Bad day for the big guns at the 2018 English Open , but Ronnie is through to the QFs

Well, well … after yesterday’s action none of the poster boys are still in the competition.

We had two rounds played to completion, the last 32 and the last 16.

Here is the last 16 report on Worldsnooker:

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson were among the winners in the last 32 of the BetVictor English Open. The last 16 takes place at K2 Crawley on Thursday evening.

However World Champion Mark Williams was the biggest casualty of the round as he lost 4-3 to China’s Zhou Yuelong.

O’Sullivan scored a 4-1 win over Matthew Stevens to move a step closer to a 34th career ranking title. He took the opening frame with a break of 75, then Stevens responded with a run of 90 for 1-1. Welshman Stevens scored just five points in the last three frames as O’Sullivan took them with a top break of 60. He now meets Eden Sharav, who reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time with a 4-0 win over Craig Steadman

Higgins compiled breaks of 98 and 105 in a 4-1 win over Martin Gould while Neil Robertson top scored with 102 in a 4-1 win over Alan McManus.

Stuart Bingham made a 131 as he edged out Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-3. Trump came from 2-0 down to beat Jack Lisowski 4-2 with a top break of 107.

World number eight Shaun Murphy slipped to a 4-1 defeat against Robert Milkins while China’s promising teenager Luo Honghao saw off Anthony McGill 4-2. Daniel Wells came from 3-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins 4-3 with top breaks of 80 and 78.

Tonight’s last 16 line up:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Eden Sharav
Neil Robertson v Luo Honghao
Judd Trump v Ryan Day
Mark Davis v John Higgins
Ricky Walden v Stuart Bingham
Ali Carter v Daniel Wells
Robert Milkins v Noppon Saengkham
Stephen Maguire v Zhou Yuelong

The World Champion was beaten by Zhou Yuelong who held himself together quite well in the latest parts of the match where neither played outstandingly well. I didn’t see anything from the Murphy v Milkins match, but Murphy hasn’t been in top form for quite some time and Milkins is a very heavy scorer on his day. So, no real surprise there.

As for Ronnie, his match against Matthew Stevens was quite entertaining and played in good spirit. Those two know each other since juniors days, Matthew being only a couple of years younger than Ronnie. There were a lot of smiles on both sides throughout. Ronnie was more optimistic after the match, saying that he felt more in control as compared to the previous matches.

Also thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images!

The evening session delivered something else altogether, with a lot of matches going against the seeding/ranking.

Here is Worldsnooker report on the last 16:

China’s latest young snooker talent Luo Honghao beat Neil Robertson 4-2 at the BetVictor English Open to earn a quarter-final with his idol Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Tour rookie Luo, age 18, has earned the nickname The Virtuoso as he is a highly accomplished piano player and could have pursued a career in music. He chose snooker instead and won the WSF Championship this year to secure a tour card. He is now proving his ability on the baize and has knocked out Adam Duffy, Stuart Carrington, Anthony McGill and Robertson this week in Crawley to reach the last eight of a ranking event for the first time.

After losing the first frame against Robertson, world number 105 Luo took four of the next five with top breaks of 69, 56 and 74.

It’s my biggest win,” said Luo, who comes from Nanchong in China’s Sichuan province. “I enjoyed being out there in front of a lot of people. Ronnie has been my idol since I started playing snooker. I am so excited about playing him and I hope I can pot at least one ball. I’m not sure if I can beat him but anything can happen. I will try my best and enjoy it. I can’t believe I have the chance to play him – I’m so happy.

Defending champion O’Sullivan eased to a 4-1 win over Eden Sharav with top breaks of 76, 72, 59 and 72.

Eden is a good player and a tough competitor so I knew I needed to play decent stuff,” said world number three O’Sullivan. “I am working on my sighting at the moment so every match is a chance to get more comfortable and take my game to a higher level. I was watching Luo on the next table and he is a proper talent. He is the real deal.

Mark Davis continued his hoodoo over John Higgins, beating the four-time World Champion for the seventh time in their last eight meetings. Sussex cueman Davis came from 2-1 down to take the last three frames and win 4-2.

Davis now faces Ryan Day, who played the best snooker of the night to beat Judd Trump 4-2. Welshman Day fired in runs of 52, 83, 136 and 132.

Stuart Bingham top scored with 82 in a 4-0 win over Ricky Walden. He now meets Ali Carter who edged out Daniel Wells 4-3 with a top run of 116.

