The 2019 English Open – day 4

Day 4 in the Home Nations is often eventful and yesterday in Crawley was no exception.

Two rounds were played to a completion: the last 32 and the last 16.

The last 32 saw the World Champion, Judd Trump, departing after being beaten by Lee Walker as well as Neil Robertson’s exiting, having suffered a whitewash at the hands of Zhao Xintong.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

World number one Judd Trump suffered a shock 4-2 defeat against Lee Walker in the last 32 stage of the 19.com English Open in Crawley.

Trump has won five titles within the past year, including the World Championship, but this time he couldn’t get the better of a player ranked 80 places below him.

Breaks of 74 and 67 put Welshman Walker 2-0 ahead, then Trump recovered with 135 and 101 for 2-2. But it was Walker who finished the stronger player as a run of 59 helped give him frame five, and a 65 in the next put him in control. Trump got the three snookers he needed on the colours, but his opponent converted a superb long pot on the brown to seal the result.

Walker almost didn’t make it to the last 32 as he was 3-0 down to Robbie Williams last night, but hit back to win 4-3. He now meets Gary Wilson.

“Mark Williams had the car started last night, he was ready to give me a lift home!” said 43-year-old Walker, a Crucible quarter-finalist back in 1997. “The way I played to win last night gave me a lot of confidence today. To beat the world number one and World Champion on a TV table is very pleasing. I really enjoyed it.

“I’m trying to play a bit quicker, you can see that in some of the breaks I am knocking in. I’ll give it my all tonight.”

Neil Robertson is also heading out of Crawley after a 4-0 reverse against world number 52 Zhao Xintong, who made breaks of 68 and 71. The 22-year-old is one of five Chinese players in the line up for the last 16, which will be played on Thursday evening.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is yet to find top form this week but he booked his fourth round spot with a 4-1 defeat of Hossein Vafaei. Iran’s Vafaei took the opening frame on a respotted black but O’Sullivan won the next four with top breaks of 55, 52, 60 and 56.

China Championship winner Shaun Murphy kept up his hopes of winning back-to-back ranking titles as he beat Fan Zhengyi 4-0 with a top break of 69.

Mark Selby top scored with 77 in a 4-2 win over Michael Holt while Mark Allen made a 72 in a 4-1 defeat of Louis Heathcote.

China’s 17-year-old Si Jiahui continued his superb run with a 4-0 win over Zhou Yuelong, making breaks of 92 and 78.

Ricky Walden came from 3-1 down to beat Michael Holt 4-3, making a 63 clearance in the deciding frame.

Xiao Guodong edged out Jack Lisowski 4-3 while Tom Ford made a 124 in a 4-3 win over Kyren Wilson.

There were also wins for David Gilbert, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Barry Hawkins, Gary Wilson, Tian Pengfei and Mei Xiwen.

Last 16 line up, from 7pm Thursday

Si Jiahui v Tian Pengfei
Tom Ford v Shaun Murphy
Zhao Xintong v David Gilbert
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Ricky Walden
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mei Xiwen
Xiao Guodong v Mark Selby
Mark Allen v Barry Hawkins
Gary Wilson v Lee Walker

From what I saw of the Robertson v Zhao match, it wasn’t a case of Zhao being outstanding: Robertson made more mistakes than he usually does. Somehow there were similarities with the Ronnie v Hossein Vafaei match in that ALL FOUR players seemed to struggle for correct position. Maybe the cloth started to be a bit worn out, I’m not sure.

The last 16 in the evening saw both Ronnie and Shaun Murphy leave the tournament. No more “poster boys” in the competition now!

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Tom Ford made a brilliant 147 in the final frame of his 4-3 win over Shaun Murphy in the last 16 of the 19.com English Open in Crawley.

 

He becomes only the second player to make a maximum in the deciding frame of a ranking event match, after Ronnie O’Sullivan who did so at the 2007 UK Championship.

