Ronnie had to win two matches yesterday and they couldn’t have been more different. He beat his good friend Jimmy White in the last 32, but it was a struggle, in part because it’s always difficult to play a really close friend, in part because of the damaged tip.
Interestingly, Ronnie was quite happy with the way it went, as he told to Eurosport (here reported in the Daily Mail)
‘I’m so happy with how I approached the match mentally,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
‘We both struggled a bit, but it’s so easy to give up sometimes when you’re playing like that, but I carried on enjoying it.
‘I thought ‘keep playing, keep potting balls, if you miss don’t worry about it. Just keep playing until the end’.
‘I enjoyed that match a lot more than when I played Jimmy in Ireland because he played with a bit more confidence, he’d won a few matches.
‘I know I could have scored more and done whatever, but my mental skills, I was over the moon with.’
O’Sullivan said he had no problem playing two tournament matches in one day and that he preferred the set up in the latest Home Nations Series event.
‘It’s easier,’ he added. ‘I think these tournaments, it should be done in maybe four days.
‘We all play two matches in one day, best of sevens. It gives you a bit of time to get a bit of rhythm and you feel like you can get some snooker under your belt and maybe play the final on the fourth day, or something like that.
‘I like it. It’s pure snooker.‘
Now, I’m not sure that Ronnie thought much about the logistic implications of this last suggestion, because playing the whole thing over four days is impossible unless you can set up something like 24 tables … the first round only comprises 64 matches. In the Welsh Open, the first two rounds have been played over 2 days, one half of the draw at a time, with 12 tables. Then the last 32 and last 16 could indeed be played over one day, as could the QF and SF, with four tables, but that would be rather tiring with QF being best of 9 and SF being best of 11. The final being over two sessions needs a day on its own.
Tips issues were so severe that Ronnie decided to change his tip just hours before his last 16 match, which is something that any pro would want to avoid. But it paid off, as he played much better in the evening than he had in the afternoon.
This earns him another clash with John Higgins today, at 12 pm local time.
Here is the report on Worldsnooker (excerpt):
Thursday 15 Dec 2016 11:32PM
Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins will go head to head in the last eight of the Coral Scottish Open on Friday.
The two all-time greats met in the recent Champion of Champions final, Higgins winning 10-7, and O’Sullivan will get the chance for revenge in Glasgow at 12pm on Friday (tickets still on sale, click here for details).
O’Sullivan scored a 4-2 win over Mark Allen in the last 16 in a high quality contest which featured breaks of 104, 103, 85 and 51 from the Rocket, while Allen also played his part with runs of 74 and 80 in frames three and five.
Earlier in the day, O’Sullivan had beaten fellow crowd favourite Jimmy White 4-2 in the last 32 with a top break of 114.
“I had a new tip on my cue tonight and it was a lot better,” said O’Sullivan, chasing his first title in ten months. “It can take three or four days to adjust to a new tip so it’s unfortunate to have to do that during a tournament but you just have to get on with it. I’m very pleased to win tonight and I scored well. I made a few mistakes from 3-1 up but Mark let me off.
“John will have the crowd supporting him tomorrow and he has done fantastic things for snooker in Scotland.”
Ronnie and Jimmy before their last 32 match:
MissingClip 2016 Scottish Open: preview of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Jimmy White
Last 32 match between Ronnie and Jimmy:
2016 Scottish Open: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Jimmy White
Ronnie post-match with ES
MissingClip 2016 Scottish Open: review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Jimmy White match
Last 16 match between Ronnie and Mark Allen:
2016 Scottish Open: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Mark Allen
Ronnie’s interview with Worldsnooker after his last 16 win: