Ronnie O’Sullivan has once again questioned his snooker future after squeezing into the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in Leicester with a 4-3 win over Zhou Yuelong.
Just four days after his controversial eighth Masters triumph over Ali Carter, O’Sullivan said he was getting “no enjoyment” from continuing to move through tournaments with comparative ease.
O’Sullivan told ITV4: “I’ve got to really consider whether I can carry on feeling how I’m feeling out there – I just don’t get any enjoyment from the way I’m hitting the ball.
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“I feel like it’s just hard work, I haven’t a clue where the balls are going, and a lot of it’s just guess-work.
“The worst thing is you’re winning bloody tournaments as well. If I was getting pumped every round playing like that it would be an easy decision to make.”
O’Sullivan had eased into a two-frame lead with breaks of 67 and 107 and looked set to extend that advantage before he missed a red to the top pocket to run aground on a break of 50 in the next.
Yet to beat O’Sullivan in their five previous encounters, Zhou responded in style with a 76 to narrow the deficit, then a nerveless 102 to level the match and confirm the change in momentum.
I’ve got to really consider whether I can carry on feeling how I’m feeling out there – I just don’t get any enjoyment from the way I’m hitting the ball.
Zhou, who had recovered from a three-frame deficit to push O’Sullivan to a final frame decider in their most recent meeting at the UK Championship in December, responded to falling behind again with breaks of 65 and 66 to force the decider.
The Chinese player got in first and potted a red and black, but missed his chance to the middle and O’Sullivan swept up with aplomb with a nerveless 90 to seal another seemingly unsatisfactory win.
“It’s been happening like this for 25 or 30 years, so it’s nothing new,” O’Sullivan added.
“It’s the only thing I’ve known and it’s hard not to do this because it’s my job, it’s all I know, so I’ve struggled through it.
“But I can’t accept bad cueing, I’d rather cue well and lose than cue awful and win tournaments. I get no satisfaction out of it, I really don’t.”
O’Sullivan will face Gary Wilson in the last eight after the reigning Northern Ireland Open champion saw off Tom Ford 4-2.
Defending champion Mark Allen was beaten 4-2 by China’s in-form Zhang Anda.
Zhang stormed into a 3-0 lead before Allen belatedly clicked into gear on the back of a break of 137, but the Antrim man left himself too much to do to stay in the tournament.
Judd Trump will face China’s Cao Yupeng in the semi-finals after the pair enjoyed contrasting victories over Mark Selby and Mark Williams respectively.
Trump cruised to a 5-1 win over home favourite Selby, while Cao fought back from 3-0 and 4-2 down to beat Williams 5-4, the 33-year-old sealing victory with a break of 74.