It’s the fifth 147 of Ford’s career – only O’Sullivan (15), Stephen Hendry (11), John Higgins (nine) and Ding Junhui (six) have made more.

Leicester’s 36-year-old Ford is the only player to make a maximum so far this season and in fact he has made two  – the first coming in the International Championship qualifiers. Tonight’s was the 153rd in snooker history.

He’ll win the £5,000 high break prize as long as his feat is not equalled this week.

Earlier in the match, Ford had leads of 2-0 and 3-2, then Murphy recovered to 3-3. But it was world number 25 Ford who finished in style, potting 15 reds with blacks then clearing the colours. He ran out of position on the green but converted a double to a centre pocket to keep the break going.

“Early in the break I was thinking of going up for the blue because I didn’t want the 147 on my mind, the result was more important,” said Ford, who now meets Tian Pengfei in the quarter-finals. “But I kept landing on the black. Once I got to 80 I knew the match was over and I could go for the maximum. I wanted to do it for the crowd because it’s great for them to see one. I only need to make 18 more to win the £1 million bonus!”

On a day of surprise results, O’Sullivan suffered a 4-3 defeat against China’s Mei Xiwen. That brought to an end O’Sullivan’s perfect record so far this season – he won last month’s Shanghai Masters and his first three matches this week, before falling to world number 70 Mei, who is into the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time.

After sharing the first four frames, O’Sullivan appeared to gain the momentum with a run of 134 to lead 3-2. Mei got the better of frame six then had first chance in the decider and made 52 before missing a red to a centre pocket . O’Sullivan had a chance to counter but only made 16 before failing to pot a difficult red along a side cushion, and that proved his last shot as Mei added 71.

Mark Allen’s break building class showed in a 4-0 thrashing of Barry Hawkins as he knocked in 60, 89, 100 and 129.

Three-time World Champion Mark Selby eased to a 4-1 win over Xiao Guodong, making breaks of 72, 60 and 50.

Lee Walker, who shocked Judd Trump earlier in the day, kept his run going with a 4-3 win over Gary Wilson, highlighted by breaks of 78, 69, 93 and a crucial 51 in the decider.

David Gilbert top scored with 127 as he edged out Zhao Xintong 4-3 while Ricky Walden made a 124 in a 4-2 defeat of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Tian Pengfei’s best break was also 124 as he dominated a Chinese derby against tour rookie Si Jiahui, winning 4-0.

Quarter-final line-up
Tian Pengfei v Tom Ford
David Gilbert v Ricky Walden
Mei Xi Wen v Mark Selby
Mark Allen v Lee Walker

Mark Allen looks like the favourite to win the event now and he will have some support in the ES studio: indeed he’s the only one still in the draw who has already qualified for the 2019 Champion of Champions so Jimmy White will hope for him to win come Sunday.

However the “Home Nations” have produces a good few suprise winners since the series started and everyone still in the draw has their chance!

Here is Tom Ford’s 147:

You can read more about Ronnie’s matches yesterday here (pictures included)

Ronnie’s run in the 2019 English Open comes to an end in the last 16

The day started reasonably well for Ronnie as he beat Hossein Vafaei by 4-1 in the last 32.

Screenshot 2019-10-17 at 16.43.40

It wasn’t a great match by any means. Hossein played badly and Ronnie picked up the pieces without playing well himself. Both players made unexpected mistakes, plenty of them in  Hossein’s case, and Ronnie’s concentration wasn’t the best. Players losing concentration happens sometimes when the match is “broken” because one player struggles badly, but I think there was more than just that here


Ronnie O’Sullivan v Hossein Vafaei – English Open 2019 – Last 32

This is the report by Worldsnooker (excerpt):

Ronnie O’Sullivan is yet to find top form this week but he booked his fourth round spot with a 4-1 defeat of Hossein Vafaei. Iran’s Vafaei took the opening frame on a respotted black but O’Sullivan won the next four with top breaks of 55, 52, 60 and 56.

and some great images by Tai Chengzhe

In the evening he faced Mei Xi Wen who played an excellent match to beat him by 4-3.

