Ronnie played a lot better than he had on Wednesday to beat Gary Wilson by 5-3 in their last 64 qualifying match played in Barnsley yesterday evening. He will be in Berlin as a player next February.
As you can see above it was a high-quality affair; each frame had a break over 50. It was quite fast too, both players playing an open attacking brand of snooker, at a fast pace.
Ronnie raced to a 4-0 lead before the MSI, potting his opponent off the table for most of the first mini-session. After the MSI though, Gary came back determined to make a game of it, and, trailing badly, somehow relaxed and started getting about everything he took. Ronnie had grown cold during the break and for three frames had little answer.
At 4-3 though, Gary started to show a bit of nerves as the possibility for him to win the match became increasingly real. A couple of mistakes crept in and it’s all Ronnie needed to pounce and finish the job.
Here is the match:
There were no signs of the “I don’t want to be here” attitude that was apparent the day before. It was a professional performance on all accounts.
That does not mean that Ronnie agrees with the qualifying system in place as this tweet clearly states:
That looks well john Higgins not in the German masters. I’m sure the German fans and the promoter will be happy with that
His point is that the sport needs its stars at the television stages, if it is to succeed and find good sponsors. I’m sure that, on a personal level, he must have been delighted to see young Zhao Xintong succeed and beat John Higgins, as he rates him highly, likes his game and gave him some coaching. But this is about what the sport needs, not what he likes.
Speaking of twitter, Ronnie went on there before the match with some hilarious nonsensical ideas about how to help the skint players make some money, whilst himself would of course take his share too … Wanna be driven around by a snooker player? Read about it on Ronnie’s twitter feed … and have a look at the replies he got too.
I will do a round-up of the qualifying rounds tomorrow, when it’s all done. A lot happened out there, with Ali Carter and Ross Muir hitting a 147 each only minutes apart and playing each other today. There were a few “shocks” aswell, the biggest one being John Higgins exit at the hands of Zhao Xintong.