O'Sullivan admits he strives for perfection

RONNIE O'Sullivan reached the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open yesterday but continued to insist that playing well - rather than just winning - is most important to him.

"Maybe I'm a perfectionist compared to most people, but I need to reach the heights. There's no point playing if I don't," said O'Sullivan, after cruising past Leicester's Mark Selby 5-1.

O'Sullivan has embarked on a two-year plan to revamp his game and revealed that the motivation behind his decision was a series of sessions in which he has felt "totally lost".

One of those melt-downs came in the semi-finals of last year's 888.com World Championship when, in the third session, he lost all eight frames to Graeme Dott and was eventually beaten 17-11.

"It was horrible to feel like that in the heat of battle. I couldn't make 20 - and it hurt," admitted O'Sullivan.

"The thought that I'm capable of playing so badly makes me feel like going on anti-depressants. It was embarrassing at the end - and it was the same in Malta a couple of weeks ago."

O'Sullivan, who lost 5-3 to Michael Holt in his opening match at the Malta Cup, has decided to try to eliminate such horror performances by seeking the advice of Frank Adamson - a coach from Bristol who has worked with several top players.

"There's a lot of work ahead," said O'Sullivan.

The twice world champion added: "Results, money and trophies are important - but they aren't the reason I want to play well. When you do start to flow and hit the ball well it's a tremendous feeling and what it's all about."

O'Sullivan did not give the impression of being a player in crisis against Selby.

By potting a difficult, long pink and following up by sinking the black left-handed, he stole the first frame; he then made a 70 break in the second and led 3-1 at the mid-session interval.

O'Sullivan, going for his third Welsh Open title in four years, needed only 20 minutes after the re-start to rattle through the next two frames with breaks of 100 and 80.

He now meets either Australia's Neil Robertson or Scotland's Stephen Hendry.

In December, O'Sullivan walked out of the Barbican Centre in York when trailing Hendry 4-1 in a best-of-17-frame UK Championship quarter-final. He could yet face disciplinary action from the sport's governing body, the WPBSA, as a result.