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…
Here is the report on Worldsnooker
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!