Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

O'Sullivan has forgotten Williams feud ahead of Crucible showdown

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan insists an old feud with Mark Williams is “water under the bridge” as he prepares for a Crucible cracker against the Welshman.

O'Sullivan set up the second-round clash by stumbling over the finish line in his opener against Liang Wenbo at the Betfred.com World Championship.

He jokingly described the performance as “vintage” but at one stage the 34-year-old looked in trouble after letting a 9-3 lead dwindle to 9-7. However a break of 73 in the 17th frame saw him clinch a last-16 place.

O'Sullivan and Williams used to be foes, famously rowing during the Irish Open of 2003.

At the time O'Sullivan claimed Williams was a player who “rubs you up the wrong way”, and in response the Welshman said: “I always want to stick it up him every time we play.”

But the damage to the relationship between the former world champions has been repaired, and when they walk out for their second-round clash it will be as friends.

O'Sullivan (right) paid Williams a high compliment, too, saying the reigning China Open champion is the biggest threat to defending Crucible king John Higgins.

“We get on great,” O'Sullivan said. “I texted him to say well done in China.”

Looking back to darker days, O'Sullivan said: “I can't take the words back but I've apologised and you move on, you get older, and it's water under the bridge.”

Meanwhile, six-time champ Steve Davis was leading 9-8 in a late night thriller with Romford’s Mark King.

China's Ding Junhui is well on his way to the second round.

The 23-year-old sprinted into an 8-1 lead over Stuart Pettman, and they play to a finish today.

Neil Robertson edged 6-3 ahead of Fergal O'Brien and Mark Davis sneaked 5-4 up on Ryan Day, with the winner facing Mark Allen.

Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene takes on former champion Shaun Murphy this evening.

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