Welsh Open 2019 – Day 6 in Cardiff – SF

After a tournament that produced surprises aplenty, with many top players crashing out in early rounds, we and up with two members of the top 16 competing in the final.

Indeed, yesterday, Stuart Bingham and Neil Robertson emerged the winners of two one-sided semi finals. Here is how we gor there (source Worldsnooker)

Stuart Bingham 6-2 Joe O’Connor

Stuart Bingham is through to the ManBetX Welsh Open final after defeating Joe O’Connor 6-2 in their last four clash at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

The five-time ranking event winner will now have appeared in three Welsh Open finals. Bingham lifted the Ray Reardon trophy in 2017 when he defeated Judd Trump, and also suffered a narrow loss against Stephen Maguire in the 2013 showpiece clash.

O’Connor’s fairytale run comes to an end. However, the 23-year-old tour rookie from Leicester can head home with memories of giant killing victories against Kyren Wilson, Ding Junhui and John Higgins. O’Connor pockets £20,000 for his run to the last four.

It took both players time to settle this afternoon and the pair traded two scrappy opening frames to make it 1-1. However, from there Bingham burst into life, with century runs of 107 and 100 putting him 3-1 ahead going into the mid-session interval.

Leicester’s O’Connor pulled one back when they returned. 2015 World Champion Bingham then swiftly regained control of proceedings. Further breaks of 104, 125 and 67 saw him surge over the line to book a place in tomorrow’s final.

“I’ve been there done it and got the t-shirt. That was probably the difference in settling down,” said Bingham. “We had a couple of frames when we couldn’t pot a ball and then I went on a four frame spurt when I couldn’t miss.

“I think when they make a mistake and you make a century, your opponent will start to second guess on 50/50 shots. It is like playing Ronnie, you know if you miss you are going to sit in your chair for the rest of the frame.  My game is there and long may it continue.”

O’Connor said: “It is a bit disappointing not playing as well as I have all week. Stuart played well and you can’t say much when he has made four centuries. He is a deserved winner and good luck to him.

“Beating Kyren Wilson, Ding and John Higgins, has sent my confidence through the roof at the moment. As long as I can avoid playing how I did today then I can compete with anyone.”

Neil Robertson 6-0 Hossein Vafaei

Neil Robertson produced a blistering display to brush Iranian Hossein Vafaei aside 6-0 and reach the final of the ManBetX Welsh Open at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

Australia’s Robertson is through to his third Welsh Open final. He dramatically won the title in 2007, defeating Andrew Higginson 9-8 to claim silverware and lost out in the 2016 final against Ronnie O’Sullivan. The Thunder from Down Under now faces Englishman Stuart Bingham in tomorrow’s showpiece match for £70,000 and the Ray Reardon Trophy. They will do battle over the best of 17 frames, with the first session starting at 1pm.

This week has already been an eventful one for the 14-time ranking event winner. He fired in the fourth 147 break of his career in the opening round against Jordan Brown. Last night, Robertson survived a scare in the quarter-finals, coming from 4-2 down to defeat Kurt Maflin 5-4. This evening’s match was a more one-sided affair.

Vafaei, competing in his second ranking event semi-final, struggled to settle and produce his best snooker. His learning curve at this stage of major competition has been a steep one, having lost out to Mark Williams 6-1 in the last four of the 2017 China Open. Iran’s first ever professional player will have to wait a little while longer to reach his maiden ranking final. However, he does pick up £20,000 for reaching the semi-finals.

There was a clear gulf between the pair’s performances this evening, with 2010 Crucible king Robertson stamping his authority from the off. A fine century run of 103 got Robertson off to the perfect start. Further breaks of 61 and a sublime 140 moved him 4-0 up at the mid-session.

It was a swift kill when they returned, with Robertson needing under half an hour to wrap up the final two required frames and seal a whitewash victory.

Robertson said: “You never really expect to win so comfortably. Hossein had his chances in the first four frames. Every little mistake he made I punished fully. That is what you have to do. You can’t let the crowd get behind the underdog. I just kept applying the pressure.

“I feel at the top of my game. No doubt. I’m hitting the ball great and playing with a smile on my face. The goal is to go out there and entertain the crowd and make them go away thinking about what a great match they have seen.

