Masters 2018 – Mark Allen ends Ronnie’s defense

Mark Allen beat Ronnie by 6-1 this afternoon and it was a totally deserved victory. Ronnie won the first frame, but after that he was completely outplayed as Mark won most frames in one visit. The stats speak for themselves:

Masters2017QFAllenEOSStats

The longer Ronnie was kept cold in his seat, the more he struggled, as you would expect and the fact that he was a bit under the weather didn’t help. But Mark Allen deserves every credit for the way he played and won today. Good luck to him in the rest of the tournament.

Masters2017QFAllenWinner.jpg

Here is the report on BBC website

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was eliminated from the 2018 Masters with a 6-1 quarter-final loss to Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen.

O’Sullivan, 42, took the opening frame with a break of 75 but Allen made breaks of 65, 115 and 85 to hold a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

Allen made a score of 81 in the fifth, before taking the next two frames to seal his victory at Alexandra Palace.

He will play either John Higgins or Ryan Day in Saturday’s semi-final.

“Ronnie is the benchmark in this game and I’m very happy,” said the 31-year-old. “I scored very well up to 4-1 and kind of fell over the line. Against Ronnie I play more aggressive as you get less chances.

“I’m not getting carried away, it is one match and there are two very tough ones ahead of me if I’m going to win. I came here to win the tournament and if I go home without the trophy then I’m very disappointed.

“I will get so much confidence from that. He missed a few because I put him under pressure. I haven’t won a tournament in nearly two years and I’m looking to put that right. If I don’t win one of these big tournaments I will be very disappointed.”

Despite thrashing Marco Fu 6-0 in the opening round on Tuesday, O’Sullivan claimed he had not been well during that match saying he felt “very dizzy” and had “double vision”.

He looked to be struggling again during his match with world number eight Allen, who reached the Masters semi-finals for the third time in his career.

In the seventh frame, O’Sullivan held a 35-1 lead but Allen fought back to take the frame and move into the final four.

“I’m struggling, I don’t know what it is, a virus or something and I was having dizzy spells,” said O’Sullivan.

“It was a tough match for me. I can just rest up and get ready for my next event. Mark deserved his win, I didn’t give him much to make him struggle. You have to give people credit and he had a fantastic performance.

“I’m glad it is over. I don’t make excuses and I had to show up, if I was a footballer I would probably have missed this game but it is an individual sport so you have to turn up.

“It is not much fun when you go out there and am not feeling great. I was feeling 60% and was hoping Mark would make some mistakes. I didn’t feel good enough physically to go on and win the tournament anyway.”

The crowd was massively supporting Ronnie, shouting “Go Ronnie” whenever he came to the table. They certainly meant to encourage him but I wonder if, when a player is really struggling like Ronnie was today, it doesn’t make things even worse. Allen himself has been there before when he didn’t perform in Northern Ireland and he spoke about how difficult it was for him then to face the fans expectations and being unable to fulfil them.

Here are some images, thanks to Tai Chengzhe

and the match

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

Ronnie O’Sullivan lost a match at the Dafabet Masters for the first time since 2015 as he suffered a 6-1 reverse against an inspired Mark Allen.

O’Sullivan had been seeking an eighth Masters title and third in a row, having lifted the trophy in 2016 and 2017. He looked at the top of his game in a 6-0 first round thrashing of Marco Fu, and in the mood to keep his golden spell going having won three tournaments since October.

But Allen wrecked the Rocket’s hopes with one of his best performances in recent years, making a century and three more breaks over 50 to record his first win over O’Sullivan since the 2011 Masters.

Northern Ireland’s Allen goes through to a semi-final meeting with John Higgins or Ryan Day at Alexandra Palace on Saturday evening. He’ll be aiming to reach his first Masters final and only Triple Crown final other than the 2011 UK Championship when he lost to Judd Trump.

O’Sullivan started well with a break of 75 to take the opening frame but he scored just one point in the next three as Allen fired runs of 65, 115 and 85 to take control. World number two O’Sullivan had a scoring chance early in frame five but made just 16 and Allen’s 81 put him 4-1 ahead.

Three-time ranking event winner Allen dominated the sixth to extend his advantage. In the seventh he led 48-35 when he missed the last red to a centre pocket. But it mattered little as O’Sullivan’s attempted long pot missed by several inches, leaving world number eight Allen to add 24 points and clinch victory.

“I played pretty well to go 5-1 up, my safety was good, my long potting was good,” said Allen. “You can’t go out there and be scared of Ronnie. I play more aggressive against him, I can’t be bullied by him. I wanted to stamp my authority early in the match. Even when I’ve lost to him in the past, I went out and was positive against him.

“I felt like he was definitely feeling the pressure, he is human. His reception for his break-off at 5-1 down was ridiculous! He’s got the biggest fan base in the game. It was an extremely tough match but I was up for it. It’s always an occasion playing Ronnie.

“I came here to win the tournament, I’m only half way there. If I play as well as the first two matches then I’ve got a great chance. I’ve got the game to win one of these Triple Crown events. I am confident I’m going to win one before the end of my career.”

O’Sullivan, who has been suffering from illness and double vision, said: “He deserved his win, good luck to Mark for the rest of the tournament. It was a tough match for me. I can rest up now and get ready for my next event.

