Ronnie beat Liang Wenbo in the World Grand Prix last 16, and here are the stats…
Ronnie had three centuries in this match against Liang Wenbo, but still only scraped over the line. In the first two frames, Ronnie had 99% pot success. Then came the third frame, and it completely turned the feel of the match. There was a lenghty “false start” that ended up in a re-rack. The balls went incredibly awkward and, eventually, the players agreed that the frame was going nowhere. So they started again. But somehow, this “interlude” had completely broken Ronnie’s rhythm and fluency. He started missing and showing signs of frustration, and, he didn’t get much run of the balls either. Liang took full advantage and it went 2-2. Ronnie regained the advantage with a great 132 in the fifth, only for Liang to take the next with his best break of the match, a 74. The decider was scrappy … as deciders so often are, both players obviously under pressure. Liang looked like taking it, only to miss but leaving Ronnie a difficult table. Ronnie took the lead with a skilfull break, but couldn’t finish the job. With 25 on the tabble, it was Liang who potted the green and snookered Ronnie on the brown. Ronnie missed the brown at first attempt, but on second attempt hit it and got a snooker back as well. Liang mzanaged to hit the brown but couldn’t get it safe. Ronnie potted it and cleared to pink to win… phew!
Ronnie O’Sullivan reached the quarter-finals of the Coral World Grand Prix with a 4-3 win over Liang Wenbo, who missed a golden chance for victory in the deciding frame.
O’Sullivan felt his opponent was suffering from the “yips” and was fortunate to continue his progress at the tournament in Cheltenham. He’ll meet Graeme Dott in the last eight on Thursday at 7pm.
Playing in his first tournament since December’s Scottish Open, O’Sullivan may lack his usual all-round sharpness, but his break-building tonight was of the highest quality as he fired three centuries.
Breaks of 120 and 100 put him 2-0 up, before China’s Liang took the third with a 56 clearance then got the better of a scrappy fourth for 2-2. O’Sullivan’s 132 saw him regain the lead then Liang made a 74 for 3-3.
First chance in the decider went to Liang and he made 32 before missing a tough blue. O’Sullivan’s counter was on 47 when he failed to pot the last red along the top cushion, leaving it in the jaws. With every ball in the open, Liang took the red, pink and yellow but didn’t get position on the green. A safety exchange on the brown ended with an error from Liang which gave his opponent the chance to clinch the tie.
“It was a twitchy sort of game, Liang looked like he had the yips,” said five-time World Champion O’Sullivan. “For the first five frames he looked like he couldn’t let go of the cue. That put me off a bit because I was thinking if I can’t beat someone with the yips then I might as well turn it in. That type of thing goes through your head and you have to try to block it out and just play. That’s the difference between matches and practice.
“I felt very rusty. I’m ok among the balls but I’m all at sea in the other areas of the game. Hopefully with each match I can get a bit stronger.”
Here is Ronnie’s postmatch with WST
Ronnie is right, he will be second favourite against Graeme Dott, but as long as he’s still in the competition, he can improve and who knows? And, yes, Ronnie has entered the Shootout … so he really wants more ranking points, and with Gary Wilson winning tonight as well Ronnie now needs the final to get into the top 16.
And here is the postmatch analysis by the ITV pundits
And some more great images, thanks to Tai Chengzhe