“Stuart Bingham is more than capable of crushing anyone on his day as well. He is such a heavy scorer. He plays the game very aggressively. We both play attacking snooker and hopefully I can get on top and have a good run and win convincingly. I’m also prepared for it being scrappy and can fight it out if need be as well.”

I didn’t see anything of the first match. Neil Robertson was truly impressive in the second one, but he also got some help from his opponent who never got going. Hossein didn’t play well, he made a lot of mistakes and every time left something for Neil who duly capitalised. During this match Neil had the form and the luck on his side!

It’s hard to predict a winner, but I slightly favour Neil Robertson today.

Ronnie was in the studio all day.

The latter with a lovely interview with Joe O’Connor

Welsh Open 2019 – Day 5 – QFs

Quarter Finals in Cardiff brought even more surprises to a tournament that’s already been full of them!

The biggest one probably being the defeat that Joe O’Connor, a player in his first ever year on the tour, inflicted to John Higgins. Joe had previously beaten Kyren Wilson and Ding Junhui to get to the QF stage, but hadn’t played on the main table yet. No problem!

Here are the reports on Worldsnooker:

Afternoon Session

World number 103 Joe O’Connor produced a giant killing win over defending champion John Higgins, coming through 5-3 in their quarter-final clash at the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.

The 23-year-old from Leicester is competing in his rookie season on the World Snooker Tour, having earned professional status by winning the EBSA Playoff last year. He also won the prestigious English Amateur Championship last term.

O’Connor hadn’t made it beyond the last 32 of any ranking event coming into this week. However, he has shown his big match metal over the last few days. The youngster has ousted German Masters champion Kyren Wilson, 13-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui and four-time World Champion John Higgins.

Higgins, who has won the Welsh Open a record breaking five times, will leave the Welsh capital disappointed after the shock defeat. However, he can take solace from the fact that he is now mathematically assured of a spot at the upcoming Player’s Championship, reserved for the top 16 players on this season’s money list.

This afternoon it was O’Connor who made a dream start. He composed an assured break of 73 to take the opener, before claiming the second frame to move into a 2-0 lead. Higgins hit back and contributions of 84 and 106 saw him force parity at the mid-session interval.

You would have been forgiven for thinking that the tide had turned. However, O’Connor continued to edge ahead in a match which he never trailed in. They traded frames until the Leicester potter found himself 4-3 ahead. From there O’Connor remarkably produced the highest break of his professional career in his most important frame so far. A contribution of 131 to secure a phenomenal 5-3 victory.

“I’m over the moon. This past week has been a bit of a dream. Beating Kyren Wilson and Ding and now Higgins. I’m speechless and don’t really know what to say,” said O’Connor. “Beating these players isn’t really something I went into the matches thinking I would do. I knew I was capable of doing it, but to do it on the big stage is completely different.

“All of the Leicester players have helped me, but especially Tom Ford. He has taken me under his wing. Tom has been a massive help. We practice together very often and he is the man to go to when I have a question.”

O’Connor’s opponent in the semi-finals will be 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham. The five-time ranking event winner was impressive during a 5-2 defeat of young Chinese star Zhao Xintong this afternoon.

Bingham, who won this event in 2017 by defeating Judd Trump in a classic final, looked to be in red hot form this afternoon. He fired in breaks of 134, 99, 59 and 67 on his way to a 4-2 advantage.

There was then a dramatic seventh frame, which came down to the colours. Eventually Bingham deposited a superb long range brown which allowed him to clear up and seal the frame and match.

Evening Session

Australia’s Neil Robertson battled back from 4-2 down to defeat Norwegian Kurt Maflin 5-4 and reach the semi-finals of the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.

Robertson, who lifted the title at the 2007 Welsh Open, has had an eventful week in Cardiff having already made a 147 in his opening round encounter with Jordan Brown. Following victory this evening, the 2010 World Champion remains in the hunt for a 15th career ranking title.

It was a gut-wrenching loss for Maflin, who had already enjoyed success at the Motorpoint Arena prior to this week. The world number 49 also appeared in the quarter-finals at the Cardiff venue back in 2017. He will pocket £10,000 for his run to the last eight this time around.

Maflin charged out of the blocks this evening with breaks of 63, 104 and 74 to move into a 3-0 advantage. Robertson kept himself in touch before the interval with contribution of 91 to make it 3-1.

When the pair returned, 37-year-old Robertson claimed a tight fifth frame to draw within one, before Maflin responded in turn to regain his two-frame advantage at 4-2. Breaks of 69 and a stunning 136 saw the Australian force a decider, where high drama ensued.

