Champion of Champions 2019 – Neil Robertson beats Ronnie in the SF

CofCLSFROSLost.jpg

Neil Robertson beat Ronnie by 6-5 to book his place in the Final, where he will play either Mark Allen or Judd Trump. It’s the first time in six appereances in the tournament that Ronnie doesn’t reach the final.

Here is the official report:

ROBERTSON THUNDERS INTO MANBETX CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS FINAL

Semi-Final
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5–6 Neil Robertson
73-7 (66), 40-67, 1-71 (62), 81-7 (81), 0-108 (108), 81-55, 45-87 (87), 86-0 (86), 60-57, 0-135 (135), 6-104 (90)

Neil Robertson beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 in one of the standout matches of the season so far to book his place in the final of the ManBetX Champion of Champions at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

It is the second time 2015 champion Robertson has reached the tournament final but the first time in six appearances that O’Sullivan hasn’t.

In a gripping match played in front of a sold out crowd, both players were leading at stages but neither ever by more than one frame. At 4-4 the ninth went down to the final black and a brilliant shot sent O’Sullivan one up with two to play.

Robertson, however, responded in style with the tournament’s highest break so far, a fine 135 made under pressure. In the decider, O’Sullivan missed a safety as the cue stopped short of the pack, leaving a red on for Robertson, who duly began a clearance of 90 to win a compelling match of the highest standard.

“I was extremely determined today, concentrated on my own game and made sure I was going to be very aggressive, as he has been all week as well,” said Robertson, who will face either Judd Trump or Mark Allen – who meet tomorrow evening – in Sunday’s best-of-19 final.

“We have a huge amount of respect for each other. Ronnie has got the better of me the last few times we have played, and in a couple of big finals obviously. You don’t want to make a habit of losing to somebody, even though a few of the times I have lost to him he has played fantastic stuff.

“There was a lot of high scoring, some great potting, a couple of close frames. The crowd were great and I am sure they really enjoyed the match. It was an awesome match to be a part of. We were both extremely aggressive, neither of us backed down and that’s what makes it most pleasing; I beat him my own way, playing my natural style.

“Judd and Mark are both brilliant players, I have had some wonderful matches with them and it will be two lefties in the final. I can’t wait to get out there and play in another final.”

Despite the defeat, there is a lot of positives to be drawn from this match. Ronnie was calm, collected and played extremely well himself. He was aggressive, without being reckless. His shot time was his usual … and certainly nothing even close to the 10 seconds he was – allegedly – targeting when interviewed on Thursday.  What probably made the difference is the long potting. That has always been one of Neil’s strongest weapons, and, yesterday, he was deadly. Ronnie wasn’t too bad himself, he got quite a number of long pots too, but, when he needs to play those shots with power, he tends to lose some accuracy. That of course is an issue.

It was an excellent match, one that every fan of the sport will appreciate, even if, we, as Ronnie fans, would have preferred a different result.

Many thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those great pictures

 

11 thoughts on “Champion of Champions 2019 – Neil Robertson beats Ronnie in the SF

  1. Although Ronnie lost yesterday, as a snooker fan I appreciated the match, and I want to take the positives from it. Let’s hope Ronnie can improve on his form for the on coming tournaments.
    On another note, yesterday Ronnie came up with a short video clip on twitter and Instagram which I would like to share:

    And finally it was a surprise to see Ronnie wearing a white shirt (imo I like it and think it suits him well).

  2. Although Ronnie lost, as a snooker fan, I appreciated the match, and hope Ronnie can pick up some form for the coming tournaments.
    Earlier yesterday Ronnie had a clip on twitter which I would like to share with you all.

  3. Some thoughts:

    1. It had been a long time since Ronnie had worn a white shirt. Was there a dress code this week that required white shirts?

    2. Ronnie is now back to #1 on the AST list, at 16.93 seconds (compared to Thepchaiya’s 16.97). I guess Ronnie’s the most exciting player on the tour, again.

    3. I can understand why Ronnie doesn’t always want to play the kind of snooker that he would play if all he cared about was winning, but I can’t totally understand why Ronnie bothers traveling to all these tournaments if he’s not going to try to win.

    4. That being said, if Ronnie were going to try to design a strategy to maximize his chances at the Crucible, that strategy would probably involve either skipping all of the preceding tournaments altogether, or making a point of not winning (m)any of the preceding tournaments so that he saves his energy and reduces the pressure/expectations that will be put on him at the Crucible. Perhaps he’s approaching this season with a goal of trying to put in a better showing at the WSC…(Which he would never admit publicly, of course…)

    • I do believe yesterday Ronnie played to win, and he just ran into bad luck (sinking the pink when he potted the black and the miscue) and an opponent who played brilliantly. It was certainly a wonderful imprevement compared to the matches against Dominik Dale and Jimmy. Having said that and without wanting to distribute some wisdom, I know that he likes these lucrative “numpty-free” one-table setups, but I surely wish he won some ranking events, despite his misgivings about teh Tour.

    • Quite honestly Mark, I believe that the best chance for Ronnie to win another World title would be for him to come at the Crucible without expectations on his shoulders. In 2012, he was on the back of two very bad seasons. He only just avoided to have to qualify. Nobody expected much from him. In 2013, he had only played one match all season, one he had lost against Simon Bedford. Nobody was giving him a real chance out there. I know it sounds weird given how much he has achieved, but Ronnie is not a confident person, he’s prone to anxiety and with anxiety comes insomnia.

      • I agree, Monique. I think it’s no coincidence that Ronnie’s last 2 World titles were won when he wasn’t really the favorite to win. He doesn’t seem to enjoy the pressure that comes from being expected to win, and maybe by not winning so much this season he can take some (external) pressure off of himself.

        The insomnia issue is an interesting one, in the sense that Ronnie has shown up to some of the biggest events the past few years (e.g. Masters, World) looking really tired and/or feeling ill. I guess he feels a lot of pressure to win those events and then ends up not sleeping well as a result…

  4. No comment on the miscue in the decider that cost Ronnie the match? According to Stephen Hendry in the commentary, the first time he had seen Ronnie miscue.

    • It’s certainly not the first time. I remember one against Mark Williams at the Masters (jumping over the black), one at the World against Carter (blue, similar to what Bingham did ealier this week), one against Perry (on the pink) and I’m sure there were more. Look up youtube, you’ll find some for sure.

  5. This was a very good match and Neil has lost important matches in a row to Ronnie, so maybe he was due one. And I certainly hope he will keep up this level of play in the final.

    It was really good to see Ronnie find some form. Hope, he’ll carry it over to the next tournaments together with the good mindset he seems to have acquired.

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