Ronnie hadn’t played competitive snooker since his defeat to Ali Carter at the Crucible last April. Meeting Neil Robertson, who won the Riga Masters end July, was a very tough challenge, all the more so as he is the Defending Champion, but Ronnie stood to it. He beat Neil by 6-3 in the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters in today’s only evening match (afternoon in Europe).
It was a high-quality match as the scores show:
I didn’t know what to expect TBH and Ronnie’s “performance” in the coaching exhibition had me a bit worried. But he played quite well. The main weakness remains his break-off, leaving a long red at his opponent mercy more often than not…
Ronnie O’Sullivan secured victory in his first appearance of the World Snooker Tour season, defeating Neil Robertson 6-3 at the Shanghai Masters.
Defending champion O’Sullivan enjoyed one of the most successful campaigns of his career in 2017/18, winning five ranking titles in a single season for the first time and securing a sixth UK Championship title.
He picked up silverware here in Shanghai last year thanks to a 10-3 demolition of Judd Trump in the final.
The Rocket showed no signs of rust in the early stages this evening and came storming out of the blocks. A break of 97 gave him the opener, before he controlled the second to go 2-0 ahead. There was then a dramatic third frame, which O’Sullivan eventually claimed on the black.
Robertson did take the last frame before the mid-session to trail just 3-1. However, O’Sullivan managed the game and they traded frames until he emerged the 6-3 victor.
“Neil can play better. I can play better. It wasn’t the worst match,” said O’Sullivan. “When you haven’t played a match for four months you lose the feeling of when to go for a shot and when not to. I’ve just been doing exhibitions and practising and if you miss you don’t get punished. This is the first good player I have played in four months. You need to adjust a bit.”
Next for Ronnie is Stuart Bingham: they will play tomorrow afternoon (morning in Europe).
Meanwhile here are a few images: big thanks to Tai Chengzhe
Here is the match … enjoy!