Neil Robertson played superbly to beat Ronnie by 6-3 in the Final of the Hong Kong Masters 2017. Congratulations Neil.
The match though was a bit closer than the score suggests: Ronnie narrowly lost frames 6 and 7; in frame 7 Neil needed one snooker, laid a good one on the yellow, which Ronnie escaped, but, doing so was unlucky to pocket the green, giving Neil the penalty points he needed, and leaving the yellow over a middle pocket as well.
Here is the report by Worldsnooker:
Sunday 23 Jul 2017 03:57PM
Neil Robertson put on a sublime display to see off five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 and lift the Hong Kong Masters title.
The Thunder was faced with three of the biggest names in the sport this week, but he managed to overcome World Champion Mark Selby, local hero Marco Fu and 28-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan to claim the crown. The Australian takes the top prize of £100,000. It’s the third invitational title of his career following victories at the 2012 Masters and 2015 Champion of Champions.
O’Sullivan came from behind in his opening two matches against John Higgins and Judd Trump, to force deciders which he won. However, he was unable to repeat his heroics this evening.
The Rocket took the opening frame, before Robertson responded with breaks of 73 and 80 to take the lead. Both players made contributions of 67 in the fourth frame, but it was O’Sullivan who deposited the final black to restore parity at 2-2.
The Englishman then produced a spellbinding run of 143 to take fifth frame and lead 3-2. However, from that point on Robertson took control. The 12-time ranking winner won four frames on the bounce, finishing with breaks of 68 and 82, to lift the title.
A joyous Robertson remarked: “This event had the best eight players in the world. The draw I had was incredible. Mark Selby, Marco Fu and Ronnie O’Sullivan. It doesn’t get any harder than that. To do it in front of three thousand people was amazing. That was the best playing experience of my career.
“Last season was really bad by my standards and I think I needed that to happen to know what to do going forward. This was the first big tournament of the campaign and my preparation was fantastic. I’ve worked really hard and I just have to do this for the rest of my career. I need to play this aggressive as well. I didn’t let Ronnie dictate the pace of the match.
“I’m not going to target certain events. I just need to practise from start to finish. Mark Selby has really inspired me. Seeing how hard he works. Usually I don’t do much practising during events. But I have done a little bit extra during this week and it showed.”
O’Sullivan was in reflective mood after the defeat, but admitted he needs to make a change with his cue.
“If at the start of the week you told me I would be in the final I would have taken it,” said O’Sullivan. “I don’t make excuses but I will be getting rid of my cue after this week, it’s finished. There were certain shots I couldn’t play as it has lost it’s feel. I just have to take the positives out of this week.”
I wrote in a previous post that Ronnie had some repair work done on his cue. It seems unfortunately that the cue is damaged beyond rescue…
Here are some images courtesy of Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!
Ronnie though didn’t have an all bad day in Hong Kong … before the match, other than practicing, he also played a bit of table tennis and had lunch with Django Fung and his family. Django is Ronnie’s former manager and they are close friends.
Here is the final (Chinese commentary):
Ronnie made a 143, the HB of the tournament in frame 5, and frame 4 saw both players score a 67 break, before Ronnie took it on the re-spotted black.