Screenshot 2019-10-18 at 09.22.33

Mei is 37, and had never before reached the QF stage in a main tour event. He’s a very capable player though, and well respected as a mentor to younger Chinese players. This season he seems to have found an extra gear. He will face Mark Selby today.


Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mei Xiwen – English Open 2019 – Last 16
(very start of the match is missing)

Here is the report by Worldsnooker (excerpt):

On a day of surprise results, O’Sullivan suffered a 4-3 defeat against China’s Mei Xiwen. That brought to an end O’Sullivan’s perfect record so far this season – he won last month’s Shanghai Masters and his first three matches this week, before falling to world number 70 Mei, who is into the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time.

EnglishOpen2019MeiL16After sharing the first four frames, O’Sullivan appeared to gain the momentum with a run of 134 to lead 3-2. Mei got the better of frame six then had first chance in the decider and made 52 before missing a red to a centre pocket . O’Sullivan had a chance to counter but only made 16 before failing to pot a difficult red along a side cushion, and that proved his last shot as Mei added 71.

And more nice pictures by Tai Chengzhe – Thank you Tai!

I think we all saw it coming. Ronnie wasn’t at his best. He made no mystery of the fact that his main purpose was to gain some match sharpness ahead of the Yushan World Open, starting on October 28, 2019. Some of the shots he played against Hossein were the kind of shots I’ve seen him play in practice matches. That said he played much better against Mei Xiwen, and it really came down to only a couple of errors.

It’s also clear that he is no fan of the venue and he will be happy to sit on the couch in the studio or in the commentary box although he looked really annoyed with himself towards the end of his last match, which is good to see.

The 2019 English Open – Day 3

The last 64 round, played yesterday, saw the departure of the defending champion, Stuart Bingham and of Mark Williams.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan had to come from 2-0 down for the second consecutive match at the 19.com English Open but once again prevailed 4-3 to reach the third round.

He joins top stars including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen in a strong line up for Thursday’s action.

On Monday, O’Sullivan had to come from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill, and today’s meeting with China’s up-and-coming Yuan Sijun followed a similar pattern. Breaks of 79 and 104 put Yuan 2-0 ahead. Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan pulled one back with a run of 68 then Yuan went 3-1 up with a 66.

O’Sullivan then stepped up a gear and took the last three frames with 81, 84 and 87, making it six wins from six matches so far this season, having triumphed at last month’s Shanghai Masters. His next opponent is Iran’s Hossein Vafaei.

“I don’t judge whatever I do these days, I just go out and play,” said O’Sullivan. “Whatever happens this will be a fantastic week for me, if I lose I can do a bit of punditry.”

Trump’s 4-0 win over Daniel Wells was highlighted by breaks of 108 and 90. “I haven’t played well here so far, I am making errors,” admitted the world number one and World Champion. “I’m just trying to find some form, trying to get back to the way I played at the Crucible, playing with freedom and enjoying it.”

Robertson came through a tricky test against Marco Fu 4-2, compiling runs of 75, 50 and 100. “It was a tough draw and a good win – I had to prepare myself for the best Marco Fu,” said Robertson. “I am hungry to try to win a tournament as soon as I can this season.”

Stuart Bingham saw the defence of his title ended by a 4-1 defeat against China’s 17-year-old Si Jiahui.  Tour rookie Si hadn’t won a professional match before this tournament, but having knocked out Soheil Vahedi in round one, he got the better of Bingham with top breaks of 85 and 68.

World number three Mark Williams was another high profile casualty as he lost 4-1 to Michael Holt, whose top break was 86. “I just need to handle the nerves because that’s what has stopped me in the past,” said Holt. “If I keep this mentality and mindset, it doesn’t matter who I play. I feel better in practice than I have done for the last couple of seasons.”