Stephen Maguire beat Zhou Yuelong 4-0 with a top break of 83. His next opponent is Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who made a 52 in the decider to edge out Robert Milkins 4-3.

Friday’s quarter-final line up:

12pm
Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter
Not before 2pm

Mark Davis v Ryan Day

7pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luo Honghao

Noppon Saengkham v Stephen Maguire

Mark Davis leads John Higgins by 10-5 in their head-to-head, so this is no fluke, even if it’s a bit surprising. After the heights of beating the World Champion, Zhou Yuelong must have suffered a kind of anti-climax effect playing Maguire on a side table. It’s quite common in fact and, of course, Maguire is a top player. I’m not surprised that Maguire won, just that it went 4-0. Ryan Day played incredibly well against Judd Ttrump and, if he can sustain that level, he’s the favourite to lift the trophy come Sunday. He was awesome to watch.

As for Ronnie, he played well himself in beating Eden Sharav. After the match he explained that Sightright has changed the way he’s sighting the ball and that he’s still adjusting to the changes. He also spoke about the changes in his break-off.

Whatever happens for Ronnie from now one there’s already a lot of positives to be taken. He’s playing an “unknown quantity” tonight. Luo is quality, no doubts, and playing Ronnie on television can either intimidate him or having him relax completely knowing he’s the underdog, with no expectations on him. I think the latter scenario is the more likely and the pressure will be on Ronnie.

This is what Ronnie said about his young opponent:

“I was watching Luo on the other table, he is a real talent – a proper player. I heard he is also a great piano player so a genius really, to be that good at two things.”

EnglishOpen2018-ROSL16-1

 

Dublin agency recruits Ronnie O’Sullivan as snooker mentor

At the time of writing, Ronnie has just won his last 16 match against Eden Sharav, and his waiting for either Neil Robertson or Luo Honghao to join him in the quarters tomorrow, where it becomes best of 9. I will cover that later, tonight or tomorrow morning.

But meanwhile, Ronnie’s management, Unify, has shared this news:

Dublin agency recruits Ronnie O’Sullivan as snooker mentor

Five-time world champion has teamed up with Unify, which was set up earlier this year

Ronnie O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management.

Ronnie O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management.

Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan has linked up with a Dublin-based sports agency to find and mentor the stars of the future.

The five-time world champion (42) was in the headlines this week for making a maximum break at the English Open, just two days after describing the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, which is hosting the event, as a “hellhole”.

O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management, which has been representing him for the past season. Of his move into mentoring, O’Sullivan said sport was “stressful at times”.

“The highs of winning are great, but the lows are very tough,” he said. “The lads at Unify have been a massive help to me; they just let me focus on getting in the zone and playing.

“I have an opportunity to link up with Unify and together we know we can help the future stars of sport by giving them the advice and support to fulfil their potential.

“I truly love competing, so I’m delighted to have found a way to stay involved in sport when I do eventually hang up my cue. I’m looking forward to helping source raw talent with Unify and giving them guidance from all my experiences at the top of my game.”

Unify Sports Management was launched earlier this year by co-founders Conor O’Boyle and Shane O’Hara. It offers a full-scale service specialising in the commercial and media side of the sports industry.

O’Boyle was alongside O’Sullivan in China last month as the Englishman landed the Shanghai Masters title.

“Conor supported me in Asia and there were moments when I was struggling but he said the right things to get me back where I needed to be,” said O’Sullivan. “He understands the game which really helps too.”

Unify co-founder O’Boyle said: “Shane and I have been involved in sport our whole lives and we are both aware that Ronnie is undeniably one of the most talented sportspeople of all time.

“Asking him to help mentor our athletes was a no-brainer. Speaking with him about competing is fascinating. He has been there and done it all for 25 years and we are hugely grateful for his generosity in being prepared to share his expertise with us.”

It’s good to see Ronnie giving back to his sport by embracing activities that will help young players to achieve their dreams.

English Open 2018 – Last 64 Round-up

There was only one “shock” in the last 128, the defeat of Kyren Wilson, but the last 64 brought a bit more with the exits of Mark Selby, Mark Allen, Marco Fu, Luca Brecel and Liang Wenbo.

Ben Woollaston played really well in beating mark Selby. Here is his post match.

