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  Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 23:55 GMT
White downs the Rocket
Jimmy White was too good for his friend Ronnie O'Sullivan
Jimmy White now faces his old nemesis Stephen Hendry
Jimmy White 6-2 Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan crashed out of the Benson and Hedges Masters on Tuesday to a rejuvenated Jimmy White.

A despondent O'Sullivan, who won three titles before Christmas, said: "I don't know whether I have the bottle to play this game anymore."

Over 2,500 fans crammed into the Wembley Conference Centre to witness this clash of the titans - the venue's biggest crowd since 1983 for a match other than the final.

"It was a blinding atmosphere and one of the best occasions I have ever played in," said O'Sullivan.


I would love to get the buzz back but I'm just fed up fighting to get it
Ronnie O'Sullivan
"But I was so terrible I could not enjoy it. I'm not taking anything away from Jimmy but I couldn't put him under any pressure because I was useless.

"Maybe I haven't got the bottle to play this game anymore. And when your bottle goes there's not a lot you can do about it apart from hoping people play badly against you.

"Things can only get better but to be honest I'm not too bothered whether they do or they don't.

"I'm just going through the motions. I would love to get the buzz back but I'm just fed up fighting to get it."

O'Sullivan, who has been treated for depression over the last 18 months, started off in fine style against his close friend.

A break of 101 gave him the first frame but by the time he won his second game White was only one away from a quarter-final head-to-head with Stephen Hendry.


Nothing will put (next opponent Steve) Hendry off - he loves it
Jimmy White
Londoner White, whose only Masters win came in 1984, came through a brief wobble in the seventh frame to reel off a 117 break to round off proceedings.

It is the second straight match White has knocked in a century in the final frame following his 136 against Joe Swail last Sunday.

"I knew Ronnie could win three games in 20 minutes so I was prepared for it," said White, again justifying his wild card selection into the event.

"At 5-2, I missed a few balls but when I got my chance I dished up well. The atmosphere was electric but I'm just pleased I was on form.

"If you're not playing well it's the worst thing in the world to have the crowd on your side. But nothing will put (next opponent Stephen) Hendry off. He loves it."

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Jimmy White
"I wouldn't play if I didn't think I could win every tournament I play in"
Ronnie O'Sullivan
"It was quite embarassing really"
Benson & Hedges Masters
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