Ronnie O’Sullivan celebrated victory over Barry Hawkins in the Coral Players Championship in Preston by attempting to talk in a Australian accent in his post-match interviews.
World No.3 O’Sullivan withstood Hawkins’ fightback to seal a 6-4 first-round win at the Guild Hall and set up a last-eight clash against either Mark Selby or John Higgins.
“I dip in with a bit of Cockney, a bit of Australian and a bit of Scouse, you know what I mean mate?,” said O’Sullivan.
“It’s all good. I should have been an impersonator.”
When asked if there was any particular reason why he was trying to talk like an Australian, the five-time world champion, from Essex, said: “No mate, I just feel totally positive.
“When you talk Aussie, the Aussies are just winners mate, you know? You’ve got to love a winner.
“Us English, we love a loser, so I thought I’m fed up of being a loser, I’m going to talk like a winner, like the Aussies. Get the Ashes won mate.”
Defending champion O’Sullivan began with an opening-frame break of 106 against Hawkins and led 3-0 and 5-2 before his opponent made a fight of it.
The world No.10 clinched his first frame with a break of 104 in the fourth and a superb 110 in the ninth reduced the deficit to 5-4, but O’Sullivan closed it out by scoring 64 in the next.
Mark Allen, who won the 2016 title, will play David Gilbert or Stuart Bingham in the last eight on Thursday evening after overcoming Stephen Maguire 6-2.