On Day 15 at the 2020 Crucible – Ronnie beats Mark Selby by 17-16 in the SF

Ronnie had never been in front since Mark Selby peggeg him back at 5-5, early in the second session but he produced some magic to bring the match to a decider – from 9-13 and 14-16 down – and then win the said decider.

Here are the match numbers:


They played two sessions yesterday and those are the reports by WST:

Morning session:

Despite losing the last two frames of the third session, Mark Selby holds a 13-11 lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan going into the last chapter of their Betfred World Championship semi-final battle.


O’Sullivan looked a fading force at 13-9 behind, but crucially took the next two frames to reduce his deficit. They resume at 7pm on Friday with first to 17 frames to go through to the final to face Anthony McGill or Kyren Wilson.

Selby remains on course to beat O’Sullivan for a third time in three Crucible meetings, including the 2014 final when Selby came from 10-5 down to win 18-14. The Leicester cueman has reached the final four times and won three of those. O’Sullivan is playing in his 12th semi-final – equalling Stephen Hendry’s record – and hopes to lift the trophy for the sixth time on Sunday night.

A break of 97 gave Selby the opening frame this morning and put him 10-7 ahead. He had a chance in the next but missed a red to a top corner when leading 32-23, letting O’Sullivan in for a run of 45 which proved enough to take the frame.

Selby’s 68 gave him frame 19 and he was among the balls first in the 20th but missed the brown on 26, and O’Sullivan’s 68 made it 11-9 at the interval.

Two breaks of 72 saw Selby pull away to lead 13-9, and at that stage he had won 11 of the last 15 frames. He might have stretched his lead had he not missed a red on a run of 50 in the 23rd. The frame came down to the last red and O’Sullivan was fortunate to trap his opponent in a tough snooker, and from the chance that followed he cleared with 33 to pulled one back.

In the last frame of the session, Selby had one early chance but only made 8, and O’Sullivan made breaks of 46 and 41 to draw within two frames.

Evening session:

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 16-14 down to beat Mark Selby 17-16 in a thrilling contest at the Betfred World Championship to set up a final clash with Kyren Wilson.

O’Sullivan took an instinctive, all-out-attack approach for much of the contest, often attempting outlandish pots rather than playing safe. On several occasions, including in the deciding frame, he escaped from snookers with cavalier power shots. In his post-match interviews, Selby accused his opponent of being “disrespectful” due to his shot selection.


But ultimately O’Sullivan’s method paid dividends as he reached the Crucible final for the seventh time and first since 2014. Victory would give him £500,000 and a sixth title, bringing him level with Steve Davis.

Over a possible 35 frames on Saturday and Sunday, O’Sullivan will face Wilson, who beat Anthony McGill 17-16 on an extraordinary day in Sheffield. It’s the first time in Crucible history that both semi-finals have gone to a deciding frame.

If he lifts the trophy, Chigwell’s 44-year-old O’Sullivan would become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon in 1978. He is on target for a 37th ranking title, which would move him one ahead of Stephen Hendry.

Three-time champion Selby played some of his best snooker of recent years in beating Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals and in spells against O’Sullivan. He may regret missing the chance to charge for the line when he led 13-9. But in the concluding session the standard was high and there was little Selby could do to stop O’Sullivan’s marvellous finish.

World number six O’Sullivan made a fast start to the session with a break of 114 to leave him 13-12 behind, then breaks of 47 and 57 in the next drew him level. O’Sullivan led 51-11 in the next when he tried to split a cluster of reds in potting the brown, but missed the pack and went in-off. That was a momentum shift as Selby cleared superbly with 56 to regain the lead.

Selby’s run of 63 put him 15-13 ahead and he looked set to extend his advantage in frame 29 until he missed a tricky pot on the penultimate red when leading 50-34. O’Sullivan cleared to narrow the gap.


Both players missed chances in frame 30 and it came down to a safety battle on the pink. Partially snookered, O’Sullivan trailed by six points then twice missed the pink, handing the frame to his opponent. The next two frames lasted just 16 minutes as O’Sullivan rattled in breaks of 138 and 71 to draw level at 16-16.

A thumping long red in the decider set O’Sullivan up for a break of 64, though he missed a red to a baulk corner when two pots from victory. Selby made 34 then failed to gain position on the last red and played safe. In a tactical exchange, O’Sullivan was twice trapped in difficult snookers but managed to escape. And when he had a chance at a tricky pot to a top corner he took it and added 17 points to clinch the result.

“Playing at the Crucible in big matches, you just want to find some solid shots,” said O’Sullivan. “There were spells where I was mis-hitting and not timing the shots well. You can get frustrated but I just tried to keep it together and compete. Mark was keeping me at bay and I didn’t think I could compete with him. I don’t know where the last three frames came from. I found some sort of magic towards the end, maybe from inspiration or desperation.

“When I was a kid I dreamed of playing at these tournaments, but as you get older you realise that it’s the game that fascinates you. I’d much rather be hitting good shots and striking the ball with authority – that’s where the enjoyment comes from. The by-product of that is that a bit of silverware comes your way. But every professional will tell you that if you are striking the ball well then you will have a chance to win tournaments.

