2020 English Open – Ronnie beats Brian Ochoiski in the Last 128 round, plus a pre-tournament interview.

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:

EnglishOpenROSL128Scores

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.

EnglishOpenL128ROS-2Talented 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

EnglishOpenPinkNailsROSTweet

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 6th WC
Ronnie O’Sullivan is happy to miss snooker’s biggest events (Picture: PA)

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.

Ronnie 2017 Masters
Ronnie O’Sullivan last won the Masters in 2017 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘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.

 

4 thoughts on “2020 English Open – Ronnie beats Brian Ochoiski in the Last 128 round, plus a pre-tournament interview.

  1. I think he should considering to continue to play at the World Snooker Championship and equal Stephen Hendry’s seven world championships at the crucible as he has a realistic chance of doing that like he did at the 2020 World Championship Snooker Championship against Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Mark Selby as he has the bottle to do it again.

  2. I was quite baffled about Ronnie’s comment regarding his own game, bc I did think Ronnie made some excellent safeties in the match and with the exception a couple shots I did not expect, he played quite reasonably. Ochoiski’s shot choices were sometimes surprising, but not disturbing to the extent that they would warrant a change of gameplan. There were some shots Ronnie missed, then went for them again when they showed up, as if to prove (to himself? to the viewers?) that he can do them…

    The Masters, or rather his opinion about it, surprised and surprises me, I thought, he liked that tournament. Top 16, no nobodies, what not to like? It is especially strange compared to the partiality he professed for the Chinese events, where there is really a lot of hoopla and fanfar with red carpet treatment and the like. Unless deep down he blames having to do media till midnight at teh Masters, for the nightmare final he played against Trump.

    In any case, it is unlikely there’ll be any crowds in any of the places, so he might reconsider. (Right now I’m afraid of another lockdown…) As to the Crucible, it’d be insane not to play, I know it is mental challenge for 17 days and he talked himself into disliking it, but I hope there’ll be just a limited crowd so he won’t be put off, bc this time we really got the impression he was happy to be there and enjoyed the challenge of it.

    • I have been both at the Masters, more than once, and the Shanghai Masters (in 2012). Yes there is the red carpet etc ahead of the tournament, but once it’s started the demands on the players were minimal, and they were quite well protected against “groupies” type of fans at the venue. At Alexandra Palace it was different, especially for Ronnie. Yes, it’s in London, although not very close to his home with the traffic and all. There is a lot of “hospitality” stuff, for the whole duration. The BBC does a lot of “features” filming, which is nice for the fans but not so nice for the players when it comes after a long evening match, followed by post-matches both with the BBC and WST. In addition to that, a lot of “random” celebrities pop in, expecting the players to be available for them, and providing free tickets for themselves and their friends. WST is not discouraging that, unless they behave inappropriately, because it adds “glamour” to the event. Nobody has more demands than Ronnie, and it must have been the same for Jimmy in the past. Whilst Jimmy seems to enjoy that, Ronnie does not.

      • Thanks, it is quite an interesting description: is it because of London and everything that goes with the city? In which case it will be quite interesting to see what they do in case of no crowd, or certainly not the normal service resuming in January.

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