ALAN McManus hopes his Crucible run will give him a new lease of life heading into next season – but he was still left cursing an “unforgivable” display against Mark Selby.
McManus had fought his way to his first World Snooker Championship quarter-final in nine years after gritty wins over former champions John Higgins and Ken Doherty.
But he failed to replicate his best form against Selby in Sheffield, stifling the world No 3 in the first session before capitulating to a 13-5 defeat after the final two.
For his efforts the 43-year-old has seen his world No 35 ranking bumped up to a provisional 29 ahead of next season, but McManus admits the manner of his exit leaves a particularly sour taste.
“I won a few matches this season and I’ve pushed up the rankings a little bit, so that’ll give me a chance to maybe play for another couple of years,” he said.
“There are a couple of positives you’ve always got to look back on and I will do that in the next couple of days, but it’s always very raw when you lose here.
“It is difficult – there is no getting away from it – you go to bed [after the second session] and you kind of know you’re 99.9 per cent going home.
“That’s difficult but I still tried and that’s all you can do. I’m just very disappointed to go out so tamely.
“I was just very poor, not quite from the outset but certainly in the second session. I had plenty of chances and just didn’t take them.
“That’s the disappointing thing. When you compete against one of the top players, you’ve got to score so you’re not going to get the job done doing that. It’s unforgivable, really.”
McManus’s gruelling journey to the Crucible started with three qualifying rounds, his first coming back on 10 April against world No 74 Paul Davison.
He went on to beat two-time world champion Mark Williams in the final qualifier but, despite his second wind, the former Masters champion believes it is unlikely he will ever add to his two ranking titles.
“I’ll have a couple of days off, which is nice because it’s been pretty hectic. I think I’ve been here 18 days all-in with qualifying and that’s pretty taxing on you,” he added.
“[Winning a tournament] would be very difficult to have that kind of breakthrough. But you can never say never of course. You keep trying and I’ll continue to work on my game.”
Meanwhile, despite not hitting peak form, defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has cruised to another semi-final at the Crucible – routing his latest victim, Shaun Murphy, 13-3 yesterday.
Next up, today, is Barry Hawkins, the man he beat 18-12 in last year’s final for the fifth World Championship success of his career.
And, according to the Rocket, the world No 4 is as stern a test as former champions and Stephen Hendry were in their pomp.
He said: “Even before the tournament started I thought Barry was definitely one of the danger men in this event – especially the way he played against me in last year’s final.”
In the battle for the last remaining semi-final spot, England’s Judd Trump was leading Neil Robertson, of Australia, 11-10 as the match moved towards a thrilling climax late last night.
Trump led 9-6 going into the final session, and the two players shared the first four frames of that before Robertson won two in a row.
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