opponent: "He looks like he's flying out of his boots but I'm still in it and I've got a chance.

"I've been an underdog all my life. I'll just do my own thing.

"Judd is a very confident person, a good lad. He's got to a final before and feels like he can beat anyone.

"We all do in this situation."

Defeat means that for the first time in four years O'Sullivan will not feature in a Crucible final.

O'Sullivan said: "I've had 20 years at the top, eventually there has to be a changing of the guard."

Bingham was in an emotional state after reaching his first World Championship semi-final.

Competing in a one-table Crucible environment will be a new experience for the 38-year-old from Basildon, who said: "I went back into my room and had a little tear and phoned the missus up and I couldn't speak.

"She said she wished she was here to give me a little cuddle."

Trump has been struggling with feverish symptoms but was still a ruthless 13-4 winner over Ding Junhui. Illness will not be a factor come semi-final time, he pledged.

The first semi-final to get under way at 1pm will see Shaun Murphy, a 13-8 winner against qualifier Anthony McGill, tackle Crucible specialist Barry Hawkins, who prevailed 13-12 over Australian Neil Robertson.

The eight centuries in the match between Robertson and Hawkins matched a Crucible record.

Meanwhile, World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has revealed snooker stars will play for a £1m bonus bounty in a new Home Series and promised Crucible champions will be made richer than ever.

Hearn announced the Welsh Open, already on the calendar, will be joined by a Scottish Open, Irish Open and English Open from the 2016/17 campaign, to make up the series.

Any player who lands all four titles in the same season will cash in with the million-pound cheque, Hearn said.

He also stated that prize money for the World Championship winner will shoot up from its current £300,000 to £500,000 for the 2018 tournament.

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