Ronnie won a thrilling contest in front of a sell-out crowd this afternoon in Alexandra Palace. He lead 2-0, before spectacularly miscueing – sending the white jumping high over the black – when he looked set to take frame three as well. This looked like a turning point in the match as Mark Williams hit back and took four frames on the spin. But, from 4-2 down, Ronnie applied himself and won the next three frames, two of them with a century. He looked good to clinch the match when he made a 50 break in the next frame, but he broke down and Mark made a very good clearance to force a decider. Mark was first in the decider but could only make 28 of it; a missed long plant let Ronnie in and an excellent 62 break under pressure allowed him to take the match. Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) and Damian Hirst were in the house to support Ronnie.
This is an excerpt of the match report by Worldsnooker with both players quotes:
“We both struggled at times and missed a lot,” said O’Sullivan. “I didn’t feel nervous and it was nice to make a break in the last frame. I played a few exhibitions over the summer and I was playing well, but then I hurt my back and now I can’t get on the shot right. Maybe I’m just going through a period of playing poorly but that seems to have coincided with the back problem.
“I’m not in pain but I don’t feel balanced on the shot, there are too many moving parts. I’m not able to rip into the ball the way I like to, I’m tentative and I’m dollying the ball rather than punching through it. If I keep playing like that then there’s no point. I got away with it today but I can’t keep playing like that and expect to win. I got out of jail today and I just have to do my best with what I’ve got.”
Williams said: “It was a good game – I tried to hang in there but Ronnie was the better player. I was unlucky a few times but overall the best man won. I hardly got a shot from 4-2 to 5-4, and he finished it well in the last frame. If the plant had got in then I would have won, I knew I was sending the reds everywhere. It was a chance I had to take. I hit it at the right angle and I thought it was in.
“No one else can pull a crowd like Ronnie can.”
You can watch the match (again) here:
Here are the match stats:
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 Mark Williams
Scores (Ronnie first): 80-1; 55-47; 35-71(64); 27-67; 47-71; 5-68; 104(104)-0; 83(60)-12; 130(117)-0; 50(50)-85(50); 63(62)-28
Match Progress: 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, 6-5
Centuries: O’Sullivan: 104, 117
Referee: Colin Humphries