(Reuters) – Five-times champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was in imperious form at the World Snooker Championship when he beat first round opponent Thepchaiya Un-Nooh of Thailand 10-1 in 108 minutes to set the record for the fastest match in Crucible history on Monday.
O’Sullivan, who led 8-1 at the close of play on Sunday, stayed true to his nickname ‘The Rocket’ when he won the two frames needed in less than 30 minutes to become the first man to win a match in under two hours.
The record was previously held by England’s Shaun Murphy who blanked China’s Luo Honghao 10-0 in the first round last year in 149 minutes but O’Sullivan smashed the record by 41 minutes, after which he brushed aside his achievement.
“I’m not really bothered by records, I stopped bothering about records when I reached them and they didn’t really give you that buzz for very long,” O’Sullivan, 44, said after the match where he had two century breaks.
“They’re nice when you’re chasing them but once you get them they’re overrated in many ways. So I think you just take each game as it comes and it’s just nice to be out there playing some snooker.”
The Englishman will play Ding Junhui of China in the second round.
O’Sullivan courted controversy before the tournament when he said players were being treated like “lab rats” at the World Championship as he questioned a decision to allow spectators into the Crucible Theatre amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, when coronavirus infections started to spike in the country, the British government made a U-turn on its decision to allow fans to attend selected trial events, designed to ‘stress test’ new guidelines on a return to regular live sport.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)