As for the match itself, it started in a bit of a shaky way. Ronnie was well aware of the way he lost last season in the Welsh Open 2017 to Mark Davis: having raced to a 3-0 lead with three big breaks, he barely saw a ball once Mark started powering and eventually lost 4-3. Both players had a few bad misses, and Ronnie looked nervous. Mark took the scrappy first. But, with Steve Peters watching, Ronnie applied himself, and got better as the match unfolded, whilst Mark got worse. The last two frames were a break building masterclass, as 136, followed by 134, brought Ronnie’s century tally to 884.
Here is the report on Worldsnooker: (excerpt)
Ronnie O’Sullivan put on a sublime display to dispatch Mark Davis 4-1 and reach the last 32 of the Dafabet English Open in Barnsley.
The Rocket has been struggling with an ankle injury picked up whilst running in the build up to the event. He was given an exemption to the dress code, allowing him to use footwear which helps manage the effects of the problem. O’Sullivan had sport psychologist and mentor Steve Peters in the crowd supporting him this evening.
Last time the pair met at this year’s Welsh Open it was two-time Six Red World Champion Davis who came out on top. He battled from 3-0 down to overturn the Rocket 4-3. There was to be no comeback on this occasion.
Davis took the opener, before O’Sullivan claimed the lead at 2-1 following some closely contested frames. From there the five-time World Champion stormed to the line with a vintage display of break building. He fired in consecutive runs of 136 and 134 to wrap up the 4-1 win in style.
O’Sullivan said: “I know I will have to play two matches tomorrow if I won the first one, and the foot should now be up to that. I honestly didn’t think on Tuesday I was going to be able to play.
“It is better than the other day, and I am walking half-decent again. I like to walk at a decent pace out at the table, or I have no rhythm.
As reported by various sources in the British Press, this is what Worldsnooker issued:
“World Snooker has a dress code for all tournaments, but where players are injured they are given the opportunity to demonstrate medical reasons to show why they cannot adhere to certain parts of the dress code,” the statement said.
“Each case is dealt with individually. Ronnie O’Sullivan has been given an exemption to use footwear at the English Open which helps manage the effects of an ankle injury.”
Ronnie on twitter had everyone on the hunt for a pair of black trainers yesterday, but eventually, it was the makers of the blue ones, Saucony who sent him 3 different ones, for which he was very grateful.
Videos of interest:
The match preview:
Ronnie seems to be determined to do what is needed to get match sharp and looks hungry for winning again.
Today he has possibly two matches to play: first, a last 32 against a young Chinese, Zhang Yong, and should he win, John Higgins in the last 16.