One interesting point is that for him, Mark Selby is just a mate, there is no fear factor coming into it. Today Judd Trump will play Jack Lisowski and Jack has the upper hand in their head-to-head. I suppose the fact that they were homies for years and share the same management also “removes” any intimidating factor that Judd might have when playing other players.

I didn’t see anything of the Mark Allen v Yuan Sijun match, however it’s clear that Yuan is a player worth keeping an eye on, not just because of yesterday’s result, but because his results since the start of the season: he only turned pro in 2017, he’s won 10 out of 14 matches already this season and reached the QF in the China Championship.

Here is Worldsnooker report on the day

Judd Trump made three centuries in a row as he came from 3-1 down to beat Zhao Xintong 4-3 at the BetVictor English Open.

A tremendous match saw China’s Zhao go 3-1 up with breaks of 55 and 84; Trump taking frame three with a run of 90. World number five Trump then rattled in 126, 108 and 109 to win in fine style. He goes through to play close friend Jack Lisowski in the last 32 in Crawley on Thursday.

“Zhao played really well, his long potting was amazing,” said Trump. “I was lucky to win in the end. I played a good last three frames. Zhao is one of the few players other than Ronnie I have really enjoyed playing. He is very natural and great to watch. It will be another very tough and close game tomorrow with Jack because he is probably the most improved player on the tour.”

World number one Mark Selby suffered a 4-3 defeat against Ben Woollaston, the biggest shock of the tournament so far.

Woollaston, ranked 42nd, trailed by 49 points with three reds left in the deciding frame but made a brilliant 51 clearance to beat his fellow Leicester pro and set up a last-32 match with Ricky Walden.

“Once I potted the last red and got on the black, I knew I had a chance to clear up,” said 2015 Welsh Open finalist Woollaston. “It was just about holding myself together. I was fortunate because Mark doesn’t often lose from that kind of position. I used to be a bit in awe of some of the top players but not any more. And when I play Mark I just feel as if I’m playing against a mate because I have known him for 20 years.

“You have so many disappointments in snooker but if I could have a week where I win a trophy it would all be worth it. I am trying to do that in every tournament. Winning today won’t mean much unless I can get to at least the quarters or semis.”

Matthew Stevens saw off Jimmy White 4-0 to set up a match with Ronnie O’Sullivan, who made a 147 earlier in the day. John Higgins top scored with 93 in a 4-1 win over Nigel Bond.

Barry Hawkins made breaks of 121 and 106 in a 4-3 win over Sam Craigie while World Champion Mark Williams eased to a 4-0 win over Alexander Ursenbacher.

European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson saw his winning streak come to an end as he let slip a 3-0 lead over Jordan Brown, losing 4-3.

Lisowski came from 3-1 down to beat Ian Burns 4-3 with a top run of 100 while Neil Robertson top scored with 79 in a 4-2 win over Oliver Lines. Shaun Murphy made a 91 in the last frame as he beat David Gilbert 4-2.

Thursday’s schedule

You can read all about Ronnie’s win over Allan Taylor here

And Ronnie was in the studio at the start of the evening with Jimmy playing at that time. The postmatch with John Higgins was quite interesting. It’s clear that Ronnie isn’t alone in his opinion that the current schedule and system are not sustainable if players are to deliver quality performances.

And here is Ronnie speaking about the pressure of making a maximum

Today will see two rounds played to completion: the last 32 in the morning and afternoon, and the last 16 in the evening. Ronnie will play Matthew Stevens at 1 pm UK time. Should he win, he will face the winner of Craig Steadman v Eden Sharav in the evening. It’s still best of 7.

English Open 2018 – Last 64 – Ronnie wins with a maximum

Ronnie beat Allan Taylor by 4-0 in the last 64 round of the English Open 2018. The defending champion was far from his best, missing long pots and running out of position quite too often for his liking. But he had his moments of brilliance too: he made a great 135 in frame two, and finished the match with a flawless 147, his 15th in professional competition. But what please me even more was the way he managed to steal the third frame, having struggled badly for most of it. That’s the kind of frame that he would probably have lost a few years ago, and that would have left him angry at himself and unable to get over the disappointment, never mind making a 147 on the back of it.

and if you can’t wait until the last frame here’s the shortcut!

Ronnie was quite down on himself in the postmatch considering he just won. Such patchy performance will never please him. But he’s through to the next round and will play either Jimmy White or Matthew Stevens.

