Northern Ireland Open 2019 – Ronnie books his place in the QFs

Yesterday was the “moving day” in Belfast, the day where two rounds are played and 32 become just 8. Ronnie won his two matches and will meet Shaun Murphy in the quarter finals today.

Last 32

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Ronnie lost the first frame against Stuart Carrington yesterday afternoon, but then went on to win four frames on the trot to reach the last 16. Stuart Carrington is a very solid player, and he was in first in most frames. He certainly had chances, but not that many because Ronnie was ruthless at punishing mistakes. It was still a concern that Ronnie had to rely on his opponent mistakes to get in, rather than being able to create occasions for himself.

Worldsnooker didn’t report on the last 32 round.

Coverage:

NI Open 2019 – Day 4 afternoon session review with ES pundits

Thank you Tai Chengzhe for these lovely images

Last 16

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In the evening, Ronnie faced Yuan Sijun. Yuan is very talented and in the English Open 2019, last month, lead Ronnie by 3-1 in the last 64 round. That time Ronnie rallied. This time he never allowed his young opponent to get the upper hand in the match. The first frame was scrappy, as was the third frame, the only frame that Yuan won. In all other frames, Ronnie was excellent AND… his long potting was very good as well. His game seems to finally come together.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker (excerpt):

Ronnie O’Sullivan progressed to the quarter-finals 4-1 win over China’s Yuan Sijun.

The Rocket fired in breaks of 127, 78 and 57 on his way to victory and will now face a mouth watering last eight clash with Shaun Murphy tomorrow. The Magician booked his passage with a 4-2 defeat of world number 11 Barry Hawkins.

Afterwards O’Sullivan said that he plans to continue to play with an aggressive mindset over the weekend.

O’Sullivan said: “I enjoy it. I wish I’d have done this 20 years ago and I’d probably have enjoyed it more. Just go for your shots and if they go in, they go in. When they stop, it is time to turn it in. I was watching Selby on the other table. I love Mark and he is a great player. But I have been watching his games. They are hard games and scrappy. I couldn’t play like that.”

Coverage:

NI Open 2019 – Day 4 evening session review with ES pundits

In the post match interview, Andy Goldstein tried to get a definite answer from Ronnie about his involvement in the triple crown events. He didn’t succeed. Ronnie confirmed what we already knew: he will play in the UK. He seemed still undecided on the Masters, saying that he doesn’t like the venue. But my feeling is that he’s likely to play there too. About the World, he’s clearly not too keen … at this stage of the season. There is still plenty of time though and in previous seasons, he’s been reluctant as well but eventually entered it. We’ll see.

And more great picture by Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!

With these results, Ronnie has now climbed to n°58 in the one year list. A win today would propel him at n°33, just outside the top 32, which is important when considering the opportunities offered by the Coral Cup series. Shaun Murphy has been the man in form this season. Can Ronnie beat him? I think he has his chances, provided that he plays like he did for most of his last 16 match. It won’t be easy though.

Ronnie doesn’t intend to scrap it out. I’m certain that he will be criticised for it, should he lose. However, when players become older, they need a way to stay motivated. Mark Williams this season seems to have decided to let himself slide down the rankings in a slow retirement process. Last season, John Higgins looked totally dispirited for the best part of the season; this season a new cue and some good results have him back on the war path. Ronnie said that playing this way allows him to enjoy his snooker and keeps him going. That’s all good to me. These guys have done this for over 27 years as pros, they have nothing to prove.

 

One thought on “Northern Ireland Open 2019 – Ronnie books his place in the QFs

  1. I wish recall that Higgins, despite not having a brillant season last year, was able to reach the world final for a third consecutive time. In my opinion a big achievement for a player who is 43.

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