World Championship 2018 – Ronnie beats Stephen Maguire in last 32

Ronnie beat Stephen Maguire by 10-7, recovering from a terrible first session where he trailed 4-0 at the first MSI. I must admit that I wasn’t confident, but now I’m extremely pleased to have watched it to the end. Ronnie showed both his commitment and his fighting qualities there!

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Ronnie was extremely embarrassed by his poor display yesterday, as he explained during his press conference.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker (excerpt)

Ronnie O’Sullivan overhauled Stephen Maguire’s three-frame overnight lead to come through a 10-7 winner in their opening round clash at the Betfred World Championship.

O’Sullivan is enjoying a career-best season in terms of ranking title victories. He has equalled the record jointly held by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby of five ranking crowns in a single campaign.

Victory at the Crucible this year would not only see the Rocket break that record, but he would also historically eclipse Stephen Hendry’s 18 Triple Crown titles and draw level with Steve Davis and Ray Reardon on six World Championship wins.

Five-time Crucible king O’Sullivan and former UK Champion Maguire have now met on 22 occasions. O’Sullivan has dominated the vast majority of those meetings with today’s victory being his 18thcompared to the Scot’s four wins.

Maguire outplayed O’Sullivan in the opening session yesterday; he was 4-0 up and ended 6-3 ahead. However, 33-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan landed several key blows in the early exchanges this morning to turn the tide.

With the score at 6-4, Maguire had looked set to restore his three frame advantage but he broke down on 49, missing a straightforward red. O’Sullivan punished him with a sublime clearance of 86 to pull within one frame.

World number 18 Maguire then had a chance to steal the next frame on the colours, but left the final pink in the jaws of the top right pocket and allowed world number two O’Sullivan to draw level at 6-6.

Maguire did regain the lead in the 13th frame but from there O’Sullivan charged to the finish, taking four in a row with top runs of 53 and 77 to win 10-7.

“The first session was so embarrassing, I felt like giving the fans their money back,” said O’Sullivan, who now meets Ali Carter or Graeme Dott in the last 16. “I wanted to battle through, and make the scoreline a bit respectable. When I got three frames on the board I went home thinking, I’ve had a result really. It gave me a little bit of belief today.”

 At the age of 42, O’Sullivan is playing perhaps the best snooker of his career, and he insists that is partly due to an improved diet.

“The biggest thing for me this year is how I’ve tackled how I eat,” he added. “I’m amazed by how good I feel and how healthy I am, it’s unbelievable. I’ve always been fit, but through injuries I couldn’t run as much and I ballooned up to nearly 15 stone. I’m down to 13 stone now, so I’ve lost two stone and I haven’t exercised any more than usual.

“I’ve changed what I eat, I’m never hungry, and I’ve got massive amounts of energy. I’d never thought I’d like celery, but I’m eating so much of it now. I suppose compared to the average person in Britain, I’ll always look well because we aren’t the healthiest society. If you go to other continents, they eat proper food, whereas over here it’s all pre-packed meals and that’s why we have a problem with obesity.

“I’m ready for the next 40 years. They have a saying in China, you get two lives: 0 to 40 and then 40 to 80. I’m ready for the 40-80.”

Maguire said: “I only had the lead because Ronnie was so bad yesterday. I was under no illusions that I was playing well enough to be 6-3 up, so I wasn’t surprised when he came out today because I knew he would improve and he did, while I stayed the same. There were two frames that I could have nicked to make it 8-5 but that doesn’t mean I would have won the match from then.

“Ronnie never gives up against me. I’ve seen him in matches throw in the towel, I wish he would do that with me! He has giving me some hidings in the past which were good to watch but that match was there for the taking if I had stepped it up.

“I am accepting it now that I’ll be outside the top 16 and qualifying for this one. The odds are that I’ll be floating around the top 32 for the next few years. I just have to accept that these boys are a step better than me. It’s hard to accept but it is accepted.

“These players have improved where as I have probably just stayed the same. It shows because I’ve not won a tournament in years and even then, I’ve only won a few.”

And big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these images of the match

6 thoughts on “World Championship 2018 – Ronnie beats Stephen Maguire in last 32

  1. Sincerely sunday morning I was afraid that Ronnie could exit at the first round. He complicated his match when he went 0-4 down. I don’t know why he played so bad in the first mini-session. Maybe he felt the pressure of the first match, but we have to consider that Maguire played really well. On Sunday, still not at his best, he made a partial of 7-1 against Stephen. There were any good signs in Ronnie’s match. At first this year he seems very focused on what he has to do. He didn’t get frustrated after his poor performance of saturday. He was very patient on 0-4 down. His long potting is at a good level. In my opinion he is not so far away from his best form, and I believe it will increase during the next matches. Maguire was the most dangerous player to encounter in the first round. And now I’m much more confident than 2 days ago. Ronnie has to find the right pace of his game. And I’m sure that he worked a lot this year for trying to win the title.

  2. I don’t understand the random draw. I asked the people on fb before and I was told Ronnie’s opponent would come from the lowest section of the qualifying, so I expected Maguire from there. At least no shock in that department. 🙂

    Yesterday was really painful to watch and I thought that while Ronnie is complaining about the length, that was his saving grace: in a best of 11 he would have packed his suitcase by now. I was not too optimistic either (I was bad-fanning, as my partner said 🙂 ), but I loved the way he was fighting today: I hate that people already started saying, oh, he does not want to be there, punditry pays more etc. 😦

    He said on BBC after the match how embarrassed he was yesterday and that was in a way nice hearing. And Maguire’s comemnts are quite self-deprecating and ironic in a way, I liked them too.

    Good luck Ronnie, for the rest.

    • Well the people on FB were ill-informed. The qualifiers are drawn randomly against the seeds. The seeds position in the draw are determined by their seeding but the qualifiers are randomly drawn.

  3. I’m not a fan of the random draw after the qualifying. Ronnie shouldn’t have had to face such a good player as Stephen in the first round, and Stephen shouldn’t have had to face such a good player as Ronnie.

    That being said, I’m thrilled with Ronnie’s comeback and feeling good about his chances of making it to the quarter-finals. I think his next match will be easier than his first, and then his match against (probably) Mark Williams or Neil Robertson could prove to be his toughest match of the tournament…

  4. I was sad to read Ronnie felt embarrassed. He is only human after all, everyone regardless of their job can have an off day. I’m so pleased Ronnie made it through the first round! Steven Maguire gave a good performance so he should feel pretty good as well.

    I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to watch Ronnie and Steven play this morning. This tournament is gruelling for the fans too! But it’s so worth it.

    Best wishes Ronnie.

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