“I am here to compete and even if I’m not striking it great and hitting some loose shots, I’ve got to stick in there and try to find bits of magic.”


Selby said: “I didn’t get much of a chance in the last three frames, apart from right at the end. I felt great – I felt like I was going to clear up. I just played a poor positional shot on the green. After that I played some good safety shots. Ronnie just kept getting out of snookers.

“During the match, I felt it was a little bit disrespectful, the way he played. Every time I put him in a snooker, he just got down and hit the balls at 100 miles an hour and they could have gone anywhere. I don’t know whether he was just in that frame of mind, but I felt it was a bit disrespectful to me at the table. In the last three frames he played great, I’ve got no complaints.

“Sometimes if you have no shot, you just hit them as hard as you can and hope to fluke one. Each time I had him in a snooker, he seemed to do it. Even if he had a chance to roll up to a ball, he would just come off the cushion. I just think it is disrespectful to the game and disrespectful to me in that particular match.”

In response to Selby’s comments, O’Sullivan said: “You want to hit it as hard as you can and hopefully get a fluke otherwise I could give 40 points away. If I was as good as Mark Selby at getting out of snookers, I could maybe get the balls safe.”

The final starts at 1.30pm on Saturday.

You can listen to Ronnie’s interviews here:

With the sponsor –

And about the “disrespect” bit as well as the return of a crowd:

As you can hear, Ronnie is not happy about having a crowd back … yeah another negative twat 😉

Regarding the “disrespect” bit, here is my take for what it’s worth.

Prior to the World Championship, Ronnie had been asked by Eurosport: “If you could have one match back and replay it, which would it be?”. Ronnie’s answer was “The 2014 Final”. In a way he got it yesterday. In that 2014 final, Ronnie lost to Mark Selby, from 10-4 up, because he got sucked in Marks’s game, allowed him to dictate the style and the pace and got mightily frustrated.  It left him with huge scars.

Ahead of this match, I expected Ronnie to go all out attack because of what he had said to Eurosport. It was clear that he wanted another chance to find an answer to Mark’s game, and the key to that was always going to be able to stay in control of the pace and style of the match. Therefore, it’s no surprise that he refused to be dragged into lengthy safety exchanges and tried to keep the game open and not allow his opponent to make it awkward. I short, he played to his own strengths, not his opponent’s. He did to Mark, what Mark had done to him in 2014, he took him out of his comfort zone and it worked.

Asked his opinion, this was Stephen Hendry’s reaction:

Hendry about "disrespect" from Ronnie WC2020 SF

At the time Mark Selby was praised for “finding a way” … Ronnie should be praised as well.



13 thoughts on “On Day 15 at the 2020 Crucible – Ronnie beats Mark Selby by 17-16 in the SF

  1. always defended Selby that it is his game, not out of gamesmanship, but that is what he can play for better or worse and it is the opponent’s job to find the antidote.

    But then why are you complaining when he found it???

  2. I’ve always been unsure about how I felt about Selby, frankly I find him quite boring to watch. However in recent years I have warmed up to him a little, even if I am bored watching him.

    As far as his comments after his loss last night… I get it’s in the heat of the moment, it must have been devastating for him especially since he probably thought he was going to win. But you would think a seasoned sportsman would have the wherewithal to tell himself if he loses to act graceful in defeat, it’s not rocket science. I have never really seen this kind of sore loser attitude in snooker .. a sport that prides itself on good sportsmanship. If he lost his head for a moment during the interview and regrets his comments all he has to do is apologize. I hope he does or he will be put in the same box I put Judd in after Neil’s record 100 centuries in one season and Judd sat there without so much as a nod.

    It will be wonderful to see Ronnie win another much deserved world title. I’m confident he can do it! Either way though Ronnie your fans are with you.

  3. II think Selby really did a disservice to himself, because he comes out as a very sore loser, and ridiculous too for complaining that the opponent did not plays his [Selby’s] game rolling the ball to the cushion or wherever, but played his own, which Ronnie did at his own peril anyway. Of course it is terrible for Selby that Ronnie hits that ball hard and o top of everything produces a snooker of his own. ) understand his frustration, but I did like the man and I think after this many people lost respect for him.

    Having said that, great effort by Ronnie yesterday and totally understandable he did not want to walk into the same trap as he did in the 2014 final. Now good luck, Ronnie for the upcoming final!!!

    • It is terrible that after the magnificent Ron’s finish to the match, the potting and play rarely seen in history of modern snooker, under most severe pressure, that instead of giving it due praise we cannot avoid commenting on that petty man who took it away from the opponent. Truly awful. He should appologize to the snooker world and the fans if he had any decency left, which I doubt.