“It’s not much fun when you’re out there but you’re not physically feeling great. I was struggling against Marco, but it was one of those days where everything went in. I gave it a go today but it wasn’t good enough. It’s better that Mark won as he’ll give the next guy I better game than I would have done.”

There is also this in the press

Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to QUIT snooker after Masters defeat

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN wants OUT of snooker and makes a second claim that he could miss this year’s World Championship after crashing out in the quarter-finals of the Masters.

O’Sullivan took the first frame against Mark Allen who then hit back with a 65 break to level proceedings.

The Northern Irishman then potted his way to claim another five frames, stunning Alexandra Palace with a 6-1 victory.

Before the Masters, the Rocket revealed that scheduling of his television series ‘Hustle’ could force him to pull out of the World Championship – snooker’s biggest prize.

And after his defeat to Allen, he told reporters that people should take his claims more seriously and hinted that his exit from the sport is near.

“I know people didn’t really take me seriously but I probably will miss this year’s World Championship,” O’Sullivan said.

“I come back to snooker for different reasons. It’s just a bit of time-passer for me.

“I’ve already explained before I want to try and get out of snooker as quickly as I can.

“I still play because I still have some snooker fans that love to watch me play and I’ll still play in some tournaments.

“But as far as I’m concerned, it’s probably better I do a month in Australia for Hustle while the World Championship is on because I would find it difficult at home watching and not being part of it.

“But if go to Australia for four weeks and chill out, because for me as a person, I just play to kill a bit of time whereas a lot of the lads, all they have is snooker in life.

“17 days in Sheffield isn’t the greatest of things is it?”

and from the same source

“I wouldn’t want to be an employee of Barry Hearn, he likes to work you to the bone but I’m not built like that,” O’Sullivan said.

“You aren’t going to put thousands of miles on my clock. I like a bit of quality in life, I like to enjoy myself.

“I don’t enjoy the circuit and I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon.

“I think it’s better if I just dip in and out, and try and do as much stuff away from snooker as possible.”

He added: “I don’t like the politics that’s involved. I don’t like the structure of the game that’s involved – it’s weighted towards all the ‘numpties’.

“Snooker’s great if you’re coming from nothing, there’s a lot of tournaments and a lot of opportunities but for some of the top guys I’m sure they find it quite difficult.

“It’s not going to change so unless they [adjust] my terms and conditions, I’d rather offer my services elsewhere and do other stuff.

“I’m fortunate enough to not need the money so it’s just about being valued a bit.

“If they all sack me and throw me under the bus, they can do that – I don’t really care! I follow my heart and I do what feels right to me.”

Other than the fact that Ronnie is clearly still tired – I’m not sure that the Xmas break was really long enough to restore his energy and motivation after the crazy three months he had before it – and isn’t well today, what this article tells me is that the defeat did hurt him badly despite his claims that he doesn’t care. We shouldn’t forget that those interviews happen minutes after a heavy defeat. John Higgins said similar things after his UK early defeat, that this was the beginning of the end for him, but has since bounced back. That said, it is true that a lot of people didn’t take Ronnie’s claims about missing the WC seriously but I’m not one of them. Only time will tell. For now, I just wish him well.

He was bit more positive in the ES studio though…

And the Masters continues…

6 thoughts on “Masters 2018 – Mark Allen ends Ronnie’s defense

  1. Ronnie’s matter is quite simple: when he wins then he says he’ll play until he’s 50 or at least another 5-6 years, when he loses he claims to quit snooker as soon as possible. This is Ronnie’s psychology. In my opinion he has won enough and he has nothing to regret. He’s already a legend in snooker, nothing will change his status in snooker’s history. He’s free to do whatever he wants.

  2. Ronnie has said before that, while he appreciates fan support when he’s playing well, the support makes him feel worse when he’s not playing well because he feels like he’s letting his fans down. That’s not necessarily to say that he would start playing better if the fans were to stop cheering for him…

    It’s worth wondering which of the remaining events Ronnie will play in this season. Here are what I assume to be the events he would consider:

    1. World Grand Prix
    2. Welsh Open
    3. Players Championship
    4. China Open
    5. World Championship

    Out of those 5, the only 1 that I feel certain he will play in is the Welsh. I would also expect him to play the Grand Prix.

    Beyond that, he’s iffy on the World Championship, he’s already made multiple trips to China this season and might not feel like making another one, and I seem to recall him saying last year that the location of the Players Championship was boring…

    • We just have to wait and see Mark. In a way Players Championship and Grand Prix earn the players who qualified for them “free points” because even if a player loses first round they still get something, and something significant for it, provided that they turn up. We will soon know if Ronnie decides to go to China. The qualifiers start in less than ten days. If I’m honest I won’t be sad if he gives that one a miss but on the other hand he has a Chinese sponsor…

      • As much as I love watching Ronnie play, I feel like he has already given a lot of himself to the sport this season and I wouldn’t blame him (or feel too bad) if he were to only play the Welsh (because of his commitment to Eurosport) and then skip everything else…

  3. Isn’i the same as Murphy referred to after his victory at the CoC, saying that Ronnie really has an incredible weight of expectations on him and it is quite difficult to deal with it. But then as a fan, what else can you do than shout encouragement?

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