Champion of Champions 2019 – Group 1

Ronnie booked his place in the semi finals, where he will play Neil Robertson tonight, but not without a scare …

Here is the official report:

O’SULLIVAN INTO MANBETX CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS SEMI-FINALS

GROUP 1 FINAL
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6–3 John Higgins
29-92 (92), 75-27, 104-0 (104), 0-121 (89), 85-0 (77), 35-75, 85-6 (85), 90-20 (53), 74-49

GROUP SEMI-FINALS
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4–3 Jimmy White
6-83 (56), 0-73, 52-61, 135-0 (74), 61-19, 78-38, 76-29 (76)

John Higgins 4-2 Stuart Bingham
78-1 (78), 71-24, 56-80 (Bingham 56), 39-77, 70-22 (61), 117-1 (84)

Ronnie O’Sullivan beat John Higgins and Jimmy White to set up a ManBetX Champion of Champions semi-final against Neil Robertson at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

O’Sullivan has reached the final of this event every time he has played it and will now meet ‘The Thunder From Down Under’ in Friday’s best-of-11 semi-final after coming through Group 1 on Thursday.

The Rocket had survived a Whirlwind-sized scare as he came from 3-0 down against World Seniors Champion Jimmy White to win 4-3 in a match that will live long in the memory for the sold-out Ricoh Arena crowd. He then met Higgins in the group final after the Wizard of Wishaw had beaten Stuart Bingham 4-2 in his group semi-final.

The first six frames of the best-of-11 group final where shared between O’Sullivan and Higgins but from there it was dominance from the defending champion. A break of 85 took O’Sullivan ahead and he extended his lead to 5-3 in the eighth before closing out the match in the next frame.

“I didn’t play great but I don’t think John played well,” said O’Sullivan. “If John is on form I don’t like playing him, when he is on form he is your worst nightmare. I will go out there tomorrow, have a bit of fun and try and get my shot clock down to 10 seconds if I can. It is a good venue and a good table.”

Jimmy White came to this event, driven and determined to play his very best snooker. Ahead of his match he was interviewed by Hector Nunns:

Jimmy White knows emotional Ronnie O’Sullivan clash could be final time they ever meet

Two of snookers legendary figures meet in Coventry on Thursday knowing it will be the final time they could meet

CofCL16ROSWin

Jimmy played extremely well in the first three frames and a very big upset looked to be on the cards. Ronnie was all over the place and his long potting was non-existent. In frame three though, the game became closer. From then on, Ronnie started playing better – without actually playing well – and Jimmy started to look edgy. It was a very strange match overall. It was, as expected, played in front of a big crowd and both players got a lot of support. Ronnie, despite the obvious struggle, continued to attack. Here it is:

And some great images by Tai Chengzhe

 

The next match was a bit strange as well. John Higgins started very well. He looked really sharp. However, as the match unfolded, errors crept in both players game.

Nevertheless, at the end of the afternoon, I had very little hope that Ronnie could win the group. I was wrong.

CofCLQFROSWin

John again had the best start, but, again, his standard dropped a bit as the match unfolded. Ronnie, on the contrary, started to slot the long ones in. He played fast, furious and ultra attacking. It worked a treat. It was spectacular, entertaining,  edge of the seat stuff … and the crowd loved it!

If Ronnie plays tonigh like he did against John, he has every chance to make it to the final again. But will he? It’s hard to tell. He seemed to be in high mood, yesterday, upbeat and a bit restless. He said again that he doesn’t care, but his expression, his body language and the way he played to come back at Jimmy, tell me he did care, at least a bit, even if, maybe, it was only pride driving him.

And once again, big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these

2 thoughts on “Champion of Champions 2019 – Group 1

  1. Wow, the match against Jimmy was bizarre: first I hoped Jimmy wouldn’t lose 4-0, in an hour I hoped, Ronnie would not. For 2 frames and a half Jimmy really played well. A victory would have certainly made Jimmy’s season (even though it would have only set him up for a loss against Higgins), but for Ronnie it might have really been very bad to be the first beaten by Jimmy on the main tour this season. Then Ronnie gave an interview on ITV I certainly did not care for, how Jimmy deserved to win because he wanted it more, and I know I should not pay too much attention to Ronnie’s utterances especially after a match which could not please him too much, but still. And I don’t really see why it would be so good to bring his shot time down to 10seconds: it is not like he played so well lately that he should be bored. 🙂

    But the match against Higgins was brilliant and truly enjoyable. If Ronnie plays like this against Robertson and in the final, he has every chance to win. Now I root for Ronnie, no matter where he plays, but if I can pick, I would love him to win the UK and one of the Home Nations, because he does need those ranking points. As for now of course I want him in the final, as he stands the best chance to stop Trump (which of course does not mean I won’t root for Allen tomorrow as I root for everyone playing Trump with the exception of Ali Carter, but this will change soon too), but honestly I’d prefer Ronnie to lose to Robertson than to Trump.

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