English Open 2016 – Ronnie edges past Zhao Xintong by 4-3 in the last 64

Ronnie survived a very difficult last 64 match against young Zhao Xintong, a first year professional form China. Zhao was twice an Amateur World Championship finalist before entering the main tour. He is for sure one to watch for the future. Ronnie compared him to Stephen Hendry after the match, and said that he’s a really beautiful player.

Truth to be said, he totally outscored Ronnie for the best past odf the match and it’s only experience and iron will to win that got “the Rocket” through.

Match report by Worldsnooker:

Thursday 13 Oct 2016 12:11AM

Ronnie O’Sullivan edged a 4-3 victory against hugely talented Chinese teenager Zhao Xintong on Wednesday night to reach the last 32 of the Coral English Open.

mg_0369Tipped as a potential world beater, 19-year-old Zhao showed his scoring power with two centuries and the tour rookie had chances to win from 3-2 up. But eventually it was crowd favourite O’Sullivan who came through to set up a third round match with Chris Wakelin on Thursday at 12pm (tickets still available, click here for details).

O’Sullivan narrowly missed out on a 29th career ranking title at last week’s European Masters in Romania, losing 9-8 to Judd Trump in the final, and looks to be building momentum again this week in Manchester.

Zhao made a blistering start with a 130 total clearance in the first frame. O’Sullivan levelled by clearing from yellow to pink then a run of 85 put him 2-1 up. Zhao responded with a 107 to win the fourth frame and came from 50-0 down in the fifth to take it with a superb 80 clearance. In frame six, Zhao had a match-winning opportunity but could only make 28 before running out of position. O’Sullivan later cleared from the last red to make it 3-3.

A break of 62 put O’Sullivan in charge of the decider, and Zhao’s attempted counter-attack ended when he missed a red to a top corner on 18, allowing his opponent to wrap up the result.

“Zhao is an amazing talent, he has fantastic technique,” said five-time World Champion o’Sullivan. “He reminds me of Stephen Hendry when he first came on the scene – very compact, a good scorer and fearless. If he gains a bit of experience he will be an unbelievable player. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, if my form gets stronger I might fancy it a bit more. At the moment I’m just digging in and trying to scrape a few results.”

Here is the match if you wish to watch it (again):

Ronnie praised his young opponent during his post match interview with Worldsnooker and compares him with Stephen Hendry.

And in the context of his work with Eurosport Ronnie gave Andy Goldstein (and us) a creash course in break building … and why he breaks lefthanded

Today will see the completion of two rounds: the last 32 and the last 16. Ronnie will face Chris  Wakelin at 12 pm (midday) in the last 32.