John Higgins proved too strong for Ronnie today as he beat him by 5-2 in the QF round. It’s not that Ronnie played badly really; he wasn’t at his best but, in my opinion, he would probably have beaten anyone else remaining in the draw on that game except maybe Marco Fu, and he certainly tried his hardest, but John was just too strong. Ronnie applied himself from start to finish, except for one shot – clearly driven by frustration – when he ran out of position on a 51 break in frame 4; funnily enough, this was still one of the two frames he won. Probably playing with a new tip didn’t help, but that was not the main issue. The fact is that John was the better player, the most accurate in his positional game – especially in safety battles – and above all the one who imposed HIS game to his opponent. Frankly, on that form, I can’t see anyone stopping John this week, except, maybe, again, Marco Fu who is scoring very heavily and possesses all the patience in the world.
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Friday 16 Dec 2016 03:18PM
John Higgins outplayed Ronnie O’Sullivan in a battle of two of snooker’s all-time greats, winning 5-2 to book a semi-final spot at the Coral Scottish Open.
Home favourite Higgins is now just two wins away from claiming the 29th world ranking title of his career, which would put him ahead of Steve Davis and O’Sullivan on the all-time list, behind only Stephen Hendry.
If Wishaw’s 41-year-old Higgins does go on to take the title and £70,000 top prize in Glasgow it would also be his third piece of silverware in the past six weeks having won the China Championship and Champion of Champions. His next opponent in the semi-finals at 1pm on Saturday will be Judd Trump or Robert Milkins (tickets still available, click here for details).
Higgins took a scrappy opening frame today then went 2-0 up with a break of 88. He dominated the third as well and might have gone 4-0 ahead but missed the final green with the rest late in the fourth. In the end it came down to a safety battle on the pink and O’Sullivan doubled it to a centre pocket to raise hopes of a fight-back.
But after the interval Higgins regained control, getting the better of a fragmented fifth to lead 4-1. O’Sullivan made 41 in the next before missing the black off its spot, but he got another chance and added 37 to pull one back. In frame seven, Higgins made 28 before running out of position, but a missed long red from O’Sullivan proved his last shot as his opponent finished in style with a run of 104.
“Any time you beat Ronnie it’s a special result, even though he didn’t play anywhere near his best,” said world number three Higgins. “He gave me a few chances too many. It will be another tough game whoever I play tomorrow. It’s great to be able to play here in front of my friends and family.”
O’Sullivan said: “John played really well, his all round game was strong. He’s a class act and very difficult to break down. You always have to feel you can get back into it otherwise there’s no point, but when he’s playing like that he’ll win a lot of tournaments. I’ve had a fantastic week and really enjoyed it. I love my Eurosport work and it means I can’t always prepare as well and focus on tournaments, but it’s the best option for me.”
So we can probably expect Ronnie to be back in the studio for the remaining part of the tournament.
Here is the match preview by the ES pundits: with some info on the tip issue …
Here is the match itself:
2016 Scottish Open: Ronnie O’Sullivan – John Higgins
and the MSI analysis
MissingClip 2016 Scottish Open: MSI of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – John Higgins match
Here is the postmatch analysis by the ES pundits: with John’s harsh criticism about the conditions and how it affects the player’s game
MissingClip 2016 Scottish Open: review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – John Higgins match
Barry Hearn’s reaction didn’t take much time to come out on twitter:
@andygoldstein05 His comments are in breach of his players contract and no mention has been made as yet from the players committee.
So basically, John – and others – should shut up and complain only “by the rules”. meaning not publicly, OK? But what if things go on for years, complains are filed and nothing changes? Because we have heard – and seen – about this for years now.
John has my sympathy and support here: he wasn’t speaking ill of anyone, he was just stating the facts, including the fact that the paying public deserves to see the full extend of the players skills under the best conditions. He will probably be punished for being honest and telling the truth. Someone should be ashamed and it’s not him!