With a 10-0 advantage, Maflin inadvertently clipped the black into the bottom right pocket after potting a long range red, in a piece of unforeseeable poor fortune. Robertson ruthlessly pounced on that piece of bad luck to compile a break of 67, which sealed frame and match.

Robertson said: “I thought overall it was a terrific match. Both of us scored really heavily and I am gutted for Kurt at the end there. What a way to lose. He potted a really good long red and I don’t know how he knocked the black in.

“It was about concentration and being brutal in the moment, because when I came to the table I was thinking what a way for him to lose if I win the frame from here. On a personal level I love the guy. We spend Christmas together in Norway. I just had to tell my head to shut up and pot the balls.”

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei will face Robertson in the last four after demolishing Scotland’s Scott Donaldson 5-1.

It will be Vafaei’s second appearance in a ranking event semi-final, following his trip to the last four at the 2017 China Open where he defeated Judd Trump in the quarters. This evening Vafaei clinically took advantage of his opportunities.

After losing the first frame, he won five on the bounce with breaks 92, 76, 75, 62 and 54. Robertson and Vafaei will do battle tomorrow evening at 7pm, with Stuart Bingham and Joe O’Connor contesting the other semi-final at 1pm.

Kurt Maflin was really unlucky to pocket the black when leading by 10-0 in the decider; here is the shot:

Coverage

Ronnie was in the studio all day. He was full of praise for Joe O’Connor after his win over John Higgins, comparing him to Graeme Dott. Not sure if Joe will like the comparison but it was a genuine compliment. People only too easily forget how good a player Graeme Dott was. You don’t “fluke” three World Championship finals, including one victorious one.

Ronnie had also called correctly the outcome of the Neil Robertson v Kurt Maflin match. About Kurt – who was leading 3-1 at that moment – he said that he’s one of those players who can outplay you and still lose. Sadly that’s very true about Kurt, who, BTW,  he likes as a person. About Neil Robertson he stressed how dedicated and professional he is in all aspects of the sport and his career.

Welsh Open 2019 – Day 4 in Cardiff

Day 4 is also very busy in the Home Nations as 32 become just eight, and yesterday was no exception. Another host of top players went out: Ronnie, Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins in the last 32, then Mark Selby, Jack Lisowski  and Ding Junhui in the last 16. This leaves us with an eclectic line-up featuring only three of the last 16: Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and John Higgins, the defending champion. The latter isn’t playing particularly well but is still winning. Yesterday evening, Jack Lisowski really left him off the hook. Ding Junhui’s defeat means that he won’t be at the Players Championship, nor at the Tour Championship this year.

You can read all about Ronnie’s defeat at the hands of Alexander Ursenbacher here.

Alexander then went on to lose to Xao Xintong who seems to be in great form and scoring heavily. Xao who dropped off the tour at the end of last season, immediately requalified and has already won more money and points this season than any other Chinese player.

The man who stole the show though was Noppon Saengkham, who made a 147 and …

this shot

and the 147

Ronnie was back in the studio.

Here is some coverage:

And the reports on Worldsnooker

Last 32 round

Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher scored the best win of his career so far as he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 in the third round of the ManBetX Welsh Open.

So far this season, world number 71 Ursenbacher had not been beyond the last 64 of a ranking event, until this week as he is now into the last 16 in Cardiff to face China’s Zhao Xintong on Thursday evening.

Ursenbacher got to the semi-finals of the English Open last season but the 22-year-old subsequently struggled to replicate the same form – until today when he outplayed four-time Welsh Open champion O’Sullivan.

World number three O’Sullivan took the opening frame with a break of 118, his 994th career century, but he lost three of the next four frames as his Swiss opponent got on a roll with runs of 70, 52 and 57. In frame six, O’Sullivan had a chance to clear from 42-0 down to make it 3-3, but he missed the yellow off the last red on 35.

Ursenbacher was left with a tricky thin cut on the yellow to a baulk corner, playing the the rest, but executed it perfectly and cleared to the pink for victory.

“I didn’t expect to beat him, though I knew it was possible if I took my chances. I’m feeling good!” said Ursenbacher. “It’s my biggest win. If you play well then the wins come automatically. I’m full of confidence now but I won’t go any further if I don’t concentrate on each ball.”

