Ronnie won two very different matches yesterday, to book a quarter-final spot in the English Open 2017.
In the last 32, he faced Zhang Yong, a 22 years old Chinese player, and despite Zhang winning one frame, it was rather an onslaught. Ronnie won in less than an hour, with three centuries. The match ended in a bizarre fashion when a young lady invaded the floor, started running around the table, and Ronnie offered her to pot the last black, which she missed twice. The whole thing in good spirit. Even Zhang Yong was all smiles.
The last 16 was an entirely different affair. It was the clash of the round as old rivals Ronnie and John Higgins were set to face each other for the 62nd time, with Ronnie having won 30 for 27 to Higgins and 3 draws. They also had played 12 deciders, winning 6 each. Ronnie has the uttermost respect for Higgins’ game, he’s often said that Higgins is the toughest player he’s ever played, with Hendry, and the best all-rounder the game ever had. So it was a tense affair and Ronnie admitted in the post-match that he was nervous. The match didn’t disappoint. It was very high quality from both. Ronne was never in front, and it’s Higgins who scored the only century, a 138 TC in the first frame. But it was Ronnie who came on top in the deciding frame, with a fantastic 91 break, starting with a great long red and treating the fans to a break building masterclass.
Here are the match stats:
The report on Worldsnooker (excerpt)
Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins met in yet another classic encounter, with the O’Sullivan coming out on top 4-3.
It was the 62nd clash between the pair and it certainly lived up to the billing, with a run of over 50 in every frame.
The Wizard of Wishaw was the first to impose himself on proceedings with a brilliant break of 138, after a misjudged safety from O’Sullivan. The Rocket responded immediately with a break of 88 as they went blow for blow with big contributions.
There were further runs of 73 and 78 for Higgins and 84 and 60 for O’Sullivan as the match went down to a decider at 3-3. The five-time World Champion made a superb long red from Higgins’ break and compiled a break of 91 to claim a tremendous win.
O’Sullivan said: “We are pretty even in our record. That is a compliment, I’ll take that all day. If somebody said to me you will have an even career with John Higgins I’d take that. I’m happy to be compared alongside him.
“Nothing gets you focused like playing a top player. I think I got more out of that match than my last six or seven games.”
A few pictures taken on the day by Tai Chengzhe, thanks Tai!
Videos of interest:
Ronnie v Zhang Yong – preview
Ronnie v Zhang Yong – match
Ronnie v Zhang Yong – review
Ronnie v John Higgins – preview
Ronnie v John Higgins – match
Ronnie – John Higgins – review
Again very good, very positive interviews from Ronnie. It’s obvious that he feels at ease with the ES gang, with no fear to be baited or misquoted afterward.
Ronnie will now play Jack Lisowski, who beat Judd Trump last night, in the first match of this evening session. It’s now best of 9.