Snooker: Finbow has anxiety attack

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in York a day earlier than expected, after his opponent Dave Finbow withdrew due to an anxiety attack.

The world champion won all eight frames of their first session to leave himself just one away from victory, spending less than two hours in the arena as his opponent scored a total of only 90 points.

Finbow, the world No 47 from Worcester, had already announced his intention to retire at the end of the season because of his health problems. He beat David Gray and Dave Harold to book his meeting with O'Sullivan, but in front of the television cameras endured a traumatic time and last night announced he would not be returning to finish the match.

"I didn't feel too bad before I went out, but towards the end of the first frame I realised something wasn't quite right," said Finbow. "It's hard to describe what happened. As the match went on I felt dizzy and nauseous – it felt like I didn't have a cue in my hand and I couldn't see the pockets or the angles.

O'Sullivan, no stranger himself to psychological troubles, sympathised with Finbow's plight. "What Dave's going through can be really bad," said the 25-year-old. "I don't get it while I'm playing, but I have done away from the table and I know how horrible it is. It can be a complete nightmare."

The eighth seed Stephen Lee had ended the challenge of Finland's Robin Hull with a 9-4 win, matching the highest televised break of 136 and then beating it. The 27-year-old from Trowbridge put himself in pole position for the £10,000 top break prize by rattling in a 137 to round off his success.

Earlier Stephen Hendry and Matthew Stevens had become the first two quarter-finalists.

Hendry progressed in emphatic fashion with a 9-2 win over Mark Davis. But Stevens was pushed all the way by Jimmy White, who fought back from 5-1 down to trail 8-7 before the Welshman gained the frame he needed. Stevens, the sixth seed, had beaten Steve Davis in the previous round and his success means he has ousted two of the game's legends.