MX23RW : Monday, March 18 18:18:44

It feels good to talk Oz, says O'Sullivan as he moves on to 997 career centuries

It feels good to talk Oz, says O'Sullivan as he moves on to 997 career centuries
© Reuters
O'Sullivan defeated John Higgins 6-4 and will play Mark Allen in the semi-finals in Preston.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's faux Australian accent continued to steal the limelight at the Coral Players Championship in Preston.

The defending champion added to his catalogue of bizarre headlines by putting on an Australian accent for a BBC interview after defeating Barry Hawkins on Monday, saying he wanted to "talk like a winner".

He maintained the approach following a 6-4 victory over John Higgins to reach the semi-finals, telling Press Association Sport: "It feels good to talk Oz. It's all about the winning mentality and I'm still in the tournament so something's going quite well."

O'Sullivan has not yet sought the views of Neil Robertson, an authentic Australian, on his new accent but the pair could meet in the final on Sunday.

"He's a cool dude, it's probably nice for him to have a companion on the circuit being the only Oz," added O'Sullivan with tongue firmly in cheek. "He now has a friend in me that he can come and chat to."

On the table, O'Sullivan moved closer to becoming the first player to make 1,000 century breaks in competition with two more tons to take his career tally to 997. He will face Mark Allen in the last four on Saturday.

O'Sullivan's first century break of 101 came in the fifth frame after the first four had been shared.

He should have had another in the next frame only to falter on 92, but a 116 clearance then made it 5-3 before he completed the victory in the 10th frame following two costly misses by Higgins.

O'Sullivan said of his performance: "It was OK, a bit patchy, John didn't play his best but I'm just pleased to be in the next round.

"John's a great player, I enjoy playing him, we have great fun and some days you win, some days you lose. But today I won and I'm super excited to still be in this tournament."

On facing Northern Ireland's Allen next, O'Sullivan added: "Mark Allen's a great player, great competitor, had a great season, it's a tough match but I've got 24 hours to think about it and get myself in good shape."


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Ronnie O'Sullivan pictured in February 2016
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