O'Sullivan in the clear

For a snooker player, the most important distance is the few inches between his ears and for Ronnie O'Sullivan, who beat Stephen Hendry 5-2, in their semi-final of the Champions' Cup at Brighton, clarity of mind is all.

For a snooker player, the most important distance is the few inches between his ears and for Ronnie O'Sullivan, who beat Stephen Hendry 5-2, in their semi-final of the Champions' Cup at Brighton, clarity of mind is all.

For nearly two years, O'Sull-ivan has received treatment for depression. This summer he spent five weeks in the Priory Clinic in Roehampton, taking some time out to reflect on a few things. "I'm just trying to get myself right mentally and get to handle some of the situations that come through being a professional sportsman."

In times of mental turmoil, he has been inconsistent and this, in turn, fuelled his anxiety about being able to fulfil his immense talent in terms of world and other major titles.

This week, though, his mental focus has been pinsharp not only in his break-building but in disciplined and shrewd shot selection. Such a combination accounted for Hendry after the seven-time world champion's 507th tournament century had levelled the match at 2-2.

The pivotal moment arrived with O'Sullivan leading 3-2 when Hendry, set for a winning clearance, tripped up on a simple green. Instead of 3-3, O'Sullivan's green to pink clearance made it 4-2 and with breaks of 46 and 30 he comfortably crossed the line in the seventh. "I missed a couple of balls but I thought Ronnie played very well," said Hendry.

In today's best-of-13-frames final, O'Sullivan will play Mark Williams, the World Champion and world number one, for the £100,000 first prize. "For me, Mark, Stephen and John Higgins are the top three, and I'm the slight underdog against them. They've got the consistency but it's on the day, whoever hits top form. The main thing for me is that life's more enjoyable. I'm enjoying breathing. Every day's a bonus."

Comments