Big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these images

This is the report on Worldsnooker

Ronnie O’Sullivan made a brilliant 147, the 15th of his career, to wrap up a 4-0 win over Allan Taylor at the BetVictor English Open.

EnglishOpen2018-ROSL64-2

O’Sullivan has now made four more 147s than any other player, with Stephen Hendry behind him on 11 maximums, followed by John Higgins on eight.

Today’s 147 was his second of the year having made one at the China Open in April. It’s the 143rd maximum in snooker history and second of the week; Thepchaiya Un-Nooh having made one on Tuesday. They will share the £17,000 bonus prize, earning £8,500 each as long as the break is not equalled this week.

Defending champion O’Sullivan had already made a 135 in the second frame against Taylor, also taking two other scrappy frames as he went 3-0 ahead. In the fourth he was barely out of position as he potted 15 reds with blacks then cleared the colours. The blue was a thin cut to a centre pocket, coming in and out of baulk to keep position, and he played it to perfection before slotting in the pink and black.

It’s nice to get a 147 for a good crowd,” said the world number three, who now meets Jimmy White or Matthew Stevens in the last 32 on Thursday. “The last time I played really well was at this tournament last year in Barnsley. Since then I have been hit and miss. I started working with (coach) Stephen Feeney because I felt I had to try something. It’s the last throw of the dice. I had a really good six or seven years before that working with Steve Peters.

The game evolves and gets better. New talent brings fresh ideas so you have to try to learn from that. For me as a purist it’s all about feeling as if I am capable of winning tournaments.

Clearly Ronnie isn’t in the most optimistic mood right now, but things can change, and most probably will. Ups and downs have been the story of his career and his life.

And on a lighter note this…

 

English Open 2018 – Last 128 Round-up

The 128 became 64 and only one top 16 player fell by the wayside: Kyren Wilson who lost to Sunny Akani by 4-3. This certainly is unexpected given Kyren’s form of late, but, of course, Sunny is a very good player; he has proven that in the past, notably by  giving Ronnie a right scare last season. Yet, Kyren lead 2-0, with two big breaks and, at that stage,  Sunny had potted just one ball. In the next frame though, the young Thai made a great 133, a new career high break, and got on the scoreboard. Kyren took the next, to lead three one … and then lost three on the trot, and the match.

The highlight from day 2 though came thanks to “Theppy”. Thepchaiya Un-nooh made a 147 … on a side table. But you can still watch it here:

So it was a great day for the Thais!

Here are the reports on the last 128 by Worldsnooker:

Day 1

World number one Mark Selby took just 49 minutes to beat Sanderson Lam 4-0 in the first round of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley.

Selby is looking for his second title of the season, having won the China Championship last month, and looked in fine form against Lam as he knocked in breaks of 78, 106 and 79. He now meets Ben Woollaston on Wednesday (tickets available – click here for details).

“I only played one or two bad shots in the match so it was nearly faultless,” said Leicester’s 35-year-old Selby. “I made a good break to win the first frame then after that I played well.

“Last season I won two big tournaments in China but lost early doors in the big BBC tournaments. This season I am working harder and hoping to change that in the BBC events. So to get a tournament win under my belt in China gives me the confidence to kick on for the rest of the season. I feel in good shape.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan began the defence of his title with a 4-1 victory over Kurt Maflin. O’Sullivan, playing in a ranking event for the first time this season, set up a second round match with Allan Taylor by knocking in breaks of 104, 70 and 82.

Shaun Murphy top scored with 66 in a 4-1 win over Mike Dunn while World Champion Mark Williams eased to a 4-1 win over Dominic Dale, firing breaks of 116, 54 and 109. Neil Robertson made breaks of 100 and 112 in a 4-2 win over Ross Muir.

China’s promising Luo Honghao came from 3-0 down to beat Adam Duffy 4-3 with a top break of 128. Ryan Day made a 141, the highest break of the tournament so far, in a 4-0 win over Ashley Hugill.

Day 2

Judd Trump and John Higgins were among the first round winners as snooker’s top stars thrived at the BetVictor English Open in Crawley on Tuesday.

Trump beat Robin Hull 4-1 with a top break of 104 to set up a last 64 match with Zhao Xintong. World number five Trump hasn’t won a ranking title for over a year but hopes he is coming into form.

“I played some good stuff in spells, we both struggled a bit,” said 29-year-old Trump. “I feel as if my scoring is coming back. For me it’s about enjoying my snooker, practising hard and trying to learn from some of the other top players while they are still around.”

