Guernsey Press

I’ve driven myself mad – Ronnie O’Sullivan says he has changed his thinking

The pair had been involved in a war of words following the Masters final in January.

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Ronnie O’Sullivan says he has driven himself “mad” for two years and has gone back to basics after thrashing Ali Carter 10-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Tour Championship.

O’Sullivan and Carter had a Manchester reunion in what had been termed a grudge match following their ill-tempered meeting at the Masters final in January, which ‘The Rocket’ won 10-7 to claim an eighth title.

Carter accused O’Sullivan of “snotting all over the floor” and O’Sullivan responded by saying his opponent was “not a nice person” during an expletive-laden rant.

O’Sullivan refused to speak about Carter in his pre-game interview, letting his snooker do the talking in a one-sided contest.

But O’Sullivan opened up after booking his place in Friday’s semi-final, saying his unhappiness had prompted conversations with renowned psychiatrist Steve Peters.

“I’ve just decided I’m going to change my thinking and forget about trying to fathom my game out,” world number one O’Sullivan told ITV4.

“If I change my thinking I can accept whatever is thrown at me and take whatever.

“It’s been a hard year, drove myself pretty much insane really. It’s just got to me.

“I had to go back to basics and get my head right. Deal with it because doing it the other way round isn’t working.

“I’ve got to accept that’s life. You can’t be perfect all the time and trying to be perfect all the time is not ideal.

“Just getting my head around it is the only option I’ve have left. I’ve driven myself mad for the last two years and not enjoyed any of it.”

Carter never settled after missing an easy red in the opening frame which O’Sullivan punished by making a 77 break.

A scrappy 28-minute frame followed and O’Sullivan went to the interval 4-0 up after compiling breaks of 87 and 54.

Carter’s best in the first session was a meagre 13 and his senses seemed scrambled when attempting to swerve around the yellow to strike one of two reds left on the table.

O’Sullivan capitalised with a frame-winning 51 and extended his advantage to 7-0 with breaks of 81 and 92 – those efforts taking all of a combined 14 minutes.

Carter headed into the final frame of the afternoon session with the prospect of being whitewashed.

But he responded in superb fashion with a 141 clearance to eclipse Tom Ford’s 138 as the highest break of the tournament, placing him in prime position for a £10,000 bonus.

Carter closed out O’Sullivan again at the start of the evening session with breaks of 36 and 70 reducing the deficit to 7-2.

Ali Carter had no answer for O'Sullivan
Ali Carter had no answer for O’Sullivan (Bradley Collyer/PA)

O’Sullivan then cashed in with a decisive 52 break after another Carter error had opened up the table.

Carter was put of his misery in the 12th frame as O’Sullivan compiled 67 before going in-off in the middle pocket, a rare mistake in a snooker masterclass.

Zhang Anda and Gary Wilson will resume their quarter-final on Thursday level at 4-4, with the winner meeting O’Sullivan in the last four.

Wilson won two frames on the black to lead 3-1 before Zhang fought back strongly in an even contest.

Ding Junhui earned a 5-3 overnight lead against Mark Allen after winning a tight final frame.

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