Welsh Open 2017 – Ronnie goes out to Mark Davis in the last 64

Ronnie’s title defence and bid for a record fifth Welsh Open title came to an end in the last 64, as he lost by 4-3 to Mark Davis, from 3-0 up.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker (excerpt):

Wednesday 15 Feb 2017 11:23PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan let slip a 3-0 lead as he lost 4-3 to Mark Davis in the second round of the Coral Welsh Open in Cardiff.

On a day of shocks at the Motorpoint Arena, O’Sullivan joined Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu as casualties in the last 64 of the world ranking event.

O’Sullivan had been seeking to win his fifth Welsh Open title and defend the crown he captured last year. But he lost focus after winning the first three frames, allowing world number 31 Davis to take advantage and set up a third round meeting with Fergal O’Brien.

Five -time World Champion O’Sullivan looked in full control when he knocked in breaks of 97 and 74 to go 2-0 ahead, then dominated the third frame. But Davis launched his fight back with a run of 65 then got the better of a scrappy fifth frame, O’Sullivan crucially missing the final green to a centre pocket. Davis kept his momentum going and fired breaks of 81 and 64 to take the last two frames.

At 3-0 down it wasn’t looking good,” said Sussex’s 44-year-old Davis. “I just dig in, I never give up, you never know what can happen. You just battle on, even against Ronnie. I know I can win it if I play my game – there is no point talking about it, you have to go and do it. I have known that for a long time, I know how good I am, there is no reason I can’t win it.

Now I won’t deny that this is a bit worrying, not so much the fact that Ronnie lost, but the way he did, after a similar defeat to Mark King in the German Masters.

I have no doubts that his game is in good shape; Jimmy White said it earlier this week as well: he played a lot of fantastic shots in both matches, but made a number of bad mistakes too as his attention seems to be fickle and it costs him. It’s hard to know why, unless he speaks out. It may be anything really: off the table concerns, unhappiness with how Worldsnooker handles the media side, tiredness caused by sleeping problems, or lack of confidence and anxiety. All of these are possibilities – it all happened before, and been overcome – but they are no more than just possibilities. Only he will know … if he knows. I just hope he can tackle it before the Crucible. He now has a break for about three weeks to work on his game and any issue he may have before the Players Championship. Let’s hope for the best.

One important point is that, with a lot of shocks in this tournament, including among those chasing the top 16 spots, Ronnie’s Crucible place is now fairly safe whatever happens until April.

Anyway here are a few pictures courtesy of Tai Chengzhe (Thanks Tai!)

And the match:

It was actually a very good match for the neutral. Mark Davis played really well.

Tai has been kind enough to also provide a few images from Ronnie’s last 128 match. Check this updated post.

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