Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 10-1 demolition of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round of the Betfred World Championship smashed the record for the fastest ever match at the Crucible.
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O’Sullivan averaged just 14 seconds a shot as he swept to victory, compiling two centuries and six more breaks over 60. The contest lasted just 108 minutes, easily beating the previous record of 149 minutes which was set last year when Shaun Murphy beat Luo Honghao 10-0.
Five-time Crucible king O’Sullivan goes through to the last 16 for a potentially epic meeting with UK Champion Ding Junhui. Any doubts as to whether O’Sullivan has the form and motivation to compete for the title in Sheffield have been answered by a magnificent display.
World number six O’Sullivan took an 8-1 lead in Sunday’s first session with top breaks of 101, 85, 115, 74, 88, 76 and 65. He took the opening frame this morning with a run of 93, and soon sealed the result in frame 11 with breaks of 41 and 48.
“Thepchaiya didn’t perform and that made it easier for me,” said 44-year-old O’Sullivan, who hasn’t reached the semi-finals at the Crucible since 2014. “For the last two weeks I have had plenty of practice on a proper match table. In the past I have done a lot of exhibitions on different tables and then when I come to a tournament it’s hard to adapt. So it has been good to replicate the right conditions on a proper table.
“Usually this tournament is very intense but it is more relaxed this year. At this stage in my career I would rather win less and play for longer than win a lot in a short space of time. So I just pick the events that I enjoy.
“Having no crowd here makes it more like a practice session, there is less tension. But it will be weird for whoever wins the final if there are no fans there. That would be a strange experience.”
Rocket’s Crucible Speed Records
Fastest 147: five minutes and eight seconds (1997 World Championship)
Fastest best-of-19 match: 108 minutes (v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, 2020)
Fastest best-of-25 match: 167 minutes (v Tony Drago, 1996)