McCulloch sets up O'Sullivan clash

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Date: Feb. 14, 2007
Publisher: NLA Access Media Limited
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 291 words
Lexile Measure: 990L

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Ian McCulloch will hope to get the better of Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Welsh Open on Wednesday.

The Preston potter yesterday produced a gutsy comeback to beat ex-world amateur champion Mark Allen in the second round of the [pounds sterling]225,000 event at the Newport Centre.

McCulloch looked to be heading for an early exit as he trailed Allen 4-2.

But match breaks of 72, 47 and 74 ultimately proved crucial as the left-hander navigated his passage through to last 32 stage.

However, the provisional world No.36 was far from happy with his performance ahead of his meeting with the Rocket.

He said: "I played shocking. I feel really sorry for Mark because I didn't deserve to win the way I played," he said.

"Thankfully I showed a lot of character to win that last frame, but I didn't play well.

"The table was playing lovely, but I just had to persevere with my game and make sure I won.

"It wasn't pretty, but I won. I want to win a few matches here this week because it's good practice for the World Championship in a couple of months."

And the two-time ranking event runner-up was understandably relishing his best-of-nine frame clash with O'Sullivan, with the winner guaranteed [pounds sterling]4,275 in prize money if they progress.

McCulloch has beaten O'Sullivan in the past, but he makes no bones that he will have to play well to surprise the two-time world champion.

"For some reason I always play well against Ronnie, I don't know why" he added.

"He's pulled my pants down a few times, but you know you've got to play well to beat him. I'm going to have play a lot better than I did today. I played awfully out there."

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A183986781