2020 Northern Ireland Open – Ronnie books his place in the QF round

Ronnie won his two matches yesterday to book his place in the quarter-finals. He will play Ding Junhui this evening.

The last 32 match against Matthew Stevens wasn’t the best for either of them. They both struggled. The table conditions seemed to be very difficult, the table playing “heavy” and the cushions being “pimgy”. Judd Trump, who had won on that table earlier,  had complained about it during his postmatch interview with the Eurosport pundits. When a player who just won – fairly comfortably as well – complains, it has to be taken seriously.

Ronnie applied himself despite the adverse conditions and won by 4-2, “avenging” his defeat to Matthew at the same stage in the English Open last month.

Here are the scores:

NIOpen2020L32ROSvStevensWinNIOpen2020L32ROSvStevensScores

There was no report by WST on that match, that started very late, more than an hour and a half later than scheduled, and finished shortly before the evening session was due to start.

The only thing that made the headlines about that match was this:

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan FARTS during match against Matthew Stevens before cheekily blaming referee for breaking wind

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan somehow managed to silence an already silent Milton Keynes arena on Thursday.

The six-time world champion loudly broke wind during his Northern Ireland Open third-round victory over Matthew Stevens.

O’Sullivan trailed 2-1 in frames and 8-0 in points when he accidentally let off a fart before his attempt at a red.

Stevens and referee Ben Williams were unable to hold in their amusement before O’Sullivan cheekily suggested his opponent did it.

The 44-year-old then valiantly admitted to ‘dropping his guts’ in a typically honest confession.

“I dropped my guts – I am taking full ownership of that,” he said after winning the match.

“I have had stomach problems for a couple of months.

“I did say ‘Was that you’ to the referee but I am proud of that one.

“As for the table – it is the heaters and the effect on the cloth. It is like taking clothes to the dry cleaners and they do them on too high a heat.”

Neal Foulds, the commentator for the clash, was also unable to stop himself laughing, saying: “That was a very unfortunate noise.”

The report is actually inaccurate. A mischievious Ronnie suggested that the referee did did, he even actually asked him “was that you?”. Poor Ben Williams became redder than the red ball Ronnie was playing, but still laughted it off in good spirit!

The key to that match was that, despite countless errors, Ronnie was able to score heavily when in the balls, whilst his opponent wasn’t. Also Matthew should have gone three one up but, offered a really good opportunity in frame four, he refused to use the rest, and played a red left-handed, on a full strech. He missed and it was the turning point of the match. This was the table situation:

ROSMaffTable situationNIOpen2020L32

In the evening Ronnie faced Thepchaiya Un-nooh in the last 16 round, and won by 4-2, despite looking quite uncomfortable at times, clearly suffering from an upset stomach.

It was a very entertaining match to watch all the same.

Here are the scores:

NIOpen2020L16ROSvTheppyScores

This is the report by WST:

O’Sullivan Downs Un-Nooh In Thriller

NIOPen2020ROS-2

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan came through an enthralling clash with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Matchroom.Live Northern Ireland Open.

It’s O’Sullivan’s first trip to the quarters of a ranking event since securing a historic sixth World Championship win in August.

His most recent meeting with Thailand’s quickfire Un-Nooh came in the opening round at the Crucible this year. On that occasion O’Sullivan demolished Un-Nooh 10-1, this evening’s match was far more closely contested.

Each frame of the thrilling encounter contained a break over 50. It was Un-Nooh who claimed the opener with a run of 85. However, contributions of 106 and 60 saw O’Sullivan move 2-1 in front. Un-Nooh restored parity with a break of 98.

With the scores locked level at 2-2, there was a crucial fifth frame. Un-Nooh had looked set to move one from victory, before missing a straightforward red to the middle on 66. O’Sullivan ruthlessly capitalised by stealing on the black with a break of 70.

The Rocket then wrapped up the win to book a mouth watering quarter-final with Ding Junhui, who scored an impressive 4-1 defeat of John Higgins.

O’Sullivan said: “I didn’t have much choice in it. Thepchaiya just attacks the balls at all times. You can’t really keep him under wraps. You just have to try and score better, make less mistakes and capitalise if he makes a mistake.

“A bit of run of the ball here or there and it can be over very quickly. I feel I got away with that tonight. He was the better player and I got a bit of luck. I had no luck in the first three matches. They do say if you are patient enough then sometimes the luck turns around. I believe you make your own luck and I got mine tonight.”

The 70 break that Ronnie made to go 3-2 up was gem and it was the pivotal moment in the match.