Higgins beat Li Yuan 4-1 with top runs of 75 and 88 to set up a second round match with Nigel Bond.

“I have been struggling this season and that was probably as well as I have played,” said Higgins, who was runner-up to Mark Selby at the recent China Championship. “I haven’t been practising or playing well since the start of the season. I was surprised that I got to the final in China because my play was terrible. I can try to win matches this week and build a bit of momentum and confidence.”

Highlight of the day was a 147 for Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first frame of his 4-1 win over Soheil Vahedi, earning him a possible £17,000 bonus. Read more on that story here.

European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson kept his momentum going with a 4-1 win over Michael Holt, making breaks of 81, 71 and 68.

“I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment and full of confidence,” said Bexhill’s Robertson. “I played really well tonight. I know a lot of people in this area, when I was growing up I was playing in clubs all over Sussex. Quite a few people are here to support me.”

Veteran Jimmy White scored an impressive 4-2 win over China’s Lyu Haotian. That made it back-to-back wins for 56-year-old White as he beat Fergal O’Brien in last week’s International Championship qualifiers. Today, the Whirlwind fired breaks of 81, 74 and 63.

World number nine Kyren Wilson became the only top-16 ranked player to lose in the first round as he went down 4-3 to Thailand’s Sunny Akani. From 3-1 down, Akani took the last three frames with top runs of 78 and 62.

Luca Brecel top scored with 109 in a 4-0 win over Niu Zhuang while Mark Allen beat Anthony Hamilton 4-2 with a top break of 91. Jack Lisowski came from 2-1 down to beat Fergal O’Brien 4-2

One thing that Worldsnooker didn’t report though was that Higgins, speaking to the ES pundits, very bluntly said that losing two World finals has “taken the stuffing out of him” and that he isn’t enjoying his snooker one bit. He actually said he “hates” it at the moment.

Shaun Murphy didn’t play well – and honestly acknowledged it – but still won. Judd Trump played some fantastic snooker mixed with some bad shots, he needs to find consistency; the 104 he made in frame 2 however was truly remarkable.

Jimmy White beat Lyu Haotian, by 4-2, with three big breaks. I have a feeling that Jimmy has been working his socks off in preparation of his Seniors UK Championship defence next week in Hull. Should he and Ronnie win today, they are on course to play each other!

Of course Ronnie won on day 1 and you can readd all about his win and what happened next here

With Jimmy playing, Ronnie was in the studio for the afternoon and evening sessions.

Quite a few interesting points made in this discussions too.

Regarding his comments on Monday, Ronnie didn’t back-off but clarified what he meant, and it’s hard not to see his point. Also, despite claims by WS that other players were unanimously happy, it became clear that this isn’t the case, with Maguire and Allen expressing similar concerns as Ronnie did, and sure enough, Peter Ebdon, even if he didn’t say anything, must not have been too amused either.

It’s also interesting that Ronnie believes that Higgins in fact feels burnt-out and that this is why he’s so negative. It could well be the case. Jimmy went the same way when he observed that lower ranked players, not getting to the latter stages of tournaments, don’t play that much and therefore probably feel OK with the busy calendar, but that indeed top players are at risk of burn-out unless they pick and choose.

Ronnie, on twitter, had launched two polls.

This one in particular sparkled a discussion in the studio

Ronnie's poll

Barry Hearn replied that “top 16 are seeded”. Yes, they are, but it takes a good dose of bad faith not to understand what Ronnie meant, which was s”eeded into the last 32″,  like it was earlier. That’s a quite overwhelming majority and it was over 5000+ votes. It’s clear that the fans want to be guaranteed to the best players at the latter stages. My guess is that the broadcasters and sponsors would agree too. Yes, it’s a form of protection… unless it’s, like at the Crucible, and whatever money the top players might get in the last 32 wouldn’t count towards the rankings if they lose. In that case it’s actually added pressure.

As you can guess, most headlines in the press revolved around Ronnie’s comments.

Hector Nunns though made this niece piece about Luo Honghao and his talent as a pianist

 

 

English Open 2018 – Ronnie wins his opening match, but criticises the venue

Ronnie won his opening match at the English Open 2018 today, beating Kurt Maflin by 4-1.  This earned him his first ranking points this season. Here are the frame scores:

English Open ROS L128 Scores

Ronnie wasn’t at his absolute best, but played well considering he’s not played much this season at all. He certainly isn’t match sharp just yet, but should improve as he plays more matches.

