Ronnie won his first game of the season yesterday, when he beat Brian Ochoiski, the 21 years old amateur from France, in the last 128 round of the 2020 English Open.
Here are the scores:
Ronnie looked very rusty and nervous at the start of the match, whilst Brian started brilliantly. He took full advantage in the first frame when Ronnie missed a long pink to the yellow pocket. He won the second frame with a wonderful century, and he was first in again in the third frame. The shot that turned the match around was a missed long pink in the yellow pocket by Brian, ironically, the exact same shot that Ronnie had missed in the first frame. Ronnie didn’t win the frame from there, but he made a good 51 and that settled him. From then on, it was pretty much one way traffic although Ronnie will need to improve if he is to go deep in the tournament.
Ronnie said something interesting in his post-match interview: he changed his shot selection and approach to the match because Brian wasn’t responding to his “normal ” shot selection the way he expected. Ronnie then allegedly decided to “go for eveything”, just a Brian did. I’m not sure about that though, because Ronnie actually did play quite a number of excellent safeties. His weakness, as always when not match-sharp, was his long potting.
Brian’s excellent performance overall shouldn’t surprise anybody. In the European Masters, last month, he had taken Jack Lisowski to a decider. In the Championship League Snooker, he had managed a draw with Joe O’Connor, taken a frame from John Higgins, and finished third of his group, earning his first “professional” prize money. Yesterday, he scored his first century in the professional game. He’s still learning. He comes from a country where snooker is’nt big. He’s still raw, but his talent is evident. He’s definitely one to watch, this season and beyond, and we will see plenty of him because he came second on the 2020 Q-school Order of Merit, so he is likely to be invited in most tournaments this season.
Here is the report by WST:
O’Sullivan Battles Through French Resistance
Ronnie O’Sullivan ended up pretty in pink as he came from 2-0 down to beat Frenchman Brian Ochoiski 4-2 in the first round of the Matchroom.Live English Open.
World Champion O’Sullivan, wearing pink varnish on his fingernails to help raise awareness for breast cancer charity Future Dreams, was in danger of an early exit in Milton Keynes but clicked into gear after losing the first two frames.
Talented 21-year-old amateur Ochoiski took a tight opening frame then showed his potential with a superb break of 105. He had two early chances in frame three, but a missed pink on 9 proved a turning point. O’Sullivan made 51 in taking the frame then compiled runs of 113, 55 and 52 in winning the next three.
World number two O’Sullivan, who won this event in 2017, will face Ryan Day or Mark Lloyd in round two on Wednesday.
“Sometimes you have to find the right style of play for a certain opponent,” said O’Sullivan. “Tonight there was no point in me playing the right shot, because then he didn’t play the shots I thought he would play. So I thought I’d play the same game as him and go for everything.”
As for the nail varnish, O’Sullivan added: “A friend asked if I would wear it and I thought ‘why not’? I actually really like it. Anything to help the needy and the vulnerable out. It’s good to get behind great causes and great charities. It’s something I have never been involved with before, but I thought it was a great idea. If it helps create awareness for breast cancer that can only be a positive thing.”
This is Ronnie’s tweet about his fingernails painting ahead of his match
Ronnie was interviewed by Eurosport… it made for spooky viewing at times 👻
And he was interviewed by WST as well of course
Also, ahead of the match, Phill Haigh reported on an interview that Ronnie did with his long time friend Peter Cohen.
Ronnie O’Sullivan may never play the Masters again and could miss World Championship
Ronnie O’Sullivan would not be disappointed if he never played in the Masters again and suggests he could miss future World Championships when crowds return to the Crucible.
The Rocket withdrew from the Masters this year, saying he simply didn’t want to deal with the media commitments and requests for tickets that come with the London event.
His fans hoped that it was just a year off from the tournament, but the 44-year-old may never return to the event he has won seven times in the past.
Having won his sixth world title in Sheffield this year, with either no crowd or a very limited number of spectators at the Crucible, O’Sullivan is more determined than ever to cut out the stresses of big events on the calender.
This could mean that he never contests another Masters, and he has even hinted that the World Championship could be removed from his diary when fans return.
‘For this year’s World Championships, there was no visitors, no guests, no one at the stage door, I could get in and out of Sheffield and I’ve never felt so relaxed there in my life,’ O’Sullivan told Pete Cohen’s Mi365 Podcast.
‘It wasn’t snooker, it was the stuff that surrounds certain tournaments. That was the reason I didn’t play in the Masters, because it’s a huge circus there.
‘Doing that was stopping me actually enjoying playing and for me it’s all about the playing side of it. So I decided to not play in any tournament that snooker wasn’t the priority.
‘So now, low-key events and the China events, I know the travelling can be quite hard, but once I’m there, my time’s not used up in that way, they allow you to just play snooker. They are the biggest events as well, and I do like China.
‘I won’t play a lot of the events where the circus is around, unless I like the town.
‘So York [UK Championship], I have to accept the circus there because I really love York and it’s a real good holiday for me.
‘London, the Masters is a no-no for me, if I never played in that again I wouldn’t be disappointed.
‘World Championships is a bit like that, unless Covid is still lingering around next year then I’d quite look forward to the peace and quiet in Sheffield that I had this year.
‘I’m a lot happier when I do what I want to do and set my own rules.’
It would certainly be a big surprise if O’Sullivan did not return to Sheffield next year to defend his world title and try to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven triumphs at the Crucible.
While he may prefer the event without a crowd involved, Hendry’s is one of the few records the Rocket has yet to break and he will almost certainly attempt to match it in 2021.
However, having skipped the Masters this year, it may well be that the Alexandra Palace crowd will have to go without O’Sullivan again in future.
The reigning world champion is in action in the English Open on Monday night, in his second event of the season when he takes on Brian Ochoiski in round one in Milton Keynes.
Nothing really new in the interview, but confirmation that Ronnie will very likely play in York, probably not at the Masters, unless “no crowd” prompts a change of mind … as for the World, well, his sponsors might have something to say about it, as they did last season. That said WST has put Crucible tickets on sale, but only in limited numbers. So clearly they still expect restrictions to be in place come April 2021.