FACING Ronnie O’Sullivan at the UK Championship would be a dream for many, but Leeds potter Peter Lines admits he is keeping his fingers crossed for a bye instead.
Lines secured a 6-4 victory over Joe Swail in the first round at the York Barbican yesterday to set up a plum tie against the five-time world champion on Sunday.
O’Sullivan won his own first-round clash despite suffering a broken ankle on the eve of the tournament, but has threatened to pull out before the second-round contest.
World No 61 Lines has encouraged O’Sullivan to do just that – for the sake of his health, of course.
“To be honest I think Ronnie could do with a rest – he doesn’t want to be standing on that foot all day long,” joked Lines. “It would be a right result for me if he doesn’t play.
“I’d definitely encourage him to pull out – you can’t be too careful with that ankle. He doesn’t want to ruin it for the rest of the season, does he?
“Obviously I would be delighted to play Ronnie on TV but if you gave me the option I would definitely prefer to get a bye.
“I don’t think I’ve had a bye in 20-odd years, so it would be nice to get one against Ronnie.”
Elsewhere, Keighley potter Chris Melling is determined to prove he can lock horns with the best in the business despite suffering a first-round exit in York.
The two-time eight-ball pool world champion was beaten 6-1 by talented youngster Jack Lisowski, but the 35-year-old insists he can be a force to be reckoned with on the tour.
“I’ve had to change my cue action because the tables are so fast and it doesn’t suit my action,” he said.
“I’m always confident though – if you’re not confident you’re not going to win. It’s just a matter of time before I click and when I do, I will do some serious damage.”
Leeds’s David Grace also fell at the first hurdle in York, going down 6-3 to China’s Liang Wenbo.
He said: “I’ve been practising hard and you think that when you practise well you can’t play below a certain level – but obviously I managed it.”
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