  4. All as called. Ron upped his game a bit when mattered most and won with ease. You should have belief, peeps. As for his opponent, that’s a sour loser if there ever was one. And a petty man and a boring watch to boot. He can now fist pump to his wife all day long (btw. why did we have to watch her anxiety, it was not fair towards Ron and millions of his fans cuz he had nobody to show for in an empty arena). Anyhow, me and my wife and my little daughter of five are all happy, we all love and watch snooker for Ronnie, a class act at the table, a sportsman, the best there ever was. And so are all my mates. What a happy day, one of the best in snooker ever. Btw. thanks SL, sorry you couldn’t make it, hope you do it in the next years, better times ahead of the world anyway, I’m sure 🙂

  5. Yes of course it was a great day of snooker drama, probably unsurpassed. Both finalists were extremely lucky. But perhaps it’s inevitable that matches end up this way given the circumstances. In this World Championship everyone is underprepared and lacks match sharpness. It’s entirely understandable that the overall standard hasn’t been the best, despite some periods of good play.

    In terms of Ronnie, I fear he is trying to win this World Championship in the manner of Alex Higgins in 1982, and I’m not sure ‘the Hurricane’ is a great role model. I agree with Ronnie’s own analysis about his cue-action – it’s actually quite hard to watch. However, all of the post-match interviews were awful (I normally try to avoid listening to them).

    As for ‘disrespectful’, well yes. But that’s not illegal: Ray Reardon used to deliberately leave ‘tempter’ pots to test out opponents. The trouble is that it makes for uncomfortable viewing, and gets copied by kids in clubs. It worked for Ronnie this time, but it’s not a tactic that can be used continually. If he can somehow keep his head together for 2 more days Ronnie should win, which will be a great achievement in the context of a 44-year old.

    • According to Ronnie’s opponent, Ron should have suppressed his genius, roll over, play dead, and let the other guy win. Truly embarassing. He should be ashamed. I feel ashamed for him.

  6. After watching Selby’s post match interviews, I have to say I think he is being rather petulant and his comments were rather distasteful. No doubt he is devastated at the result and having a mic shoved in your face after a defeat like that is never easy, but to say Ronnie was disrespectful to him and the game for hitting and hoping his way out of snookers is ridiculous. The snookers he had Ronnie in on several occasions were very difficult as the table was open. If he had tried to land on either one of the reds, he more than likely would have left one on and lost the frame. His mindset after the MSI was obviously to go all out attack and try and get Selby on the back foot. Selby was wining a lot of the tactical battles and I think Ronnie wanted to lose his way and not Selby’s like he did in the 2014 final. Better to fluke one or trust to luck. All the hit and hope shots he played were due to the fact he was in some really tough snookers. The fact he won 2 frames back to back and a 64 break in the final frame was quite incredible under the utmost pressure. Selby had a chance to counter clear and didn’t take it.

    He also mentioned Ronnie getting in his eye line when he was 13-9 in front. I have looked back over this and have no idea what he’s talking about. Maybe I’m missing something? I’m assuming he is referring to frame 23 as he said Ronnie was in his eye line when he was 13-9 ahead with a chance to go 14-9. He said he was potting into the green pocket which is on the opposite side of the table to where Ronnie was sitting. He said Ronnie put his cue next to his seat and then stood up. How could it be in his eye line if he was shooting into the green pocket? I looked back and cannot find this at all. Maybe I’m wrong or he got the frames mixed up but to come out and make a statement like that is actually quite shocking. Ronnie maybe many things and you either like him or you don’t but he ain’t a cheat! If he had an issue, why didn’t he say anything to Paul Collier? I’ve never been Selby’s biggest fan but always admired his battling qualities and ability to win when not playing well but tonight he sounded like a dic* and to make comments like that live on national TV after losing a tight match was out of order and not something I would expect from him. He’s lost my respect.

    • Jared, the key to this is that the losing player is interviewed just minutes after their defeat. Emotions run high and Selby must have felt sore. We fans should remember this when listening.

      • Hi Monique, I’m not denying that and you could see Mark was devastated but to make a statement about Ronnie being in his eye line and being disrespectful to him and the game I thought was quite distasteful. If he felt Ronnie was being unsportsmanlike and moving in his eye line, why didn’t he say anything to the referee? I watched the frame in question back and didn’t see anything at all. I hope they pick up on this point later during coverage and explore it a little bit more as they went off air shortly after Mark gave his interview. I would be interested to see what the other pundits made of it. The way Selby conducted himself is not something I would associate with him and I just found his comments it a bit disappointing. You should accept defeat gracefully, no matter how difficult the circumstances. McGill was an example of this.

    • Sour loser if there ever was one. To take way from your opponent in such manner at such worldwide scene is the most embarassing thing in snooker I’ve ever heard. Judd Trump in his most raw loser format seemed like a role model for kids after what Ron’s losing opponent treated us with.

  7. Ronnie tried something new to avoid the long safety battles. I think he tried the same way during the 3rd session but his long pots/pots were gone BUT during the final session Ronnie looked very good amongs the balls again. Especially the last 3 frames.

    We all were nervy but Ronnie seemed very relaxed. And you knowhe wanted this match badly.

    Yesterday was a very very special day for the snooker, 2 climax matches, 2 different, classic matches and 2 interesting deciders. A day to remember forever

    • I think Ronnie and Wilson are feel a bit “out of the tank” after yesterday’s drama. I hope Ronnie can finish the job there at the Crucible.

Comments are closed.