The defending champion is still in the tournament.
Ronnie beat Martin O’Donnell by 6-1 in the quarter finals round.
It looks like a comfortable win “on screen” but really it wasn’t. Ronnie started and finished with a century, but in between, the match was pretty scrappy and Ronnie did show signs of frustration at times when balls kept running awkwardly again and again. In the pre-Peters days, this is a match he could well have lost, but he promptly refocused, showed patience, kept playing the right shots, and it eventually paid off.
He will now face Tom Ford in the semi-finals. Tom did beat Joe Perry by 6-2, a result and a scoreline that, I reckon, very few expected.
Big Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images
The ES preview
The ES mid-session analysis
The BBC one had Barry Hearn as a guest. The first part did show that Ronnie is far from being the only one amongst the top players not happy with the way things are. Barry Hearn, as usual, talked well. However his motto being “I want to create opportunities for the young players”, I’d like him to explain why there aren’t any actually coming through this system. Because other than Kyren Wilson, and to an extend Jak Lisowski, I don’t see any and they both are over 25. At that age, Ronnie, John Higgins, and Mark Willams all had won the Triple Crown, and players like Matthew Stevens and Paul Hunter were established, top players. They all came through the tiered system. Of course, there are promising young Chinese players, but they have a whole development system in China, and even so, none of them seems to be able to challenge Ding status any time soon.
They also touched the “slow play” issue. I don’t see why something new should be put into place. Section IV of the rules is there, just enforce it. And BTW, I wonder if Barry Hearn knows it exists because what he is proposing in the end, is already there.
The ES review
Hearn’s interview with Eurosport (basically saying the same thing he did on BBC)
The action (full BBC coverage)
In the media
UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Martin O’Donnell by 6-1
Ronnie O’Sullivan moved within two wins of a record seventh Betway UK Championship title and 19th Triple Crown victory by beating Martin O’Donnell 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
The Rocket will now meet Tom Ford (Saturday at 1pm) who reached his first Triple Crown semi-final by beating Joe Perry 6-2.
In winning the title last year in York, O’Sullivan equalled Steve Davis’ record of six UK victories and Stephen Hendry’s mark of 18 Triple Crowns, so he is within touching distance of pushing the boundaries of his remarkable career a step further.
O’Sullivan made a fast start today with a break of 102 in the opening frame before O’Donnell, who has never reached a ranking semi-final, fought back by winning the second on the colours. World number three O’Sullivan regained the lead with a run of 79 then got the better of a 35-minute fourth frame to lead 3-1 at the interval.
World number 59 O’Donnell had chances in frame five but couldn’t take them and his opponent cleared from the last red for 4-1. And O’Sullivan cruised through the last two frames with 81 and 106, the latter break taking his career century tally to 984.
“It was nip and tuck at the start, I felt fortunate to be 3-1 up at the interval,” admitted Chigwell’s O’Sullivan, who first won this title 25 years ago. “I just tried to be patient. It was one of my better matches in the tournament in terms of my all round performance. Martin kept it tight at the start and I sensed he believed he could win. I had to draw on all of my experience.
“I’m playing for the fans because they have supported me so well over the years. I love to win and pick trophies up but that shouldn’t come at the expense of playing for the crowd.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s semi-final, O’Sullivan added: “Tom Ford is a fantastic player, attacking and fearless with nothing to lose.”
And please read Lewis’s excellent comment below. He’s absolutely right. And with a ban from adds about betting just being decided things don’t look great for the future.
Also, suggestions that Ronnie could be banned for his comments about “breakaway” are ludicrous in my opinion. I don’t think this could be justified in front of a court of justice. He’s not been cheating, he’s not been insulting, he has just been talking of the possibility of him getting away from the main tour, and playing on another – for now purely hypothetical – platform with no ambition to create an actual rival tour. Yes, the biggest box office player suggesting that he might go away because he’s unhappy might be damaging. But then, hey! You can’t force him to be happy.
On a more optimistic note, Ronnie is now 12th in the race to the Grand Prix. So he will qualify for it. And he isn’t badly placed for the Players Championship either.