Ronnie won his all important first round match in Cardiff, beating Zhang Jiangkang by 4-1.
It was a decent match. Ronnie wasn’t at his best, but he looked very focussed, was patient and applied himself. He was very good in the balls, his long potting was decent without being outstanding. His break-off was slightly better than in previous matches, but still his main weakness. He finished the match wit 93% pot success, and 63% long pot success.
To me, Ronnie looked quite tense out there. He certainly knows that he needs to go deep in this tournament to get any chance to defend his Players Championship title, never mind his Tour Championship title. Seeing how he played today, and his attitude around the table, I think he wants it and will try his best this week.
His next opponent is Stuart Carrington. He’s a hard match player and rather slow. Ronnie will certainly have to be patient and apply himself like he did today. Hopefully, having won one match already will help him to relax a bit.
Lift Off For The Rocket
Ronnie O’Sullivan secured his passage to the second round with a 4-1 defeat of China’s Zhang Jiankang.
The Rocket is in need of a strong showing here in Cardiff and at next week’s Shoot Out if he harbours any hopes forcing his way into the upcoming Coral Players Championship. Only the top 16 players on the one-year list will earn a place at the elite Southport event and O’Sullivan lies in 20th position in the live rankings.
This afternoon five-time World Champion O’Sullivan composed breaks of 51, 53, 69 and 81 on his way to dispatching world number 88 Zhang. Next up 44-year-old O’Sullivan faces Stuart Carrington.
“It was a good game. I’m pleased to win. He can play, so I am just pleased to be through to the next round,” said O’Sullivan. “It is only one match, it is very hard to assess after one match, but hopefully I will feel a bit stronger after each game. That is the idea, so we will just have to wait and see.”
The pre-match assessment by the ES pundits
Last frame of the match, with BBC commebtary, and the interview post-match with BBC Wales
And the post-match analysis by the ES pundits
Great thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those beautiful pictures