DISCIPLINE and patience have rarely been strong points for Ronnie O'Sullivan, but he displayed both en route to a 5-2 victory over Matthew Stevens at Brighton yesterday that guaranteed an appearance in the semi-finals of the Champions Cup.
Eleven months ago, when defending the Regal Masters title, O'Sullivan lost the plot against Stevens in the quarter-finals. Frustrated and dissatisfied with his form, he was beaten 6-4 after leading 4-2.
O'Sullivan was once again entitled to become irritated when Stevens built a 2 1 lead but, on this occasion, he knuckled down.
From 2-2, O'Sullivan required only 31 minutes to cross the winning line. He compiled breaks of 70 to breeze through the fifth frame and the seventh, and stole the sixth on the black after Stevens, close to drawing level, wobbled the green in the jaws of a balk pocket.
O'Sullivan will now play the runner-up in group A, in other words the loser of the match today between Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry.
Copyright (C) The Times, 2000