Asked about the crucial pot on the yellow in the last frame, he added: “I wasn’t even sure if it went. I just knew if I hit it really thin with loads of side and didn’t hit the brown, it might go in. And I knew if I potted it I would win the match. Ronnie asked me at the end if the yellow went because he didn’t think it did, and I said ‘I don’t know!’ I just went for it.”

O’Sullivan said: “The better man won on the day. He potted some great balls and played with freedom and abandonment which is a fantastic way to approach any game. I’ve got nothing but praise for him, he’s great to watch. I had fun out there and gave it my best shot.”

Following the exits of Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson and now O’Sullivan, there were further surprise results as Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou scored a 4-2 win over Barry Hawkins while Ian Burns top scored with 103 in a 4-2 win over Mark Allen.

Burns said: “Mark is one of the best players in the world and his form has been unbelievable. He wasn’t at his best today but I played some good stuff myself.”

World number one Mark Selby beat Noppon Saengkham 4-1 in a high quality match. Selby compiled breaks of 107 and 115 while Thailand’s Saengkham made his first 147 in the second frame.

Jack Lisowski knocked in breaks of 127, 101, 82, 63 and 54 as he edged out Sam Craigie 4-3. Ding Junhui came from 2-0 down to beat Joe Perry 4-2 with a top break of 98. Neil Robertson recovered a 3-1 deficit to beat Paul Davison 4-3.

Last 16 round

Defending champion John Higgins made a trademark clearance in the deciding frame to beat Jack Lisowski 4-3 and reach the quarter-finals of the ManBetX Welsh Open.

Higgins is through to the last eight of a ranking event for only the second time this season and first since September’s China Championship.

The 43-year-old will take confidence from the way he finished off the match tonight in Cardiff, as he kept his pursuit of a sixth Welsh Open title alive.

It was high quality snooker with three centuries within the first four frames, Higgins making a 103 while Lisowski knocked in 134 and 115 to leave the score at 2-2. Scotland’s Higgins got the better of frame five, then Gloucestershire’s Lisowski levelled at 3-3.

Lisowski had two clear chances in the decider, but missed the green to a baulk corner on 26, then a tricky red to a centre pocket on 14. From 40-1 down, Higgins cleared the table superbly with 71.

Higgins will now face tour rookie Joe O’Connor, who scored the best result of his career so far with a 4-1 win over Ding Junhui. Leicester’s 23-year-old O’Connor scored a top break of 93.

“I played well, I took my chances,” said O’Connor, who also knocked out Kyren Wilson yesterday. “This has been my best tournament so far and I just want to enjoy it from now. It means the world because my dad and a few friends are here and it’s nice to see them proud.”

Stuart Bingham, who won this title two years ago, finished off a 4-2 win over Robbie Williams in sensational style. From 2-1 down, Bingham took the last three frames with breaks of 128, 103 and 124.

Neil Robertson took just 53 minutes to beat Michael Georgiou 4-0, knocking in runs of 79, 75 and 62. “When you play a second match in a day you never know who is going to recover the best,” said Australia’s Robertson.

“We had a laugh afterwards because Michael told me how knackered he was after the first couple of frames. Everyone today is just desperate to get to the quarter-finals, this is the trickiest day of the tournament. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow now.”

Alexander Ursenbacher knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier in the day but couldn’t keep his run going as he lost 4-2 to gifted Chinese potter Zhao Xintong, who fired runs of 104, 73, 56 and 86.

Scott Donaldson reached the semi-finals in Cardiff in 2017 and he needs just one more win to match that run. In the last 16 he saw off Ian Burns 4-2 with a top break of 110. Norway’s Kurt Maflin was another 4-2 winner, beating Elliot Slessor with a top run of 78.

At this stage, I admit that I’d like to see an “outsider” win the title. Joe O’Connor who is in his first year on the tour really impressed me since December, and Xao Xintong proving he’s not a flash in the pan would be great as well. Unlikely, but the way this comp is going you never know…

 

 

Welsh Open 2019 – Ronnie loses to Alexander Ursenbacher in the last 32

Ronnie was beaten in the last 32, by 4-2, by Alexander Ursenbacher.

