Beaten O'Sullivan compares Chinese teen to Scottish great Hendry

AFP
O'Sullivan, who triumphed at the English Open just over a week ago, failed to pot a ball in the last four frames as he was hammered 1-6 by the 17-year-old Yan in Daqing.
AFP
Imaginechina

England's Ronnie O'Sullivan

British legend Ronnie O'Sullivan predicted a stellar future for teenager Yan Bingtao after he was stunned by the Chinese prodigy in the first round of the International Championship.

O'Sullivan, who triumphed at the English Open just over a week ago, failed to pot a ball in the last four frames as he was hammered 1-6 by the 17-year-old in Daqing, northeast China.

"Yan played fantastically well, maybe only Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have played that well against me before," the 41-year-old O'Sullivan told worldsnooker.com, referring to the Scottish greats who have 11 world titles between them.

"I played well in Barnsley and I feel comfortable with my game, I just got outplayed today.

"I didn't do that much wrong apart from missing a couple of balls."

It was the most significant victory of the 53-ranked Yan's fledgling career, and five-time world champion O'Sullivan added: "If Yan plays like that he'll be very difficult to beat in this tournament, if he can play like that consistently he'll win a lot of tournaments.

"He has an all-round game, a good temperament and he carries himself well. He has presence around the table and to be a champion you need to portray that image.

"All the great players won tournaments when they were 17 or 18 so if he's going to be a great player then he'll win one soon."

O'Sullivan was allowed to wear trainers -– as he was at the English Open in Barnsley -– because of an ankle injury, but added: "My foot is ok, I feel comfortable in these trainers, so I've no excuses."

Meanwhile, the 2015 world snooker champion Stuart Bingham has apologized for breaching betting rules but added that players were over-exposed to betting companies.

The 41-year-old Englishman — who received a six-month ban last week with three of those suspended — said players, especially young ones, needed protecting from bookies.

"I have been exposed to all forms of gambling since I was a teenager," he said in a statement on Monday.

"Most tournaments are sponsored by betting companies. If I was not having wagers with opponents on matches then there were gaming machines in all the clubs," added Bingham, who was also fined 20,000 pounds (US$26,300) for placing bets totaling 36,000 pounds.

Bingham, who will be banned for three of the most lucrative tournaments, including the Masters, said he was "truly sorry" and "did not attach sufficient importance to the rules".  

However, Bingham — who along with Irish cueman Ken Doherty are the only players to have been crowned world champion at both amateur and professional level — denied one of the findings that he had placed bets on matches he played in.

"In the absence of any direct evidence, the committee arbitrarily concluded that I was responsible for 50 percent of the betting on that account (including the bets on my matches)," said Bingham.

"I categorically deny that this was the case. I have never bet on a match in which I was playing."

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