Ronnie will be disappointed to start the season as a World Champion with a defeat, but a lot of credit has to go to the 18 years old rookie Aaron Hill who beat him yesterday evening. This young man is a real prospect, probably the best European youngster I’ve seen for many years. At 18, he’s already a complete player. His game is very mature, he has loads of talent and his temperament is excellent.
Before anyone who didn’t watch the match comes with the usual comments – Ronnie couldn’t be bothered, he went for everything, etc… – Ronnie tried his hardest in this match. He applied himself, gave his opponent due respect. He wasn’t match sharp, which was to be expected as he probably wanted and deserved a good break after winning at the Crucible, but his attitude was excellent. Getting a bye in the first round probably didn’t really help him, and, contrary to his opponent, he did not competete in the CLS last week either. He came into this one completely cold. But he improved as the match went on, and may well have won it if it wasn’t for a massive fluke that allowed his opponent to start the 78 winning break. Ronnie’s reaction to the fluke said it all: the frustration, and the knowledge that his young opponent was well capable to win from there … which he did.
Here is the fluke and the winning 78 break:
And this is the full match:
And here is what Ronnie had to say to Hector Nunns after the match
“Look, I had my chances and if you don’t take them then this can happen.
“Things didn’t go my way in the decider, there were a couple of flukes and he held himself together pretty well.”
Here are the frames scores:
European Under-21 champion Aaron Hill summoned a sublime performance to stun World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and claim a momentous 5-4 victory at the BetVictor European Masters in Milton Keynes.
Tour rookie Hill booked his place in the second round with a 5-2 defeat of former Crucible semi-finalist Andy Hicks. The 18-year-old made his televised debut at last season’s Shoot Out, beating Kyren Wilson on a run to the last 32.
Irishman Hill got off to a dream start this evening, making a break of 73 to claim the opener, before taking the second to establish a 2-0 cushion.
O’Sullivan, competing in his first event since becoming World Champion for the sixth time, got a frame on the board courtesy of runs of 49 and 36. However, it was Hill who took the fourth to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.
When they returned, O’Sullivan dramatically upped his game. Breaks of 64, 58 and 102 saw him take the lead at 4-3. However, his teenage counterpart refused to wilt, taking the match to a decider. Hill kept his cool and secured victory with a nerveless contribution of 78. He’ll face Matthew Stevens in the next round.
Afterwards Hill admitted to being motivated by O’Sullivan’s comments about the lack of young talent on the circuit, which he made during the World Championship last month.
Hill said: “That comment was in the back of my head a small bit, but I didn’t worry about it. I just said to myself when he said it, that one day I am going to show him what I can do. I think today was the day.
“I’m speechless at the moment. I didn’t just go out there and be happy to be there. I still wanted to win the match. If I’d lost after being 3-1 up, I’d have been disappointed. I am just so pleased with that victory. Everyone back home, my family and my friends must be buzzing. I just looked at my phone and I think it is going to take until Christmas to reply to everyone.”
All the same, well done Aaron Hill and good luck for the rest of the tournament.