Ellliot Slessor secured his first trip to the Crucible Theatre with a 10-3 drubbing of Martin O’Donnell – then set his sights on stunning Ronnie O’Sullivan on the sport’s biggest stage.
World number 69 Slessor has yet to lose to O’Sullivan – beating the five-times world champion 4-1 in the Northern Ireland Open last 32 in 2017 and a 6-2 win in the last 64 of the 2018 China Open – and would love to meet him in Sheffield having coming through three qualifiers to reach the Crucible.
World Snooker Championship: Victorious Matthew Stevens: ‘I’ve not played for five months’
The draw for the final stages of the World Championship takes place at 11am (BST) on Wednesday morning with the world’s top 16 seeds drawn against the 16 qualifiers who make it through from the English Institute of Sport.
Gateshead-born Slessor is clearly buoyed by his form in beating O’Donnell – enjoying breaks of 111, 89, 76, 68, 53 and 50 as he won NINE straight frames from 3-1 behind to coast through in style.
He would relish the chance of upsetting O’Sullivan a year after the crowd favourite lost 10-8 to amateur qualifier James Cahill in the first round.
“I’m delighted to qualify for the Crucible, it’s going to be a great experience,” said Slessor, who watched O’Sullivan roll in a 147 against him in their last meeting in Beijing.
“So far the biggest achievement in my career is reaching the semi-finals (losing 6-2 to winner Mark Williams) in Northern Ireland three years ago.
“To be honest, I’d want another crack at Ronnie. We’ve played a few times and I’ve won a couple, but he is the man you want to play on the main stage.
“I know a lot of people will say they don’t want to play him, but for me if it is busy and people are allowed to come in, you want to play the main man on the main stage.
“I don’t mind who I play. If I turn up and play well, I’ve got every chance.”
Slessor, 25, is guaranteed £20,000 if he loses in the first round at the Crucible – and has revealed that will be going on his marriage to girlfriend Stephanie.
“We had a deal that if I qualified for the Crucible, we had to make plans for the wedding and start booking places so she will be over the moon to start booking things,” he said.
“I don’t think she will be too bothered about the snooker.”
Monday 27 July – Final Qualifying Round
- Alexander Ursenbacher 10-8 Andrew Higginson
- Martin O’Donnell 3-10 Elliot Slessor
- Noppon Saengkham 10-2 Eden Sharav
- Anthony Hamilton 10-5 Scott Donaldson
- Ashley Carty 10-8 Robert Milkins
- Matthew Selt 1-10 Kurt Maflin
- Fergal O’Brien 9-10 Liang Wenbo
- Alan McManus 10-5 Louis Heathcote
Watch World Snooker Championship draw live on Eurosport website