A FUMING Ronnie O’Sullivan shouted at fans to ‘sit down’ as he crashed out of the Northern Ireland Open to Masters Champion Yan Bingtao.
O’Sullivan, 45, lost his temper in the third frame of the 4-3 defeat when he paused during a break of 129 to confront the crowd and demand they stay in their seats.
His complaint prompted the referee to instruct stewards not to let fans enter the auditorium mid-frame during the best-of-seven match.
The 21-year-old Yan nudged in front for the first time at 3-2 but O’Sullivan hit back from the brink when he erased a 71-point deficit in the following frame to take the match into a decider.
Both players had their chances to claim victory and ultimately it was two costly errors from O’Sullivan that ended his hopes of returning to the final for a fourth straight year.
In what was the 40th meeting between Higgins and Williams, who both joined the circuit in 1992, the Scot moved 21-19 in front in the head-to-head count.
“I was one ball away from losing at 3-0 behind. Mark will be kicking himself,” Higgins said.
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“Mark has beaten me the last few times we have played so it was good to get a little one back on him.”
The three-time world champion said ahead of that match that a bout of gout had left him unable to put a shoe on his left foot.
Williams said: “A couple of weeks before it happened, for no reason I stopped eating meat and went on a vegetarian diet for a couple of weeks – and then I got gout!
“I’m feeling much better now. I can almost walk like normal. I’m on these tablets for it now.
“I have a slipper on my left foot. I cannot get a shoe on it. It’s too painful. I brought it over with me to Northern Ireland.”