Ronnie lost by 4-3 to an excellent Michael Holt in the last 32 of the world Grand Prix 2016. Find here the match details (source cuetracker):
Scores (Michael Holt first) : 88(88)-0; 80-16; 119(119)-0; 0-82(82); 8-84; 15-69; 110(76)-1
Read here the match report on Worldsnooker (excerpt):
Nottingham’s Holt dominated the early stages and surged into a 3-0 lead with top breaks of 88 and 119. World number four O’Sullivan then reeled off three frames in 26 minutes with a top run of 82 to make it 3-3.
Holt made 34 early in the decider then came out on top of a tactical battle as O’Sullivan missed a difficult and risky pot on a red to a centre pocket. That proved his last shot as Holt added 76 to seal the result.
O’Sullivan said: “I wasn’t really on form tonight. I gave it my best and I was pleased by the way I stuck in there and tried to turn it around. I couldn’t have got any more out of myself. My game just wasn’t strong enough to over-ride whatever Michael was doing. He scored well and I didn’t get much of a look in for the first three frames. He deserved to win. I won the Masters even though I was abysmal that week, then I had one good week at the Welsh Open. I’ve just been papering over the cracks and I need to find some sort of consistency if I’m to have any chance of a decent run in Sheffield. I need to do some work over the next few weeks.”
You can watch the match (again) here:
Big Thanks to Tain Chengzhe for these images:
Some personal reflections to conclude:
For someone who claimed recently that he isn’t bothered with any tournament, Ronnie looked pretty upset to me at the end of the match. Which is good to see. Also, I believe that if the match had been longer, best of 9 or certainly best of 11, with an interval, he would probably have got on top. That said Michael Holt played impressively well and his work with Terry Griffiths seems to be paying off. In the past, Michael was always a very, very good player but he had a history of losing matches despite being miles in front. There was absolutely no sign of that yesterday.
Some media of course are (over)using the word “shock” for this match outcome, but over such a short format, against an experienced and on form player who has spent most of his career in the top 32, it isn’t really a shock. Neil Robertson losing to Peter Ebdon was much more of a shock to me, because, frankly, Peter Ebdon wasn’t playing that well at all. Neil was shocking in that match.