Shaun Murphy beat Sunny Akani 4-1, making a break of 133 in the fourth frame. That was the 500th century of his career; he joins Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Ding Junhui as the only players to have crossed that milestone.

Jack Lisowski made a 59 clearance in the decider to edge out Alfie Burden 4-3, while three-time Crucible king Mark Selby top scored with 77 in a 4-1 defeat of Martin O’Donnell. Mark Allen saw off Andy Lee 4-0 with a top run of 86.

Kyren Wilson beat Bai Langning 4-3 thanks to a 65 in the decider, while David Gilbert made breaks of 130, 88 and 136 in a 4-0 win over Ryan Davies.

You can read more about Ronnie’s win and the manner of it here

Amongst the above results, Stuart Bingham’s 4-1 defeat by Si Jiahui is certainly the biggest surprise of the tournament so far. Stuart’s form has been dire so far this season.

Today, two rounds will be played: the last 32 and the last 16.

This the last 32 draw and schedule:

2019 English Open - Last 32

Despite a number of early exits at the top, it’s a very interesting line-up: nearly every match there would be worth the television table!

There are still four very young Chinese players in the draw, including Fan Zhengyi who hasn’t had the best time on the tour until now. I’m happy to see him improving; hopefully this will boost his confidence a bit.

Still in the draw as well is rookie Louis Heathcote, from Leicester. Louis impressed in the Q-school and his results so far confirm his quality: he’s won four of the seven matches he played so far.

Ronnie will first play Hossein Vafaei, someone he sometimes practices with when in Sheffield, and who he respects. It’s not an easy match for either of them, but hopefully it will be a good one. Ronnie needs to get match sharper. He wants to do well in Yushan. Should Ronnie win, he could well face his Nemesis, Elliot Slessor. Elliot faces Mei Xiwen in the last 32. Mei is a capable player but never came across as “top player” material. This season though he has so far won five of the eight matches he played, beating Li Hang, Yan Bingtao and Gary Wilson in the most recent ones. Also he faced another Chinese player in six out of nine of his past matches this season (there was one walk over). Maybe it’s seeding going against odds again, but it’s strange…

 

The 2019 English Open – Ronnie beats Yuan Sijun in the last 64

Ronnie beat Yuan Siju by 4-3 in the last 64 round today. However the scoreline is the only thing this match had in common with his first round win over Jamie O’Neil. Ronnie was focused, patient and totally professional from start to finish. And yet he had to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to get the win. Yuan, who is rated very highly by Stephen Hendry, played extremely well, and it’s only towards the end that he showed some signs of nerves and where, I assume, Ronnie’s experience got him through. The commentators stressed that this was the best match of the tournament so far.

EnglishOpen2019ROSL64Scores

In the studio, Ronnie was full of praise for his young opponent and quite happy with his own performance. He has barely played competitively for five months and he said that matches like this one is just what he needs to get sharp.

This is Ronnie postmatch in the studio:

This is the report by Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan had to come from 2-0 down for the second consecutive match at the 19.com English Open but once again prevailed 4-3 to reach the third round.

He joins top stars including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen in a strong line up for Thursday’s action.

On Monday, O’Sullivan had to come from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill, and today’s meeting with China’s up-and-coming Yuan Sijun followed a similar pattern. Breaks of 79 and 104 put Yuan 2-0 ahead. Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan pulled one back with a run of 68 then Yuan went 3-1 up with a 66.

O’Sullivan then stepped up a gear and took the last three frames with 81, 84 and 87, making it six wins from six matches so far this season, having triumphed at last month’s Shanghai Masters. His next opponent is Iran’s Hossein Vafaei.

“I don’t judge whatever I do these days, I just go out and play,” said O’Sullivan. “Whatever happens this will be a fantastic week for me, if I lose I can do a bit of punditry.”

