O’Sullivan stunned by Bingham in World Snooker Championship

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O’Sullivan stunned by Bingham in World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a surprise exit in the World Snooker Championship quarter-finals as he was beaten 13-10 by Stuart Bingham.

The pair began the final session of their last-eight clash on Wednesday evening locked at 8-8 and the close-fought nature of the contest continued across the first four frames.

But after the mid-session interval, 2015 world champion Bingham reeled off three consecutive frames to send O’Sullivan crashing out and set up a semi-final with qualifier Jak Jones, who had caused a major upset earlier in the day by defeating world No 2 Judd Trump.

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“For me, it’s been a great tournament now I’ve started getting through the ball, which is the most important thing,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport after his defeat. “Tournaments, victories, losses – irrelevant really.

“You just want to be enjoying the game, so for me there has been a lot of progress. I lost a snooker match tonight, Stuart deserved the victory because he played really well.

“I tried to fight, I hung in there for as long as I could, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Coupled with David Gilbert’s 13-8 win over Stephen Maguire, it means three qualifiers have reached the semi-finals for the first time since the first year the tournament was staged at the Crucible in 1977.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 - Day Twelve - The Crucible  Stuart Bingham celebrates victory against Ronnie O'Sullivan (not pictured) in the quarter-finals match on day twelve of the 2024 Cazoo World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Picture date: Wednesday May 1, 2024.

Image: Bingham celebrates victory against O’Sullivan

Kyren Wilson, who faces Gilbert in the other semi-final, is the one seeded player left standing after he saw off four-time world champion John Higgins 13-8.

Bingham is through to the semi-finals at the tournament for the third time in his career and was revelling in the moment after his victory over O’Sullivan.

“It’s unbelievable,” Bingham told Eurosport. “I enjoyed every second of it, even when I was 8-6 down…and something clicked.

“I felt calm out there, I was loving every second of it. I’m going toe-to-toe with the best player ever and looking around, this is brilliant.”

O’Sullivan: Some referees have it in for me

O’Sullivan claimed some referees “have it in for me” after a bizarre incident midway through the second session of his World Snooker Championship quarter-final against Bingham.

O’Sullivan was initially praised for an act of sportsmanship after seeming to play safe rather than opting to pot a red close to the black because he believed the black had not been spotted correctly.

The seven-time world champion repeatedly asked referee Desislava Bozhilova to replace the ball because he believed it was rolling fractionally off its spot, incorrectly giving him an opportunity to pot it.

World No 1 O’Sullivan, who was 14 points behind at the point and on a break of 20, eventually lost the frame but was hailed for his gesture, with former world champion Neil Robertson, commentating on the BBC, calling it “the greatest bit of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen”.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 - Day Twelve - The Crucible  Ronnie O'Sullivan and Referee Desislava Bozhilova during his match with Stuart Bingham on day twelve of the 2024 Cazoo World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Picture date: Wednesday May 1, 2024.

Image: O’Sullivan was involved in an incident with referee Desislava Bozhilova during his match with Bingham

However, O’Sullivan provided a different take on the incident, telling Eurosport: “To be honest with you, some of the refs, I think they’ve got it in for me, so I just wanted to prove to her that she got it wrong.

“I didn’t feel good about potting the ball after that, but I just wanted to make the point. The point was made. I’m not that hungry to win it in that way, so once the principle’s been made I can sleep at night.”

Bozhilova, 31, has refereed on the professional tour for 12 years, and officiated in the respective Masters and UK Championship finals in 2022.

The WST refuted O’Sullivan’s allegations and insisted Bozhilova acted correctly throughout the incident.

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