2020 Northern Ireland Open – Ronnie beats Elliot Slessor in the last 64 round

Yesterday, Ronnie beat Elliot Slessor by 4-1 to reach the last 32 of the 2020 Northern Ireland Open. here are the scores:


It was an excellent match, and one that Ronnie was 100% determined to win. Indeed, Elliot had beaten him twice in two previous matches and Ronnie gave it all to make sure that this match wouldn’t end in another defeat. He played excellent safeties throughout the match, he was completely focussed on the job. It was extremely tense as well, with the Eurosport commentators, Joe Johnson and Philip Studd, reflecting that it had the feel of a final, despite it being only the second round, best of seven match. It was compelling.

The signs were there through that Ronnie was going to fight with all he has, when he came back at the table in first frame, needing three snookers, but not playing for snooker; instead he cleared the table, to get his arm going and get a feel of the conditions.

Eurosport devoted not one, but two, reports about this match om their site:

This is the first one:


Ronnie O’Sullivan produced an impressive display to beat Elliot Slessor in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open. Slessor led the head-to-head 2-0 against O’Sullivan, but couldn’t take early chances and slipped to a 4-1 defeat.

O’Sullivan will next face Matthew Stevens, who won their last encounter at the English Open.

Ronnie O’Sullivan finally got the better of Elliot Slessor as he won 4-1 to reach the third round of the Northern Ireland Open.

World No 58 Slessor had won both previous meetings with O’Sullivan, but couldn’t make it three in a row despite taking the opening frame.

O’Sullivan finished with breaks of 76, 78 and 97 to clinch victory and set up a meeting with Matthew Stevens, who beat him 4-1 at the English Open last month.

O’Sullivan called the win over Slessor “one of the best” of his career.
“He obviously plays well against me and the way he started off he was just cruising round the table,” he said in the Eurosport studio.

I had to hopefully get a chance and he was unlucky not to go 2-0 up, left the red in the jaws, and I was able to steal one and get in the game. Sometimes beating someone like Elliot Slessor in this tournament in that round is better than beating someone like [Mark] Selby in the semi-finals of the Worlds because he is up for none, you have everything to lose. Everyone on the circuit knows how good Elliot is and he can play.

Slessor started confidently at the Marshall Arena with a break of 71 seeing him take the opening frame of the match.

O’Sullivan levelled in a closely-fought second frame, but only after Slessor played a poor positional shot to get onto the final red when he looked to have a chance of stealing the frame from 64-17 down.

The third frame saw Slessor punished for a missed brown into the middle, with O’Sullivan racking up a break of 76 to move ahead in the match.

Slessor ran out of position at 25-0 ahead in frame four and saw O’Sullivan knock in a red along the cushion to start a break of 78 that earned him a third frame in a row.

The Rocket then finished in style as a break of 97 saw him ease into the third round.

And here is the second one:


After losing their previous two meetings, Ronnie O’Sullivan was delighted to finally get the better of Elliot Slessor. The Rocket recovered from dropping the opening frame to win 4-1 and compared the result to “beating someone like [Mark] Selby in the semi-finals of the Worlds [World Championship]”.

Ronnie O’Sullivan described his second-round win over Elliot Slessor at the Northern Ireland Open as “one of the best victories of my career”.

O’Sullivan had lost both previous meetings with the world No 58 and looked in trouble as he fell 1-0 behind in the best-of-seven match.
But the Rocket stepped up a level and knocked in breaks of 76, 78 and 97 to secure his place in the third round.

That’s up there with one of the best victories of my career,” he told Eurosport.
“He’s beaten me twice before, had the voodoo sign over me, seems to play fantastically well every time he plays me, and he started off really well again and I was thinking ‘here we go again, he’s going to pump me 4-1, bit more cake in the face…back up the M1, I’m going home’

He obviously plays well against me and the way he started off he was just cruising round the table. I had to hopefully get a chance and he was unlucky not to go 2-0 up, left the red in the jaws, and I was able to steal one and get in the game.


O’Sullivan will next face Matthew Stevens, who won their previous encounter 4-1 at the English Open last month.

The Rocket has lost in the final of the Northern Ireland Open for the past two seasons but was pleased with his all-round performance against Slessor.

I was just trying to stay focused and patient and if I got a chance try and put some numbers on the board. If I didn’t get a chance try and not leave him anything too easy where he can attack me.

O’Sullivan also had some advice for his opponent, who started brightly but dropped off after missing a couple of crucial pots.

If he plays like he did in that first frame and a half why shouldn’t he be winning tournaments? He should be winning tournaments with that sort of stuff. Sometimes he gets a bit down on himself and a bit frustrated and this game is all about temperament.

Players have won world titles because of their temperament, not because their talent or ability is as good as Elliot, but you need to have that temperament. It is probably the most important thing in this game. You have to stay focused.

They also shared short videos on social media.

In this interview, Ronnie refuses to comment on the young players, hinting that there are many things that could be done to help them improve but that he doesn’t want to get involved as nobody would listen anyway. Of course, I don’t know what he has in mind, but I definitely agree that things could be made to help the younger players, and I’m convinced that a return to a tiered system, with no ranking points for the losing seed, and streaming of all tables – which actually already exists for the Chinese “market” – would offer a best development path for them, with exposure, and without protection for the higher ranked players. I also believe that even the first round losers should get a minimal “wage” for their efforts, unless they blatantly didn’t try.  After all, it takes two to play a match and by doing that they contribute to the sport and create value for the sponsors and venue managers.

And here is the WST report:

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Elliot Slessor 4-1 to end the world number 58’s undefeated streak against the Rocket.

Slessor came into the match having won both of their two meetings to date, at the 2017 Northern Ireland Open and the 2018 China Open.

It was Slessor who made the best start this afternoon, taking the opener with a break of 71. However, from there O’Sullivan wrested control of the tie. Runs of 76, 78 and 97 helped him to four on the bounce as he progressed.

O’Sullivan said: “That is one of my best victories for a long, long time. He beat me twice before, convincingly. He just always plays well against me and I felt like I was getting outplayed again. For me that is as good a victory than anyone I’ve played in my career, so I’m over the moon.

“It is the cake in the face scenario. Everyone expects me to win. If I don’t win, then I look like I’m not the player I was. I’ve got nothing to gain by winning. Nobody is going to be writing about what a great win by Ronnie O’Sullivan, into the last 32 by beating Elliot Slessor. They are going to expect that. Everybody on the circuit knows what a fantastic player he is. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

This afternoon, Ronnie will play Matthew Stevens, the man who beat him at the same stage in the 2020 English Open. Hopefully, this time, it will go the other way around.


2 thoughts on “2020 Northern Ireland Open – Ronnie beats Elliot Slessor in the last 64 round

  1. It was a very good and very tense match, obviously a lot of pride at stake for Ronnie and he conducted himself beautifully.

    Obviously hoping for a similar success this afternoon.

    About the other thing he said, I suppose he would have good ideas to offer the young players, but I’m very happy about his decision of not voicing opinion and may it long continue, as it is usually more of a distraction to him than advice taken seriously and act upon.

    On a different note, when you did not immediately post on what was quite an amazing display and (at least for me) a big relief to score a win over his bogeyman, i was worried that there was something wrong with you or in your life, so whatever it is, I’m sorry and hugs and courage.

  2. Yes, and lets hope Matthew fails to repeat the 98 % potting success this time round. Very entertaining match yesterday. Quality.

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