Ronnie O'Sullivan was ‘embarrassed’ by world No.66 Alexander Ursenbacher as the Swiss ‘boxer’ left him flat on the canvas at the UK Championship, writes Will Jennings.
O’Sullivan, chasing an eighth tournament title in Milton Keynes, was stunned as he slumped to a 6-5 second round defeat against the 24-year-old.
The Rocket trailed the attacking Ursenbacher for large parts of the match and admits winning five frames ‘flattered’ him in the shock of the tournament so far.
The 44-year-old said: “He played well and deserved his victory – it would have been a robbery if I’d won that match to be honest.
“It was probably better that he won it because I think he’d have been really devastated. I had no right to win that game and I missed far too many balls, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“I thought I did well to get five frames off him and the scoreline flattered me. It should have been 6-1 or 6-2 – he started missing and I think I dragged him down to my level.
“I wasn’t that frustrated and I'm not going to make any excuses – I just wanted to pot some balls. I couldn’t pot any balls and I just really felt embarrassed. I couldn’t pot anything together and felt like every time I was at the table I wasn’t going to pot balls together.
“He swings – if he was a boxer you’d have had to be ducking all the time because if one of them hits you it’s like bombs. He can play.
“I thought he was quite conservative today – normally he goes for even more but today I was the aggressor and he was trying to keep it tight.
“There was no way I should have got five frames – he was the better player and I’m happy to get five to be honest. My performance wasn’t good enough to beat someone playing that well.”
Ursenbacher, who qualified for the World Championship at the Crucible for the first time in the summer, came out of the blocks rapidly and held a surprise 3-1 lead at the interval.
A seventh frame break of 51 helped the Rocket restore parity at 4-4 but Ursenbacher, who had never previously reached the second round of the UK Championship, showed his bottle to edge over the line.
Next up for O’Sullivan is a tilt at the Scottish Open at the same Milton Keynes venue, a tournament he has not won since 2000 when he beat Mark Williams in the final.
The hectic nature of the season provides no time for reflection and O’Sullivan will be back on the baize next Tuesday for a date with world No.94 Allan Taylor.
“I look forward to next week,” he added.
“You haven’t got enough time to be disappointed. I’ll be back here playing in the Scottish Open.”