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'I don’t care' – Ronnie O’Sullivan not overly concerned about winning UK Championship
The star insisted he had no interest in his performance and shrugged off the prospect of claiming the crown on his 46th birthday on Sunday.

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN may be closing in on more snooker history in York but the 45-year-old continues to give the distinct impression he would rather be anywhere else than on the cusp of a record eighth UK snooker title.

After reeling off the last four frames to sink Noppon Saengkham 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals, O’Sullivan insisted he had no interest in his performance, and shrugged off the prospect of claiming the crown on his 46th birthday on Sunday.

O’Sullivan insisted: “I don’t care – if I win it, great, and if I don’t it will have no impact on my life and what I do. If anything I’d rather be sitting with Jimmy (White), having a laugh.

“I really don’t celebrate birthdays to be honest. I don’t get excited by that either. I get excited by my work and some little projects I’m working on.”

Even a break of 120 to wrap up a tight contest in which he had looked out-of-sorts in the early stages failed to kindle any evident enthusiasm in O’Sullivan, who will face Kyren Wilson in the last eight on Friday.

“I’m just happy to be through and still in the tournament,” added O’Sullivan. “It is what it is out there. I really haven’t got a clue how it all works.

“I don’t care, I really have no interest. I’m going to have a couple of Guinnesses tonight and a bit of mulled wine and some nice food.”

O’Sullivan fell behind three times in the early stages and looked set for a battle with Saengkham who sunk an outrageous long red before a 57 clearance wiped out a significant O’Sullivan advantage and nudged him into a 3-2 lead.

But the Thai missed a series of good chances to extend his lead to 4-2 and O’Sullivan took full advantage, reeling off the next four frames, which also included a break of 74, to book his place in the last eight.

A slew of big-name departures have left O’Sullivan as the overwhelming favourite to extend his own record to eight titles, but he typically dismissed the expectations ahead of a potential last eight clash with Wilson.

“I don’t feel like I have a rival,” added O’Sullivan. “I feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines watching everything that’s going on, and I’ve got a great front row seat.”

Wilson set up a repeat of last year’s world final as he overcame Ben Woollaston 6-3.

Wilson seized upon a series of mistakes by his lower-ranked opponent to race into a 4-0 lead but his hopes of an early night were dashed as he failed to take a number of chances of his own to wrap the match up.

Woollaston clawed back the next two frames and had his chances to reduce the deficit to a single frame before the Kettering 29-year-old rallied to nudge his way over the line.

Relishing his clash with O’Sullivan, Wilson said: “I always enjoy playing Ronnie because when he does eventually retire we are going to look back and ask what we achieved against him.

“For me it’s about getting that win on my CV. Everyone is saying it’s Ronnie’s tournament to lose, so I feel like I’m going out there with no pressure.”

China’s Zhao Xintong withstood a comeback from veteran Peter Lines to book his place in the last eight with a 6-4 win.

The 51-year-old Lines won three frames in a row to level from 4-1, but breaks of 92 and 67 from the Chinese player made sure of victory.

Press Association
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