Welsh OPen 2019 ROS L32 Scores

Ronnie started impressively with a century. In the second frame he was in first, missed a red, whilst splitting the pack wide open – that red, played a speed literally flew out of the pocket – and Alexander made 70 from there. In every of the remaining frames, Alexander was first in, usually from distance. Ronnie managed to steal frame three with 63, after his opponent missed having scored a 52. But in the next two he only scored one point. In the last frame, Ronnie had a chance to steal, but missed a slightly difficult last yellow. This is the type of ball you would expect him to get normally, but maybe not so easy when on the brink of defeat having been kept cold in his seat for the best part of two frames and a half. Back at the table, Alexander took an extremely difficult yellow on, with the rest – a shot that was all or nothing really – got it and cleared from there. It was an excellent performance from the young Swiss who deserved the win. Ronnie himself didn’t do that much wrong. His long potting was a bit of a weaker point today.

WelshOpen2019ROSL32Lost

Alexander Ursenbacher reached the semi finals at the English Open 2017, but since then had done very little. That time he had beaten Ken Doherty, Anthony Hamilton, Stuart Carrington, Shaun Murphy (by 4-1!) and Michael White en route. He seems to be the kind of player who plays either really well, or really badly. Strange.

Coverage

Match Previews

Match Action

Match Reviews

And here is the report on Worldsnooker (Excerpt)

Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher scored the best win of his career so far as he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 in the third round of the ManBetX Welsh Open.

So far this season, world number 71 Ursenbacher had not been beyond the last 64 of a ranking event, until this week as he is now into the last 16 in Cardiff to face China’s Zhao Xintong on Thursday evening.

Ursenbacher got to the semi-finals of the English Open last season but the 22-year-old subsequently struggled to replicate the same form – until today when he outplayed four-time Welsh Open champion O’Sullivan.

World number three O’Sullivan took the opening frame with a break of 118, his 994th career century, but he lost three of the next four frames as his Swiss opponent got on a roll with runs of 70, 52 and 57. In frame six, O’Sullivan had a chance to clear from 42-0 down to make it 3-3, but he missed the yellow off the last red on 35.

Ursenbacher was left with a tricky thin cut on the yellow to a baulk corner, playing the the rest, but executed it perfectly and cleared to the pink for victory.

“I didn’t expect to beat him, though I knew it was possible if I took my chances. I’m feeling good!” said Ursenbacher. “It’s my biggest win. If you play well then the wins come automatically. I’m full of confidence now but I won’t go any further if I don’t concentrate on each ball.”

Asked about the crucial pot on the yellow in the last frame, he added: “I wasn’t even sure if it went. I just knew if I hit it really thin with loads of side and didn’t hit the brown, it might go in. And I knew if I potted it I would win the match. Ronnie asked me at the end if the yellow went because he didn’t think it did, and I said ‘I don’t know!’ I just went for it.”

O’Sullivan said: “The better man won on the day. He potted some great balls and played with freedom and abandonment which is a fantastic way to approach any game. I’ve got nothing but praise for him, he’s great to watch. I had fun out there and gave it my best shot.”

and Ronnie tweeted this

Screenshot 2019-02-14 at 20.52.50.png

And he was in the studio before the evening session and you can hear his reaction here

Welsh Open 2019 – Day 3 in Cardiff

The second round – last 64 – at the Welsh Open 2019 was played to completion yesterday  and saw the departure of Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson and Shaun Murphy.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Masters champion Judd Trump and World Champion Mark Williams both suffered surprise defeats in the second round of the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.

All results
Tickets

Trump has been arguably the player of the season so far having won the Northern Ireland Open, the Masters and last week’s World Grand Prix, but he was beaten 4-2 by Duane Jones, ranked 68 places below him at 72nd in the world.

Jones, a 25-year-old former barman from Mountain Ash, enjoyed the best week of his snooker career at the recent German Masters when he reached the semi-finals, knocking out the likes of Jack Lisowski and Ding Junhui. And he claimed another big scalp with a composed performance against Trump.

After taking the first frame with a 40 clearance, Jones won the second and third on the colours. Trump came from 69-0 down to snatch the fourth and also took a scrappy fifth to make it 3-2, but Jones sealed victory in the next with a break of 68.

“I didn’t feel nervous, I knew my game was in good shape, I just tried telling myself that,” said Jones, who now meets Robbie Williams in the last 32. “So many times, I’ve played these players on TV and I have given up before I started. It was a good occasion today and I enjoyed it.”

Williams, who was the last Welsh winner of this title back in 1999, lost 4-2 to China’s Zhang Anda, whose top break was 71.

