It was far from straightforward for Ronnie tonight and the score doesn’t reflect how hard this match was. From the start Ronnie looked vulnerable. He was missing balls he wouldn’t normally miss, ran out of position numerous time and looked extremely upset and frustrated with his game. But somehow he held it together, stole frames he should have lost and won. How? I honestly don’t know! In his press conference he said that he’s struggling with his game since he hurt his back in October and was really all over the place tonight.
This, by the way, was Ronnie 62th match in the Masters, a new record. Jimmy White had 61.
This is how it unfolded:
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Stuart Bingham
Scores (Ronnie first): 59(59)-76(63); 63-40; 63-45; 74(70)-22; 121(121)-0; 69-67(67); 0-81(81); 9-75(52); 62-61
Match Progress: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 6-3
Centuries: Ronnie O’Sullivan: 121
Referee: Colin Humphries
Here is the video of match:
The interview in the studio post-match:
Some images of the match:
The players quotes (excerpt from World Snooker report)
“Stuart will feel that was one that got away,” said O’Sullivan. “If he had played the way he did at Sheffield he would have beaten me 6-1. It’s difficult at times because my touch and feel is so bad. I am butchering everything and I feel embarrassed. I’m not sure if it’s my back problem but my body and cue feel disconnected.
“I’m scared of going out there because I’m struggling with my game. I’m petrified, but I’ve got to go and do it. I’m like a golfer who faces a seven foot putt and hits it eight feet past the hole.
“Stephen Hendry should be the man to keep the records. I don’t deserve to be breaking the records that he and Steve Davis set because they were masters of the game. I believe in karma and my back going could be punishment for not focussing on snooker enough over the past two or three years. I’m not the same player I was three years ago.
“Barry Hawkins is scared of no one. If I play like I did tonight I expect him to rip into me and eat me for breakfast. If I play like I did against Mark Selby I’ll have a chance. Mentally I have been good this week and I won’t throw the towel in.”
Bingham said: “I was 3-1 down at the interval and I should have been 3-1 up. When you play Ronnie you have to take your chances. I pulled a couple back but then he potted the last red and cleared up – that’s Ronnie. He looked as if he’d had enough and didn’t care, and it’s hard to play against that because he goes for everything. When he’s sharp he doesn’t go for those type of shots.”
Tomorrow Ronnie will face Barry Hawkins in a rematch of the 2013 World Final. This is Ronnie’s 11th final at the Masters in 22 appearances. If he manages to win the Final he will equal Stephen Hendry’s tally of six Masters titles. It won’t be easy …
Hopefully with the support of his team and friends he can do it!
picture posted on twitter by Jason Francis