UK Championship 2018 – Ronnie wins his QF match

The defending champion is still in the tournament.

UKChamps2018ROSQF-Winner

Ronnie beat Martin O’Donnell by 6-1 in the quarter finals round.

UKChamps2018ROSQF-Scores

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 awkward 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

Coverage

The previews

The 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 amongsts the top players not happy with the way things are. Barry Hearn, as usual talked well. However his moto 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 reviews

Hearn’s interview with Eurosport (basically saying the same thing he did on BBC)

The action

In the media

UKChamps2018ROSQF-Presser

The (short) report on BBC website

UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Martin O’Donnell 6-1

And the report on Worldsnooker

UKChamps2018ROSQF-2

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 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 a – for now purely hypothetical – other 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.

2 thoughts on “UK Championship 2018 – Ronnie wins his QF match

  1. It was perhaps a little uncomfortable for Barry Hearn to be talking about slow players, given that one of the principal offenders was actually playing in that match! He chose to attack Rod Lawler instead. It was a lot easier for Leo Scullion to warn both players for slow play than if it had been one player only.

    Barry made some very convincing points, such as the distribution of the Chinese events. I would expect that – he is undoubtably very knowlegeable, and brilliant at those things he does well. However, whilst claiming he is right about many issues, and that decisions can only be made from his standpoint, on the subject of the ranking system, he seems to claim ‘the man on the street’ knows best. I think if anyone were to ask this ‘man on the street’, they would probably only know a handful of players, and if you asked them who was the best, their answer wouldn’t be the ‘official’ number 1. It’s so frustrating that he’s closed down this debate, because in my view a change could fix so many problems so easily, particularly lower down. Unfortunately there probably isn’t a single player either who is capable of suggesting an alternative system.

    As you know, I believe the future of snooker depends heavily on those brilliant young Chinese players, but they all seem to be struggling at the moment. Recent events will not help them. All Chinese players might now be viewed with suspicion, perhaps even hatred. There could be problems attracting continued investment from China, especially if Ding Junhui subsides and isn’t immediately replaced. If the money dries up and there aren’t new players, the game’s gone. But of course Barry’s such a wise old fox that he’d have moved on before it reaches the tipping point.

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