World number two Williams said: “I was rubbish. He was by far the better player. He cues and scores well so I’m surprised he’s not higher up the rankings.”

Four-time Welsh Open champion Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his third round place with a 4-2 win over Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun. After losing the first frame, O’Sullivan took four of the next five with top breaks of 120, 66, 90 and 99. He now meets Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher.

“I don’t look into how I’m playing,” said O’Sullivan, who moved his career century tally to 993. “One day is rubbish and I’m a bit more miserable, then the next day is better and I get more of a spring in my step. I’d like to win a couple of more matches here and see how it goes because it feels as if it’s coming pretty easy to me mentally and physically. Whereas last week in Cheltenham I was so happy when I lost. I went to Sheffield for a few days, sat on my boat and did some practice.

“Yuan is a very good player which is great for the game if he can continue on the same trajectory. He has potential to be a World Champion. He’s going to be a huge star in China so it will be interesting to see how he handles that.”

Amateur James Cahill, who knocked Mark Selby out of the UK Championship,  claimed another fine win with a 4-2 defeat of Shaun Murphy. Cahill, whose top break was 115, said:  “I like the challenge of playing against the top players. I had a lot of luck, otherwise I wouldn’t have won that game, but it’s still nice to win.”

German Masters champion Kyren Wilson also suffered a surprise defeat as he went down 4-3 to tour rookie Joe O’Connor.

Best performance of the day came from Zhao Xintong, who beat Zhou Yuelong 4-0 with runs of 132, 103, 97 and 70. World number one Mark Selby made a 128 in a 4-0 win over Adam Duffy.

Ding Junhui came from 3-2 down to edge out Oliver Lines 4-3. China’s Ding, who won this event in 2012, took frame six on the black then won the decider with a run of 72.

Martin O’Donnell, currently 17th on the one-year ranking list, boosted his hopes of qualifying for next month’s Players Championship by beating Ricky Walden 4-1 with a top run of 113.

Jack Lisowski made breaks of 140 and 122 in a 4-3 win over Marco Fu while Scottish Open champion Mark Allen top scored with 100 in a 4-1 win over Mei Xiwen.

Germany’s Lukas Kleckers scored an impressive 4-3 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh while Jimmy Robertson came from 3-0 down to edge out Nigel Bond 4-3 with a top break of 104.

Remarkably, no quotes from Judd Trump who was obviously very disappointed. But he didn’t play well and once again this match showed that, IMO, he hasn’t yet the consistency required for the Crucible AND he looked vulnerable mentally once things started to go astray.

Here is the review of the Williams v Zhang match with Ronnie, Neal Foulds and Andy Goldstein in the ES studio.

You can read all about Ronnie’s match here

Today, the players have possibly two matches, with the last 32 and last 16 rounds played to completion. As lewis mentioned in his comment it’s an interesting field remaining with 9 of the top 16 still in it (8 of the one year list top 16) , and quite a number of young players.

Welsh Open 2019 – Ronnie wins his last 64 match, beating Yuan Sijun by 4-2

WelshOpen2019ROSL64Win

Same score as in the last 128, but very different matches. Ronnie was well aware of his young opponent quality – Yuan has beaten both John Higgins and Mark Williams this season – and gave the match his full respect and attention.

WelshOPen 2019 ROS L64 Scores

Yuan didn’t play badly at all, his safety was excellent overall, all the most remarkably because he is still very young, only eighteen. But Ronnie was focused and on his game, except maybe a short dip in concentration in frame five. He played attacking snooker, without being reckless. This was an excellent match, played in great spirit too.

Oh and Ronnie was abit michievious again.

Coverage

Match Previews

Match Action

Match Reviews

And the preview of the evening matches, with Ronnie in the studio discussing his afternoon win.

Plus some great images thanks to Tai Chengzhe !

Here is the report on Worldsnooker: (excerpt)

Four-time Welsh Open champion Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his third round place with a 4-2 win over Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun. After losing the first frame, O’Sullivan took four of the next five with top breaks of 120, 66, 90 and 99. He now meets Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher.

“ I don’t look into how I’m playing,” said O’Sullivan, who moved his career century tally to 993. “One day is rubbish and I’m a bit more miserable, then the next day is better and I get more of a spring in my step. I’d like to win a couple of more matches here and see how it goes because it feels as if it’s coming pretty easy to me mentally and physically. Whereas last week in Cheltenham I was so happy when I lost. I went to Sheffield for a few days, sat on my boat and did some practice.

