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Ronnie O’Sullivan makes two 147 breaks, but how do you beat snooker’s greatest player? Dominic Dale reveals key secret

Ronnie O’Sullivan was thrilling snooker fans over the weekend by compiling two maximum 147 breaks during sell-out exhibition bouts in Mansfield and Walsall.

While young UK champion Zhao Xintong was capturing the German Masters with a staggering 9-0 whitewash of Yan Bingtao in Berlin, O’Sullivan was preparing for next week’s £385,000 Players Championship by running in two 147 breaks, the second of which saw

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The six-times world champion faces Judd Trump in the first round of the season’s tenth ranking event next Wednesday (9 February) in Wolverhampton and looks to be in fine fettle judging by his ball striking before a bewitched audience.

O’Sullivan returned to competitive action at the Championship League on Tuesday and Wednesday with matches against Kyren Wilson, John Higgins, Ricky Walden, Ali Carter, Martin Gould and Ding Junhui in Group 7 of the invitational event in Leicester.

Double ranking event winner and Eurosport pundit Dominic Dale turned professional alongside O’Sullivan in 1992.

The Welsh world number 58 has won only one match in 13 meetings with the record 38-times ranking event winner, but believes the key to beating him is being true to the old adage of playing the balls rather than the man.

After nine straight defeats, Dale finally enjoyed a victory against the world number two with a 5-3 success in the first round of the 2019 World Open in Yushan.

#OnThisDay: Ronnie O’Sullivan’s record 147 from 1997

“I remember going to that competition in China thinking that Ronnie doesn’t really like travelling on long flights,” said Dale. “I thought I definitely have a chance of beating him here, so I practised well and prepared well for that match.

“But I knew the problem I always had with Ronnie O’Sullivan was I playing the player and not getting on with my own game. That was the reason I was getting some heavy beatings from Ronnie.

He is the only player I’ve found a little intimidating because he is not like a John Higgins-type who will strangle you slowly. Ronnie can just knock you flat in no time and that is always intimidating.

“When you are playing the top players, you must take the game to them. You must be attacking because when you show them too much respect, they’ll pick up on that and wipe the floor against you.

“I did go for my shots against Ronnie, I didn’t think about the previous losses and I was able to focus on that match.”

Wilson followed that advice against O’Sullivan at the Championship League on Tuesday morning as breaks of 60 and 118 helped him complete a 3-0 win in their group opener.

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Watch every moment of Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on discovery+.

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