There were also two articles by Eurosport about that match:

This one is actually a report on the match:

NORTHERN IRELAND OPEN 2020 – RONNIE O’SULLIVAN RACES TO WIN OVER THEPCHAIYA UN-NOOH TO REACH LAST 8

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan moved into the last eight of the Northern Ireland Open. Last year’s beaten finalist remains on course to go one better than 12 months ago, having beaten Matthew Stevens earlier on Moving Day in Milton Keynes. Up next is a clash with either John Higgins or Ding Junhui.

NIOPen2020ROS-3.png

Ronnie O’Sullivan advanced to the last eight of the Northern Ireland Open with a 4-2 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
The Thai was not overawed by facing the world champion and had his chances to cause a shock. However, he faltered at key stages in the fifth and sixth frames, and on both occasions O’Sullivan stepped in to punish his opponent and seal the win.

After beating Matthew Stevens earlier in the day, O’Sullivan returned to complete his Moving Day in fine style and remains on course to go one better than in the previous two years of the tournament.

Taking an eye off O’Sullivan and Thepchaiya is not advised, given the pace they play. O’Sullivan got in the opening frame, but was unfortunate to pot the blue only to see a red go in when attempting to split the pack. Thepchaiya jumped out of his chair and gave a passable impression of his opponent by knocking in a break of 85 in under five minutes.

Thepchaiya got in first in the second frame, but he played a pink into the middle with too much pace and it failed to drop. O’Sullivan – who watched Thepchaiya intently during his break of 85 – did not waste the chance, as he stroked in a swift and impressive 106 to level the scores.

World champion O’Sullivan relishes playing against an opponent who operates at a fast pace, so a meeting with Thepchaiya was always likely to suit. Thepchaiya had a chance in the third, but missed a long blue and O’Sullivan was out of his chair before the balls had come to rest.

A shade over five minutes later, last year’s beaten finalist was in front courtesy of a 60, which included an audacious long black from a tight angle.

At the World Championship earlier this year, Thepchaiya was thrashed 10-1 by O’Sullivan. The fear was that he would wilt after falling behind, but the Thai dispelled that notion with a break of 98 to level the match at two frames apiece.

Thepchaiya was well set to move ahead in the match, but his break broke down at 66. O’Sullivan rolled in a tough red into the middle to get his break going and he cleared with a 70 to punish the error.

The Thai faltered again when well set in the sixth and later in the frame he missed a yellow that he probably should not have taken, which allowed O’Sullivan to step in and claim victory.

Up next for O’Sullivan is a meeting with Ding Junhui, who ran out a 4-1 winner over John Higgins. Breaks of 82 and 95 were too much for Higgins, who won the first frame but was then overpowered.

The other one is more about Ronnie;s assesment of the match:

 ,h2>NORTHERN IRELAND OPEN 2020 – O’SULLIVAN ADMITS LUCK WAS ON HIS SIDE AGAINST THEPCHAIYA UN-NOOH,/h2>

World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a 4-2 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh but felt he was a litle fortunate. “The first three matches I felt I was getting no run of the ball at all, and having to fight all the elements, but tonight I got the run of the ball.” Last year’s beaten finalist will meet Ding Junhui in the quarter finals.
NIOPen2020ROS-4.png

Ronnie O’Sullivan has admitted he was a shade fortunate in his win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh at the Northern Ireland Open.

The world champion booked his place in the last eight at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena, which is playing host to the event due to Covid-19 restrictions, with a 4-2 win.

It was far from vintage snooker from the 44-year-old, who felt the run of the balls favoured him over his Thai opponent.

“I got some luck today,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “The first three matches I felt I was getting no run of the ball at all, and having to fight all the elements, but tonight I got the run of the ball.

“Not the balls he missed, that’s his own fault, but I missed a few balls and got safe and if I hadn’t he’d have probably cleared up.”

O’Sullivan says he is enjoying his snooker, and will continue to play for as long as he can compete with the players at the top of the game.

He added: “Even though I didn’t feel great out there, I am enjoying it and it is nice to be out there hitting balls.

“I just take what is going, have fun and will not take it serious, but take it serious if that makes sense.

“I play this as a hobby. I do other stuff for my work and my business side of things.

“I practiced last week. I did about 20 hours, I’ve never done that since I was 17/18. I don’t really want to be playing snooker all day. I like hitting a few balls, and at my age you want to chill out and enjoy yourself.

“At some point when I can’t compete, I will be on the exhibition circuit and the seniors. I am like Jimmy [White], I just love playing, but don’t want to come here and get bashed up. I just love playing snooker.”

The bold bits in the the body of the article have been highlighted by me. I think they are important to undersyand Ronnie’s attitude at the table at this stage of his career, and it’s good to read.

One important aspect of what happened yesterday is that Ronnie is now ranked 18th in the “race to the World Grand Prix 2020”.  Not completely safe yet but in a good position. 

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