‘Gladiator’ Ronnie O’Sullivan rallies past David Gilbert at the Crucible

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Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 3-0 down to defeat David Gilbert 10-5 at the World Snooker Championship.

The world number one is hunting a record-equalling seventh title and will now face Mark Allen or Scott Donaldson in the second round.

O’Sullivan reeled off six frames in a row to take control after Gilbert had raced into a 3-0 lead at the Crucible.

Gilbert won the first two frames of the second session before O’Sullivan eased over the line.

The six-time champion told the BBC: “I am out there playing, enjoying it and just trying to compete. It is like Gladiator. Russell Crowe has a hole in his arm and knows he is going to die but you just have to find a way. That is what winners and gladiators do.

“I probably wasn’t born to play snooker but I was born to do something with a ball. I just wish it would have been another sport where my temperament would have been suited to it. I find snooker challenging.

“To be the best at something it takes graft, time and effort. Sometimes you ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’

“I was never born a winner, but I had to have it drummed into me. A bit like Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, I had that type of father figure where I was told, ‘You are going to be a success’.

“I wasn’t that bothered but I was toughened up mentally. I was mentored that way.”

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