He said: "If I'm playing well, I can say I have won a tournament even before it started," he said. "That's how confident I feel. When I am flowing, it's a beautiful game. It's something you can't explain. Only a sportsman knows what its like when their game comes together. It's so easy and the best feeling in the world."
As if wary of sounding a touch too confident, the former champion, who completed a 9-2 victory over Scotland's Chris Small in Preston, added: "If I hit form I can win it again. But I cannot really look forward any further than my next match. There are no easy games and I've got a tough quarter-final coming up."
O'Sullivan began with a 7-1 overnight lead and although Small won the first frame of the day, O'Sullivan took only another 27 minutes to complete the job, aided by breaks of 42 and 38.
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