The Defending Champion was given a scare by the reigning Seniors UK Champion! Indeed Ronnie had to fight back from 4-1 down to beat Ken Doherty in a deciding frame!
Ronnie didn’t play well at all at the start of the match, missing easy balls, especially when playing left-handed. But he stuck in there and gradually improved. His opponent, Ken Doherty was playing very well, he was fast and fluent. Ronnie could easily have been 4-0 down at the MSI. The key was that he never gave up and eventually found some form.
These are the previews
Ronnie’s comments about the possibility of a breakaway tour will certainly ruffle some feathers. I’m not sure how serious he is about it, nor how much he’s thought about what it would take to do that, in terms of organisation, sponsoring, money, logistic, to mention only a few aspects. And I can’t see many players, top players, taking the risk to be excluded from the main tour. The way I see it, it’s a way to express his dislike of the way the tour has evolved in recent years, not giving the top players the respect he think they deserve in his opinion.
Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images
This was the BBC mid-session discussion
The Eurosport mid-session
The main course
The BBC postmatch review:
The Eurosport short postmatch review
And a bit of fun
Totally deserved praise regarding Ken Doherty at that stage.
Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-1 down to beat Ken Doherty 6-5 and keep alive his hopes of a seventh Betway UK Championship title
Following the early exits of Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and John Higgins, another shock looked on the cards in York when defending champion O’Sullivan started slowly against 49-year-old veteran Doherty.
But the Rocket turned the match around and came out on top in an exciting conclusion to set up a last-32 meeting with China’s Zhou Yuelong. O’Sullivan currently shares Steve Davis’s record of six UK titles as well as Stephen Hendry’s mark of 18 Triple Crown victories so he will make a new piece of snooker history if he lifts the trophy in a week’s time.
World number three O’Sullivan has already landed the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions titles within the past three months and has now won 21 of his 23 matches this season.
But it was 1997 World Champion Doherty who dominated the early stages today as breaks of 66, 76, 77 and 71 put him 4-1 ahead. He also had chances in frame six but couldn’t take them and O’Sullivan launched his come back with a run of 75. Further breaks of 76 and 65 helped put five-time World Champion O’Sullivan 5-4 up.
He could have closed out the match in frame ten but missed the brown to a centre pocket and his opponent punished him with a run of 48 to make it 5-5.
O’Sullivan had first chance in the decider and made 31 before running out of position. Doherty had one opportunity but could only make 6 before missing a tough long pot to a baulk corner. O’Sullivan got back in with an excellent mid-range red to a top corner and added 58 to seal the result.
“Ken played marvellously well for the first five frames, it was such fluent stuff,” said O’Sullivan. “He was playing with freedom and that’s hard to stop. I had to be patient. I was nervous at the start and shaking, and when that happens your opponent senses it.
“I want to have fun and entertain but sometimes I put too much meaning into winning and losing. I train myself not to be bothered and to be be happy even if it all goes wrong. If you start from that point then anything is a bonus. It’s a self-preservation thing. It’s wonderful to win titles but the most important things are fresh air, friends and family and just having a good time.”
UK Championship 2018: Ronnie O’Sullivan survives scare to beat Ken Doherty
Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a major scare by battling from behind to edge past Ken Doherty 6-5 and reach the UK Championship third round.
The defending champion looked like heading out as Doherty led 4-1.
O’Sullivan responded in style with breaks of 75 and 76 on the way to claiming four in a row, but Doherty hit back to force a decider in York.
Both players had chances in the final frame, but the Englishman held himself together to go through.
O’Sullivan, who turns 43 on Wednesday, is aiming for a record seventh title in the event. He is currently level with Stephen Hendry on 18 ‘Triple Crown’ victories – a name that covers the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.
Despite easing past Luke Simmonds in the first round, O’Sullivan said he “really, really struggled” during the match with illness.
In a repeat of the 2001 final, in which O’Sullivan thrashed Doherty 10-1, ‘The Rocket’ was going the way of former champions Mark Selby, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy, who have all suffered surprise exits before the third-round stage.
Irishman Doherty’s quick-tempo start with 66, 76, 77 and 71 put him in a commanding position – with O’Sullivan’s highest break just 31 at that stage – but two missed reds to the right corner proved critical as the champion sneaked through to face China’s Zhou Yuelong next.
‘I felt nervous because I’ve got a love back for it’
“Ken played fantastically well in the first part and the luck turned a bit, I got a couple of nudges and got into the game,” O’Sullivan said.
“I didn’t do a lot wrong but he played so quick and positive, it kind of puts you on edge.
“Sometimes you have to win when things are not going well. I felt nervous because I’ve got a love back for it.
“You feel like a gladiator. Money can’t buy that. Imposing yourself on a game is as near to a gladiator as I get and that’s why we play this game.
“I’m not thinking about breaking records. I think about maximising what I can do, trying to improve in every area.”
Doherty, now 49, who won the world title in 1997, said: “It was a great match to be involved in. When I went 4-1 up, I was feeling great. Even at the end it was just a great atmosphere. He came back very strongly as you would expect and played some great stuff at the end.
“I just wanted to go out and enjoy it and not put too much pressure on myself, be as competitive as possible. I couldn’t believe how relaxed I was, I was loving the atmosphere and the chance to challenge myself and Ronnie on the big stage.
“Hopefully I can play like this for the rest of the season and it will give me a bit of confidence going forward. I had him, I really did, but it wasn’t to be.”
Six-time world champion Steve Davis: “Ronnie has weathered the storm today. A couple of positional shots and cuts have gone wrong for Ken, but it’s tough at the top. Only a player of Ronnie’s ability would have been able to turn this around.
“It would have been easy to have baulked but Ronnie has turned this around in great style. It would have been very easy for him to have said he had a black day and that nothing had gone right.
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry: “Ken had nothing to lose and nothing to expect from this match but he will be very disappointed. He will know he had chances to win the match, even in the final frame.
“He had one good chance and one half-chance. You never lose the competitive instinct and will never settle for having a good match and a good performance; he wanted to win this. There have been a few shocks and this could have been the biggest one of all.”
Ronnie will play Zhou Yuelong tomorrow afternoon.