Ronnie made an early exit at the International Championship 2017, in Daqing as he was beaten, and well beaten, by Yan Bingtao in the last 64.
Ronnie made a century in the only frame he won but otherwise was very far from the form he showed in the English Open earlier this month: his long potting was almost inexistent and, simply, he made too many mistakes. Not that his opponent needed a lot of occasions: Yan played extremely well, he was almost flawless amongst the balls and his long game was excellent too. He deserved the win fully.
Here is the match:
Inevitably, when it’s about Ronnie, there were suggestions that he wasn’t interested, that, having taken his sponsor’s money he was in a hurry to go home. Some even hinted that this is how he usually plays in China. Those allegations are both untrue and unfair. First, in the two last previous tournaments he played in China, he made the final and a QF where he lost to the eventual winner. In this match, in the first frame, he came back to the table in frame 1, needing three snookers to tie, four to win, and he sustained a long battle trying to get them. He was just having a bad day in office, it happens to all of them. And, without making excuses, staying awake on twitter until past 3:30 am worrying about whether he would be allowed to play surely didn’t help. Eventually this morning, a Chinese doctor stated that his ankle injury was far from healed and he got permission to play in his black trainers again… nevermind. Mainly, Yan deserves every credit for his win. He played a great match and I now hope that he goes deep in the event. Good luck Yan.
Here a few pictures, courtesy of Tai Chengzhe, thanks Tai.
Ronnie O’Sullivan failed to pot a ball in the last four frames as he was beaten 6-1 by 17-year-old Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao at the OPPO International Championship.
Yan won the Rookie of the Year Award last season and the gifted teenager has continued his progress this term, climbing to 53rd in the world. And this is surely his best result yet as he swept aside five-time World Champion O’Sullivan.
Breaks of 68 and 89 gave Yan the first two frames then his opponent pulled one back with a run of 111. O’Sullivan scored just five points in the last four frames – and those came from a foul from Yan. Breaks of 91, 52 and 73 helped Yan set up a last 32 meeting with Ricky Walden.
“My opponent is a great player,” said Yan, who last season became the first pro player born in the year 2000. “I played Ronnie once before and lost but it was a decent match so that gave me the feeling that I would have a chance if I played well today. I performed better than I thought I would.
“I think I can beat anyone, but I need to be calm and mature. I learned a lot from my first year as a pro, and I need to be in control and to be consistent. I might beat a top 16 player and then lose the next match playing like different person.”
O’Sullivan, who won the English Open just eight days ago, said: “Yan played fantastically well. Maybe only Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have played that well against me before. I played well in Barnsley and I feel comfortable with my game, I just got outplayed today. I didn’t do that much wrong apart from missing a couple of balls. The run of the ball didn’t go in my favour but Yan deserved the bit of fortune he got and he scored heavily. It was a tough draw for me, especially as he’d already played a match yesterday.
“If Yan plays like that he’ll be very difficult to beat in this tournament. If he can play like that consistently he’ll win a lot of tournaments. He has a an all round game, a good temperament and he carries himself well. He has presence around the table – to be a champion you need to portray that image. All the great players won tournaments when they were 17 or 18 so if he’s going to be a great player then he’ll win one soon.”
O’Sullivan was allowed to wear trainers – as he was at the English Open – due to an ankle injury, and added: “My foot is ok, I feel comfortable in these trainers, so I’ve no excuses.”
As you can read, Ronnie was very gracious in defeat.
He wasn’t the only casualty on the day though and I doubt that the tournament sponsors will have a party tonight … but that’s for another post.