“Yuan is a very good player which is great for the game if he can continue on the same trajectory. He has potential to be a World Champion. He’s going to be a huge star in China so it will be interesting to see how he handles that.”

Welsh Open 2019 – Day 2 in Cardiff

Day 2 in Cardiff brought a lot of discussions, and a 147 but no real surprise result.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan said “all-out attack is sometimes the best form of defence” after a 4-2 win over Sanderson Lam in the first round of the ManBetX Welsh Open.

O’Sullivan delighted the Cardiff crowd with flashes of his brilliant best as he set up an intriguing last-64 clash with Chinese prodigy Yuan Sijun on Wednesday afternoon.

World number 105 Lam, ranked 102 places lower than his illustrious opponent, threatened an upset when he led 2-1, only for O’Sullivan to reel off three frames in a row with top breaks of 95 and 116. The second of those was his 992nd career century, and in fact the first would have given him one more ton had he given referee Brendan Moore time to replace the pink before potting the last red. The break would have moved to 101 but for the foul.

“I enjoyed it, it was a nice game to play in,” said O’Sullivan, who has lifted the Welsh Open trophy four times, most recently in 2016. “He’ll be disappointed because he had chances. Attacking is my style of play and it has got me this far over many years. You have to stick to what you know best. It might look reckless but I still fancy getting most of those shots.

“I’m certainly not looking any further than the next round. My next match is tough, against a young Chinese player who has been beating everyone, so it will be a good result if I can win that one.”

World number one Mark Selby was in superb form in a 4-2 win over Anthony McGill, knocking in breaks of 139, 75, 61 and 80.

“Overall I played well and won frames in one visit,” said Selby, who won this title back in 2008. “I played Anthony in the Championship League a few weeks ago. He said he had been struggling and he was changing his technique and lacking a bit of confidence. I said to him just to try to enjoy it and to go back his old ways because he’s a great player. Today he looked dangerous again. He’s a good lad and hopefully he kicks on.

“It is one of my goals to hold on to my world number one spot. Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump are getting close so it’s up to me to try to perform better and get to the later stages of more tournaments. I’m playing really well in patches then putting in the odd poor performance and I can’t put my finger on why that is.”

Welshman Duane Jones, who got to his first ranking semi-final at the German Masters earlier this month, edged out Xiao Guodong 4-3 to set up a match with Judd Trump.

“This one means a lot because it’s the first time I’ve had all the family with me, and guys from the club I practise at came down,” said Jones. “That’s the most nervous I have ever felt playing a snooker match. When I play Judd I’m going to relax a little bit more and embrace it.”

Ding Junhui, who has to win the tournament to qualify for next month’s Players Championship (read more on that race here), started well with a 4-0 defeat of Chris Totten.

German Masters champion Kyren Wilson conceded just 36 points as he beat Andy Lee 4-0 with runs of 63, 88, 67 and 60.

“It’s a nice start to the week, if you can save energy hopefully it will put you in good stead for later on,” said Wilson, who has won three titles this season.

“When you’re playing well and you’re enjoying everything, it’s like a drug – that’s the best way to explain it. Snooker is an addictive game and you just want to keep on playing.”

Veteran Jimmy White, the oldest player in the field at 56, came from 2-1 down to beat Andrew Higginson 4-2. Stuart Bingham top scored with 90 in a 4-0 defeat of World Grand Prix finalist Ali Carter.

China’s Zhao Xintong top scored with 106 in a 4-1 win over Jackson Page, though promising Welsh amateur Page did make a 104 in the opening frame. Barry Hawkins beat Sunny Akani 4-0 with a top run of 91.

Mark Selby was in the studio discussing his match and form:

And Neil Robertson had a 147 in the late evening… 

Neil Robertson fired in the fourth maximum break of his career on day two of the ManBetX Welsh Open at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

The stunning 147 break came in the fourth frame of his last 128 clash with Northern Ireland’s Jordan Brown. The Australian followed that up with a break of 140 to secure a superb 4-1 victory.

The 2010 World Champion is now in line to pocket a potential £15,000 payout from the rolling 147 pot and an extra £2,000 for the high break prize. It is the 148th official maximum break on record.

Here it is …

And the review of that match with Neil

And all about Ronnie’s match is here