Ronnie O’Sullivan came through an entertaining encounter with Chinese 16-year-old Lei Peifan.
The Rocket claimed silverware earlier this season at the invitational Shanghai Masters, which he won for a third consecutive year. However, he is in need of some strong ranking showings if he is to qualify for next year’s Coral Series, currently sitting in 83rd position in the one-year list. Only the top 32 will qualify for February’s World Grand Prix.
Tour rookie Lei made an impressive start to this evening’s encounter. He compiled a run of 87 to take the opener and move 1-0 up. O’Sullivan immediately responded with a break of 84 to make it 1-1.
O’Sullivan then fired in century run of 101. However, Lei, who a recorded his first victory on tour in the opening round against Louis Heathcote, refused to back down. He made his first professional century to level at 2-2 with a break of 100.
36-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan then charged for the line. Making breaks of 95 and 54 to round off the win. He averaged just 13.94 seconds per shot over the course of the match.
“He’s a good player and he pots a lot of good balls,” said O’Sullivan. “I’ve got a son and a daughter older than him. I don’t want to keep playing people like him, he is terrifying.”
Now Lei Peifan is 16 Ron … your daughter is still only 13 and your son 12. But yeah, they may look older than Pei who is really “petite”.
Here is the coverage
The evening preview:
The post-match in the studio:
And big thanks to Tai Chegzhe for those
The commentators were very impressed with Lei Peifan, and rightly so.
Regarding Ronnie’s match, he was very reliable in the balls but he started most of his big breaks from a mistake of his opponent. His long potting is still wanting , and his safeties are not as tight as I’d whish them to be. He will need to improve if he is to survive today’s match(es).