 

 

And Andy Goldstein couldn’t resist: he had to mention their “Olympics”

 

Other than the postmatch there was also another interview with Eurosport that they shared on their website

 

Ronnie however was far from happy with the venue, as you can read in this article by the BBC

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Defending champion critical of English Open venue

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the 2017 English Open in Barnsley

Ronnie O’Sullivan has described the venue for this year’s English Open as “a hellhole” and urged World Snooker to spend more money on tournament hosts.

The five-time world champion, 42, won his first-round match at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley against Kurt Maflin but was unhappy with conditions.

“It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play. This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen,” he said.

World Snooker said other players’ feedback was “overwhelmingly positive”.

O’Sullivan is the defending English Open champion, having beaten Kyren Wilson in Barnsley in 2017.

But after defeating world number 50 Maflin in just over an hour, he did not hold back on his thoughts on the Sussex venue.

“I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine,” he added.

“It’s just got no atmosphere in there. I’m practising and I’ve got wires all around the table. There’s no security, you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.

“It’s not the fans’ fault. They [World Snooker] obviously haven’t got the budget to run it properly.

“I don’t know where their budget is but they’re cutting corners. I think they should invest in good venues. Players deserve better.”

A statement from World Snooker said: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities.”

And here is part of the interview…

After those comments Worldsnooker responded with this statement

In response to comments from Ronnie O’Sullivan at the BetVictor English Open on Monday, World Snooker said: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive. And the partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities. There was a fantastic crowd in the arena today and the ticket sales for the event have already surpassed the total sales for 2016 and 2017. We look forward to seeing Ronnie play in the next round.”

K2 Crawley, the host venue for the tournament, added: “We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive. We have been working closely with World Snooker to make this competition the best it can be and they are extremely happy with how the first day has gone, and in fact, we hear that ticket sales have already surpassed total numbers sold for all previous English Open venues. To be involved with this event is a privilege and we are pleased that K2 Crawley’s great accessibility and facilities will mean that more snooker fans than ever before can enjoy the tournament – we are certainly excited to see what the rest of the week holds!”

This reminds me of Ronnie’s comments when the Welsh Open moved to Cardiff for the first time… Of course, the previous English Open venue, Preston, has a lot of history; it was the home of the UK Championship, and it’s  where Ronnie won his first ever ranking event, the 1993 UK Championship ,at only 17. Maybe another venue was always going to be at a disadvantage in his eyes because of this.

That said, comments about Crawley on social, even before this outburst, weren’t particularly nice. And Shaun Murphy who represents the players and heads the “Players Commission, was very “diplomatic” in his answer when interviewed by Andy Goldstein after his win over Mike Dunn. Basically he explained that finding venues, large enough to accommodate eight tables, with good viewing space in the main arena, plus practice tables, plus space for the officials, the players between matches, the sponsors and the media, is a real challenge and that this leisure centre was ticking the boxes. However he didn’t directly respond to Ronnie’s criticisms.

English Open 2018 – starting today

We are only a couple of hours away from the start of the English Open 2018 and of course the build-up has brought new features and articles.

The “Olympics” continued and you can watch the whole stuff by following this link. Both failed the hugh jump at 146 cm, and Ronnie outran Andy on the 800m.

The there is this article as well, thanks to Mark who found it

MY BIG BREAK

Ronnie O’Sullivan has just three targets left – winning a record eighth world title, running with the fastest Kenyans and… becoming a Buddhist MONK in Thailand

The Rocket aims to complete his Bucket list as he scales down his playing activity and enters new phase of “reinvention”

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN has three key items left on his Bucket List.

His first priority is to finish his career with EIGHT world titles — elevating him above Stephen Hendry (seven), Steve Davis and Ray Reardon (both six).

ronnie-english-open-2018

Ronnie O’Sullivan has just reached the £10m earnings mark and has spectacular targets for when he finally winds down his career to retirement

The bold part has been highlighted by me. This is because there is a huge difference between what the tittle suggests and what this quote actually says. Having heard it from Ronnie himself, he’s pretty confident that he will reach 1000 centuries and 36 rankers, winning more World titles, nevermind 8, is something else. Yes, of course he’d like to do it, but I’m very certain that if he wins a 6th he will be over the moon already. That’s his youth hero, Steve Davis, record.