Snooker: Ronnie O'Sullivan thrashed despite 'one of a kind' break in German Masters qualifier

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As Snooker season kicks into gear, Ronnie O'Sullivan has begun his in bewildering form, losing 5-0 to Iranian Hossein Vafaei in qualifying for the German Masters in Cannock, Staffordshire.

During their behind-closed-doors match at the Chase Leisure Centre, the 45-year-old was whitewashed by the world number 60 in under an hour.

Scoring just 108 points for the five-frame contest, The Rocket was a shadow of his swashbuckling self, as the Iranian dominated his opponent ranked 57 places above him.

A six-time world champion at the Crucible, O'Sullivan has endured runs of bad form in the past, but this was surely a new low for the man from Wordsley.

Indeed, it was his first defeat without winning a frame in a full knock-out match since being taken apart by John Higgins, at the 2017 Scottish Open by the same scoreline.

Despite the humiliating nature of the defeat, O'Sullivan still found a way to entertain the audience with a manic break, smashing the cue ball into the pack and sending balls flying all over the table.

Usually, players will take a more subtle and tactical approach to a break, but a frustrated O'Sullivan was having none of that, going gung-ho and aggressively smashing the the ball down the table.

His conqueror Vafaei, nicknamed 'The Persian Prince', compiled breaks of 141 and 81 and his win was the crowning moment of his nine-year career, which up to that point was highlighted by semi-final berths in both the China Open in 2017 and the Welsh Open two years ago. 

The 27-year-old from Abadan now faces one more round of qualifying against either Steven Hallworth or Andrew Higginson on Tuesday, with the winner booking his place in Berlin in January.

For O'Sullivan meanwhile, the nature of defeat will be a concern but he has the chance to bounce back at next week's English Open in Milton Keynes.

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