Ronnie and Kyren Wilson came out the winners of two very different semi-finals.
You can read the reports by Worldsnooker here:
Kyren Wilson has reached his first ranking final on UK soil after defeating Swizerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher 6-3 at the Dafabet English Open in Barnsley.
The 2015 Shanghai Masters Champion will be hoping to capture a second ranking title, after falling short in his previous two appearances in a final. He lost out in the showpiece match at the Yushan World Open earlier this season to Ding Junhui, who ran out a 10-3 winner.
Switzerland’s only professional Ursenbacher couldn’t quite clinch his spot in the final, but it has been an excellent week for the world number 91. He only regained his spot on the tour at in March, after winning the European Under-21 title. This was comfortably Ursenbacher’s best professional showing, having never previously gone beyond the last 32 stage.
21-year-old Ursenbacher showed no signs of nerves today, as he immediately stamped his authority on the tie, making breaks of 64 and 84 to move 2-0 ahead. Wilson clawed one back with a run of 77 in the third frame.
There was then a key turning point prior to the interval. Ursenbacher had a prime opportunity to restore his two frame advantage, but left himself a tough pot on the final brown which he missed and allowed Wilson to level.
They traded the first two frames after the interval, but from that point Kettering’s Wilson burst into life. Breaks of 124, 75, 56 and 90 saw him storm to the line and come out a 6-3 victor.
“It was a good win. Very different to yesterday’s match, it seemed to flow and we both went for our shots. I think that was why we saw quite a lot of big breaks. I’m very impressed with Alex, I think he has a great future ahead of him if he carries on in that way.
“I’m in it to win it. I’ve lost my last two finals and it would be great to lift the trophy tomorrow.”
Wilson also explained why he was using a lighter on his tip in the arena (watch here) saying: “It’s a little technique. Using sandpaper can tear the tip apart. You can see little bits fraying on the side. Using a lighter just burnishes it.”
Ursenbacher was disappointed to fall short, but also pleased with what has been a very successful week.
“I didn’t expect to reach the semis when I entered,” said Ursenbacher. “Beating Shaun Murphy was a cracker for me. I didn’t really expect it. I thought he was going to bash me up! I just kept digging and it went well for me.
“I started off quite well today. But then I made some mistakes. From then on he played really well so fair play to him.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan secured his place in the final of the Dafabet English Open with an absorbing 6-4 defeat of Anthony McGill in Barnsley.
Tomorrow’s showpiece clash with Kyren Wilson will be the Rocket’s 43rdappearance in a ranking final. He hasn’t lifted ranking silverware for the past 20 months, having lost two finals last season. Although he did win a record seventh Masters title in January.
O’Sullivan established an early lead today and would have been forgiven for thinking it could be a brief night’s work. He holds a 100% record against McGill and had won all five of their meetings prior to this evening’s clash.
The Scot will have to wait for his first ranking title on UK soil. However, he can take solace in the fact that he is enjoying his most consistent run as a professional, having reached a final, a semi-final and three quarter-finals this campaign.
It was a rapid opening from the five-time World Champion this evening. He burst to a 3-0 advantage with runs of 62, 52 and 77. However, a gutsy contribution of 57 from McGill kept him within touch at the interval with the score at 3-1.
O’Sullivan re-asserted his authority when they returned, firing in a sublime break of 139 to lead 4-1. However, that wasn’t the killer blow as the resolute Scot refused to wilt under the pressure. Back-to-back frames pulled him within one at 4-3, before a hugely dramatic eighth frame.
McGill had trailed 42-1, before compiling a tremendous run of 62. The frame looked at his mercy after developing the final brown. However, he jawed it and left O’Sullivan to dramatically clinch the frame on the black and move 5-3 ahead. (watch here)
The Scot continued to apply pressure and made it 5-4 thanks to a break of 71. However, the Rocket wasn’t to be denied. He deposited a fine long red from the break and went on to clear with 133 to finish off a thriller.
When asked about trying to match John Higgins’ tally of 29 ranking titles O’Sullivan said: “I’d be silly to say I don’t want to break all of the records. Who wouldn’t? But for me it is all about the competition and enjoying it. Ranking titles and championships should happen organically. Tonight it was a great atmosphere and I think we created that.
“Kyren is solid and has a great technique. He’s already won a ranking title. There are six or seven good young players who are hungry. Guys like John Higgins and I now need to put the work in. We probably need to do it in spurts. If I am going to win tomorrow, I’ll need two or three of them.”
Afterwards McGill admitted that his miss in the eighth frame could have been an important moment.
“In hindsight I probably should have just screwed back on the brown. I didn’t need the blue, but I should have played the ball the way I normally would,” said the 2016 Indian Open Champion. “I had a chance to win the match, but my break-off cost me two frames. I just tried to take him into the war zone because I am not going to walk over the top of him. My best chance was to try and make it tight.”
Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for the pictures.
Videos of interest:
Ronnie v McGill the match:
Ronnie’s interview with Worldsnooker after the match:
Some personal thoughts:
I found the Eurosport match review with Ronnie particularly interesting because it gave a great insight into the psychology of the match and what’s going through the player’s mind as twists and turns happen.
Here is how I lived through the match:
There were two major turning points. The first one came in frame 6. Ronnie looked set to got 5-1 up, but, as I watched, I wasn’t confident. Indeed he was playing faster and faster, and I remember thinking ” slow down Ronnie, take a deep breath”, and a couple of shots later he missed a relatively easy black and was clearly annoyed with himself. Anthony couldn’t take advantage and within minutes Ronnie was back at the table, only to miss an absolute routine ball, and, this time, you could see the doubts and anguish creep in his looks. As he was sat in his chair, watching Anthony make it 4-2, I thought “here we go again”, the confidence is gone and he’ll lose the match from here despite the score. And then, when it looked for whole the world that it would go 4-4, Anthony missed the frame ball brown in frame 8. It wasn’t a difficult ball under normal circumstances, especially as he didn’t need position on the blue. But there was psychological pressure, the distinctive possibility for Anthony to beat a man he had never beaten before and to book his place in the final. Anthony must have known that Ronnie was on the ropes. But he missed it … and Ronnie came to the table and cleared, starting with a far from easy brown at power. I could see immediately by the look in Ronnie’s eyes that the confidence was back, at least in part, and that he believed again that he could win, despite Anthony taking the next frame. The last frame, with that wonderful 133, was a statement.
Ronnie’s interview confirmed those perceptions and reaffirmed his belief that you don’t win prolifically by being defensive, you need to take the initiatives, even when deep down you don’t feel really confident. He’s right, not in any modern individual sport do you win regularly nowadays by defending all the time. If you do, your opponent will take the game out of your hands.