This is the match::

Here are a few images … big thanks to Tai Chengzhe

The 2019 English Open 2019 – Day 2

The biggest upset yesterday was caused by Thepchaiya Un-nooh who beat Stephen Maguire by 4-0 and it’s nor much of an upset because Theppy on his day is a ferocious potter and a very heavy scorer. The scoreline though is severe.

Here is the report on yesterday action by Worldsnooker

Mark Williams, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen were among the day two winners at the 19.com English Open, with the top 12 seeds all through to the last 64 in Crawley.

All results

World number three Williams scored a 4-2 win over fellow Welshman Jamie Clarke.  After sharing the first four frames, Williams trailed 30-0 in the fifth, but came back to take it and then clinched victory in style in frame six with a 142 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament so far. He now faces Michael Holt.

“It could have gone either way, there were some close frames,” said three-time World Champion Williams, who was runner-up to Shaun Murphy at the recent China Championship. “It was scrappy though I finished it off well. I haven’t practised properly for the past year so I don’t deserve any results, how I got to the final of the last tournament I don’t know. I’ve got to get back to the practice table.”

Robertson needed just 52 minutes to beat Kishan Hirani 4-0 with breaks of 75, 71, 118 and 85.

“I stamped my authority on the match from the start and played nearly perfect snooker,” said Australia’s Robertson, who now meets Marco Fu. “I punished his mistakes and enjoyed the game.”

World number four Robertson has received plenty of joshing from his peers after driving to the wrong Barnsley for a qualifying match earlier this month.

“I was in the right postcode tonight so that was a good start,” smiled Robertson. “Joe Perry is convinced I was actually sitting at home and I made the whole thing up. I’d have to be a Hollywood script writer to make up a story like that.

“I have learned my lesson – when I set out for Crawley today I made sure I had the right postcode and I checked there is only one K2 venue in the town.”

Allen stepped up a gear from 2-2 against James Wattana to win the last two frames for a 4-2 scoreline. Breaks of 125 and 87 helped The Pistol set up a second round match with Andy Lee.

World number 14 Stephen Maguire (the 13th seed as John Higgins did not enter) was the highest ranked player to lose in the opening round. He lasted just 45 minutes against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, the fastest player on the tour,  who fired breaks of 86, 65, 117 and 75 in a 4-0 success.

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei edged out Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg 4-3, making a 42 clearance in the decider to win on the final black.

Jack Lisowski top scored with 79 in a 4-1 win over Jackson Page, while Kyren Wilson saw off Liang Wenbo with a top run of 95.

Scott Donaldson suffered a 4-3 defeat against China’s Zhao Xintong in cruel circumstances. In the deciding frame, Donaldson led 64-0 with five reds left when he potted a red, but accidentally knocked the blue in. That left Zhao 59 behind with 59 on the table and he cleared to force a respotted black, which he potted to secure an unlikely victory.

China’s 17-year-old Bai Langning top scored with 94 as he enjoyed a 4-2 win over Jimmy White; a player 40 years his senior. Sussex’s Mark Davis was runner-up last year but this time he suffered a first round exit, losing 4-2 to Graeme Dott.

Here is the dramatic end of the Donaldson v Zhao match:

Again there were lots of uncomfortably close matches but in most cases the highest ranked player came on to eventually.

Something that Worldsnooker did not report is how dispirited Mark William feels, but it was reported in the press:

But afterwards Williams claimed that his love affair with the sport he has graced for 27 years has hit a rocky patch.

“I’m just not enjoying it,” said the 44-year-old from Cwm.

“I’m not putting the work in, so I don’t deserve to get anything out of the game.

“Sometimes I feel quite close to finishing, to be honest.

“I’ll see after the world championships (in April), I’ll re-evaluate then.

“I’ll probably not (retire), but we’ll see.

“It’s something I’m going to think about.”

