Ronnie was beaten by Graeme Dott in the QF of the World Grand Prix yesterday. Here are the scores.
Dott was definitely the better player. He was excellent in all departments. The main issue in Ronnie’s game was a lack of accuracy in the safeties and in the positional game from distance. He isn’t match sharp and it feels. That comes from not playing enough in competition. It’s a difficult situation because Ronnie has never been one who copes well with “overplaying”; he gets “saturated” and stops enjoying it. At this stage of his career, he needs to enjoy it to be able to continue to play, enjoyment and motivation are the keys of longevity, but, on the other hand, he needs to play more to stay sharp.
Reaching the QF, in a tournament that features only the top 32 players of the season so far, isn’t that bad normally. But, in this case, it’s really a bit of a disaster. Ronnie is now 20th on the one year list. He can’t be overtaken, but, Tom Ford’s win yesterday means that he probably needs the final in Wales next week to get the opportunity to defend his Players Championship title. Unless he improves massively in his early round matches, I can’t see this happening. He hasn’t a bad draw, but it’s best of seven matches and Ronnie won’t go there full of confidence…
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s lack of match sharpness caught up with him as he suffered a surprise 5-3 reverse against Graeme Dott in the quarter-finals of the Coral World Grand Prix.
Former World Champion Dott is through to his second consecutive ranking event semi-final, having got to the same stage of last week’s German Masters, and will now meet Tom Ford, who saw off Gary Wilson 5-2.
O’Sullivan had won his previous five meetings with Dott, a sequence stretching back to 2011, but made too many errors tonight in Cheltenham and was punished. This was O’Sullivan’s first tournament since the Scottish Open two months ago, and even in scoring 4-3 wins over David Gilbert and Liang Wenbo in the first two rounds, he admitted his all-round game was rusty.
The Rocket may need a deep run in either the Welsh Open or the Shoot Out over the next two weeks to qualify for the 16-man Coral Players Championship later this month in Southport; a tournament he won last season.
O’Sullivan took the opening frame tonight after Dott had gone in-off in potting the penultimate red. Larkhall’s Dott hit back with breaks of 77 and 47 as he went 2-1 up, and he stole the fourth with a superb 60 clearance which included a series of excellent positional shots.
After the interval, five-time World Champion O’Sullivan made 52 and 102 as he fought back to 3-3. In frame seven he got the snooker he needed on the last red, but then made a safety error which gave Dott the chance to pot the red and regain the lead. And 42-year-old Dott seized his chance to close out the match in frame eight as a rasping long red set up a break of 91.
“I made a good break in the second frame and that settled me down, I played really well after that,” said 2006 Crucible king Dott. “My game is good, there are still parts of it that I’m not happy with, but it was fine tonight. Tom Ford is a great player and a good mate of mine as well so it’s nice that one of us will be in the final. It should be an open, attacking match.”
O’Sullivan said: “Graeme played well he deserved his victory, he was much the better player. I’ve got no complaints, I did well to get three frames. It’s hard to analyse my own performance, it doesn’t matter how I played, I just didn’t get the result. I always felt I was second best.”
Big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these great pictures