Ronnie beat Sanderson Lam by 4-2 to book his place in the last 64 in Cardiff.
It was a rather strange match. I wonder if it was Ronnie playing out there, or if his Chimp had run loose, nicked his cue, locked him up, and come to play on his behalf.
Ronnie’s long potting was poor, but in the balls, he looked very sharp. The worrying part, however, is that he was going for crazy things, with total disregard for what could happen if he missed. And he played really quick too, his average shot time was 12.8 sec! Shaun Murphy though had another reading of the match: for him Ronnie was playing with total freedom, like in an exhibition, confident that he still would be able to win. Well, I’m not so sure. Anyway, he did win, but if he plays that way against Yuan Sijun, I expect a very different outcome.
There was a strange incident in frame 4: Ronnie had just potted the pink to score 101; however, he then immediately played the next red, without waiting for Brendan Moore to re-spot the pink and announce the score. Therefore Ronnie’s break officially ended on 95, and Sanderson Lam got the 6 penalty points. Ronnie later teased Brendan about it.
Ronnie O’Sullivan said “all-out attack is sometimes the best form of defence” after a 4-2 win over Sanderson Lam in the first round of the ManBetX Welsh Open.
O’Sullivan delighted the Cardiff crowd with flashes of his brilliant best as he set up an intriguing last-64 clash with Chinese prodigy Yuan Sijun on Wednesday afternoon.
World number 105 Lam, ranked 102 places lower than his illustrious opponent, threatened an upset when he led 2-1, only for O’Sullivan to reel off three frames in a row with top breaks of 95 and 116. The second of those was his 992nd career century, and in fact the first would have given him one more ton had he given referee Brendan Moore time to replace the pink before potting the last red. The break would have moved to 101 but for the foul.
“I enjoyed it, it was a nice game to play in,” said O’Sullivan, who has lifted the Welsh Open trophy four times, most recently in 2016. “He’ll be disappointed because he had chances. Attacking is my style of play and it has got me this far over many years. You have to stick to what you know best. It might look reckless but I still fancy getting most of those shots.
“I’m certainly not looking any further than the next round. My next match is tough, against a young Chinese player who has been beating everyone, so it will be a good result if I can win that one.”
Here are some nice images by Tai Chengzhe. Thank you Tai!
Match (BBC Wales coverage):
Ronnie was also in the studio at the start of the evening.
In the preview of the Selby v McGill match, both he and Jimmy White reflect on their wins, as well as on the century that never was.