Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘not at his best’ despite dominating Jackson Page

Ronnie O’Sullivan built a big lead in second gear (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan may have strolled into an 8-1 lead over Jackson Page in his World Snooker Championship opener, but former champion Ken Doherty felt he was not at his best.

The Rocket knocked in breaks of 54, 56, 81, 122, 66 and 53 on his way to the huge lead over the Welshman.

The 22-year-old did get to show off his talents in the one frame he did win, knocking in a mammoth break of 142.

But Page’s chances of a huge upset appear to be long gone, with the pair returning on Thursday lunchtime and O’Sullivan needing just two frames for victory.

Such are the standards of the world number one that he can get himself seven frames clear, without really hitting top form.

‘I wouldn’t say it was his best performance, but he did what he had to do,’ 1997 world champ Doherty said on the BBC. ‘Accelerated through the gears when he had to.

‘It wasn’t his fluent best because we’re used to seeing exceptional performances. But what he did do was, any time he had the chance, was put his opponent under pressure, didn’t give him a sniff.’

Page struggled to show his best stuff against O’Sullivan (Picture: Getty Images)

Stephen Hendry on commentary said: ‘It’s obvious, there’s been an absolute gulf in class at the table this afternoon. Job well done from the favourite, Ronnie O’Sullivan.’

Six-time world champion Steve Davis was actually very impressed with O’Sullivan in ‘workmanlike’ mode, as he took few risks and played efficiently, rather than at his free-flowing, eye-catching best.

‘Fast forward to two weeks from now and all of a sudden Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the World Championship, losing the least amount of frames that anybody’s ever lost because he’s so workmanlike,’ said Davis. ‘That’s something that could happen.

‘When he does decide to really harden down he’s exceptional.’

O’Sullivan and Page return at 1pm on Thursday with the winner taking on either Barry Hawkins or Ryan Day.


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