It was however Ronnie who triggered discussions and anger on social media by, again, criticising the conditions in Crawley

Ronnie O’Sullivan not impressed by English Open venue and Judd Trump not impressed by ‘Every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life’ comment

Ronnie O’Sullivan has again blasted the venue hosting the English Open – one year after brandishing the Crawley K2 Leisure Centre a ‘hellhole that smells of urine’.

The 43-year-old claimed every day in Crawley was ‘a day lost in my life’ in his sensational rant as he demanded a complete refurbishment of the venue.

O’Sullivan, a five-time world champion, came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill 4-3 in the first round on Monday.

And he even joked he would probably ‘end up with a bit of pneumonia’ in his criticism of the facilities.

“Every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life,” O’Sullivan joked to reporters in quotes reported by BBC Sport.

“It’s not changed as far as I’m concerned. You would have to change a lot in this place, a complete refurbishment probably. I’m not surprised; it’s what I expect it to be.”

“I’ve just gone from a match table, to a squash court to a toilet, where the players’ office is, from the toilet to walk around the outside of the building through the heavy rain to come here and talk to you [the press].

“I’ll probably end up with a bit of pneumonia on top of the cold I’ve already got.”

Meanwhile Judd Trump has lashed out at O’Sullivan, who also suggested the only redeeming feature of Crawley was ‘the M23 out of here’.

Trump also won his first round clash on Monday and refused to give any credence to claims made by ‘The Rocket’.

“Did he enter it this year? Well that says it all, doesn’t it,” the world champion said dismissively.

“The first time you go somewhere you never know, but if you’re entering the tournament a second time you can’t pick faults after you play for the second time.

“I want to play in every event that I can, last year was a bit disappointing here, it wasn’t quite up to scratch, but they’ve made a few changes.

“Anyone that’s entered it this year can’t really moan about conditions, they knew what they were like last year.”

Ronnie further caused outrage on social media when explaining how he deals with the frustration of playing “amateurs”

It’s of course not great to hear this if you are a low ranked player and Ronnie should be more considerate and think about how they feel hearing him there. That said, I’m certain that he’s not the only top player finding it difficult, especially the older ones. They did climb the rankings through a tiered system and earned their top player status by putting the work in and winning countless matches. For most of their careers they used to be seeded in the last 32. When there are 32 players at the venue it’s all very different: there is no need for a very big venue, it’s easier to “organise”, the officials are more available to the players needs, the players feel valued, treated as individuals, not numbers. I know for certain that Stephen Hendry hated the new system, hated the PTCs and the 128 field and it did certainly contribute to his decision to retire. John Higgins hasn’t entered this time, Mark Williams is demotivated. I’m not saying it’s because of Crawley – that would be daft – but I’m sure that the current system isn’t appealing to players their age and status.

The good thing for now though is that Ronnie knows how good Yuan Sijun is and respects him.

You can follow the tournament – with all detailed results on snooker.org

The 2019 English Open – Day 1 in Crawley

The first day at the 2019 English Open saw a good few high profile exits and close shaves… here are the results on snooker.org

You can read all about Ronnie’s narrow victory here

Ronnie wasn’t the only one to be pushed hard as  this report by Worldsnooker shows

World Champion Judd Trump eased to a 4-0 win over Peter Ebdon despite a top break of just 48.

“Hopefully I can get through the first couple of rounds and then I’ll feel like I’m really in the tournament,” said Trump, who landed his first Crucible crown in May. “There’s a lot of pressure off my shoulders now and it’s important for me to kick on. I’m young in snooker terms because a lot of players keep going until they are 45 or 50. It’s an exciting time in snooker now, there are a lot of big events. It’s important to go out and enjoy yourself.”

Defending champion Stuart Bingham had a tough battle against Kacper Filipiak, winning 4-3. Poland’s Filipiak made a break of 100 in frame four to level at 2-2 then Bingham replied with 103 to go 3-2 ahead. A tight sixth frame went Filipiak’s way but Bingham finished strongly with a run of 111.

It was still a good day for Polish snooker as Adam Stefanow scored an impressive 4-1 win over Luca Brecel.

Mark Selby compiled runs of 103 and 130 as he came from 2-1 down to beat Barry Pinches 4-2 while Alan McManus top scored with 76 as he beat Ali Carter 4-2.

China Championship winner Shaun Murphy boosted his hopes of winning back to back ranking titles as he saw off Chang Bingyu 4-2, pulling away from 2-2 with runs of 71 and 79 in the last two frames.

Sussex ace Jimmy Robertson made a 134 as he came from 2-0 down to beat Robert Milkins 4-2, while Ding Junhui’s hopes of regaining a top 16 place took a blow as he lost 4-3 to Dominic Dale

Judd was very far from his best – he didn’t have a single break over 50 in the match – and he was very lucky that Peter Ebdon played awful because he kept giving him good opportunities.

I saw nothing from the Bingham match, but I watched most of the Murphy one and he too was nowhere near the form that brought him to three finals already this season, including the 2019 China Championship title.

All this only confirms what Ronnie suggested in his postmatch: in those short format comps, the first matches are banana skins!

Both China top players, Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao are already out, as are Ali Cater, Anthony McGill and Luca Brecel. At the time of writing it seems the Stephen Maguire is heading out as well.

The 2019 English Open – Ronnie wins on day 1.

English Open 2019 - ROS Last 128 scores

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan avoided a shock exit on day one of the 19.com English Open in Crawley as he came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat former tiler Jamie O’Neill 4-3.

All results

EnglishOpen2019ROSL128-1World number 105 O’Neill had a golden chance to register his biggest career win in the sixth frame until he accidentally fouled on 33. O’Sullivan, ranked 103 places higher, punished him to progress to the last 64 at K2 Crawley. He’ll be back in action on Wednesday – tickets are still available –  click here for details.

O’Neill, who had been working on roofs for the past five years before regaining his pro status at Q School last May, coped well with the dizzy heights of the televised table in the early stages tonight, winning the opening frame with a break of 114, then dominating the second.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan hit back with runs of 90 and 102 for 2-2 then O’Neill made a 59 as he regained the lead in the fifth. In the next he was 33-0 ahead when he accidentally grazed a red he was cueing over. O’Sullivan replied with 54 then got the better of a safety battle on the last red and capitalised for 3-3.

O’Neill had two further chances in the decider but could only muster 15 points and had to watch as his opponent rattled off 81 to seal victory.

Ronnie O’Sullivan V Jamie O’Neill | English Open 2019 – Last 128

Here is Ronnie’s postmatch:

And couple more pictures thanks to Tai Chengzhe

Ronnie is right in saying  that the top player is on a hiding to nothing in those matches. They have all expectations on them, and their opponents usually can just play with freedom and enjoy the occasion. We saw it in other matches yesterday too as many top seeds struggled to win or actually lost like Ding Junhui, Yan Bingtao, Ali Carter and Anthony McGill. The very short format doesn’t help the best players either: yesterday Ronnie was 2-0 dow; in a best of seven, without interval, that a very perilous situation.

Inevitably, when Ronnie is struggling, there are people on social media who immediately claim that he isn’t bothered. It’s stupid and it’s unfair. If he hadn’t been bothered yesterday, he would have lost. It’s that simple. It’s unfair on Ronnie – or on any top player in the same situation – because they are human and form is not a tap they can turn at will. It’s unfair on their opponent, because they are pros or top amateurs and most of them can play. Jamie O’Neill never really made it as a pro, although he has been on and off the tour since 2003, but he has won two big titles as an amateur: the 2003 Under-19 European Championship and the 2006 English Open. He came back on the tour last May, via the Challenge Tour Event 1. He played very well yesterday. Presenting him only as a “former tiler” is reductive and a bit misleading as for most of his adult life he’s been a professional snooker player.

Also lets hope that the bad neck issue is solved asap.