The 2020 UK Championship – Last 64 – Alexander Ursenbacher beat Ronnie by 6-5

It was really an afternoon to forget for Ronnie who was beaten in the last 64 round of the UK Championship by Alexander Ursenbacher. The score was 6-5, but really Ronnie didn’t play well at all.


As those scores show, Ronnie wasn’t able to score heavily. He only won one frame in one visit which is very unusual for him.

Alexander Ursenbacher was the better player, by far, and held his nerves when it mattered most, during the last two frames. Alex didn’t score heavily himself, but he potted the important balls, and didn’t make many glaring mistakes.

The way Ronnie lost two frames – the fourth and the sixth – from a winning position told the story: either he wasn’t thinking clearly or he wasn’t able to concentrate … or both. He certainly tried very hard, but nothing was working for him today. I can’t remember when he was that out of sorts. I thought that he looked very tired from the on, but he certainly said nothing about not feeling at his best health wise.

Here is the report by WST:

‘Embarrassed’ O’Sullivan Stunned By Ursenbacher

Ronnie O’Sullivan saw his hopes of winning the Betway UK Championship for an eighth time ended by a shock 6-5 defeat against Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher in the second round.

World Champion O’Sullivan admitted he was “embarrassed” by his own performance as he made a host of errors and crashed out at the last 64 stage in Milton Keynes. World number 66 Ursenbacher will hope to build on the best result of his career when he faces Jamie Jones or Jordan Brown next.

Ursenbacher’s best run in a ranking event came at the 2017 English Open when he reached the semi-finals

O’Sullivan hasn’t won a title since his Crucible triumph in August and has now lost twice this season to players ranked outside the world’s top 64, having been beaten by rookie Aaron Hill at the European Masters. And he has now lost both of his career meetings against Ursenbacher, having suffered a 4-2 reverse at last year’s Welsh Open.

After losing the first two frames today, O’Sullivan won the third with a break of 68, which turned out to be his highest of the match. In the fourth he was 35 points ahead with one red left, but then a safety error sent the cue ball in-off and his opponent cleared to lead 3-1 at the interval.

The next two frames were shared, then O’Sullivan won three in a row to lead 5-4. He had a match-winning opportunity in frame ten, from 37-0 down, but made just 14 before missing a red to a top corner. Ursenbacher made 40 for 5-5.

A superb long red from Ursenbacher early in the decider began a run of 47. He ran out of position, but then got the better of a safety exchange and added 36 for victory.

UKC2020-ROS-7“Alex played well and deserved his victory,” said O’Sullivan. “I made so many mistakes and if I had won that match it would have been robbery. Good luck to him, I hope he can win a few more matches. I just couldn’t pot any balls, I felt embarrassed. Every time I came to the table I just felt like I wouldn’t pot more than two balls. At 5-4 I thought I might steal it, but I didn’t deserve to win. There are no excuses. I haven’t got time to be disappointed because I’ll be back here for the Scottish Open next week.”

Ursenbacher, age 24, said: “That was a big test for me because I know I’m capable of beating the top players if I can play my game. When Ronnie plays well he is nearly unplayable. I beat him last year which gave me confirmation of what I can do. But I knew he would be really up for it today because it’s a big tournament. I told myself not to think about anything except the next shot.

“I think’s it’s my best career win because Ronnie is the best player to ever pick up a cue, plus this is a very big event and live on television. I haven’t really achieved anything yet in snooker, in my opinion. I am nowhere near where I want to be. I hope this will get some attention in the Swiss media.

“In a way there will be more pressure on my next match because no one expected me to win today. In the next round the expectation will come back and that’s the most pressure you can have.”

It was embarrassing indeed, and very hard to watch for me as a fan. Whatever he said, I’m certain that Ronnie is bitterly disappointed.

Good luck to Alex in his next matches. I’d like to see him doing well from here.. He’s young and he’s from mainland Europe. Him doing well can only be good for snooker as a global sport.




6 thoughts on “The 2020 UK Championship – Last 64 – Alexander Ursenbacher beat Ronnie by 6-5

  1. I was pleased to see him during the NI Open, he fighted hard maybe a bit unlucky not to force the decider and after the 1st game at the UK, I was thinking about “ok he has found some form this will be a big event”

    But after today’s game back to the Earth: everyone has a bad day but it was the worst match for him in this season.

  2. Embarrassment is the right word and it was totally painful to watch and one got her hopes up when Ronnie looked he had the frame won or almost won only to let it go in some crazy way. I was apprehensive of this match because of the previous loss, but it was the UK which is supposed to be Ronnie’s favourite and he always had some tough matches against people he should not struggle against, but usually scraped through. Well, he walked in with a big yawn and had more in his chair, not a very encouraging sight, his season so far has been pretty awful.

    • Ronnie’s season HAS been awful, though I’m sure we all feel like he has some leeway to play poorly for a while after his win at the Crucible.

      I suppose that Ronnie might prioritize the Masters now a bit more than he might otherwise have done, given that he lost so early at the UK. That said, I see that Ronnie and Judd are in the same half of the Masters draw, which means (among other things) that the #1 and #2 players in the world will have been in the same side of the draw at both the UK and the Masters this season. I’m not a big fan of that…

      • I’m not looking at the Masters just yet. I hope that Ronnie can get at home for a few days, practice and come back refreshed for the Scottish Open. But maybe his ES commitments won’t allow for that. As for his season, it’s not been great, but he still has made it to the final of a ranking event and is pretty safe for the World Grand Prix. So, it’s not all that bad. Al lot of top players have been inconsistent. Look at Allen. He’s won the champion of Champions, but hasn’t got past the last 32 since and has lost twice in the last 64 to Chinese teenagers. Look at Ding’s results. The same certainly applies to David Gilbert, or Jack Lisowski recently beaten by Jackson Page, Jak Jones and Ashley Carty. It;s hard to assess how much the current circumstances impact their preparation. One thing is certain, despite WST best efforts – and they really are working very hard to keep snooker going – there aren’t enough opportunities for players to practice at the venue.

  3. Funny how there seems to be a small group of young players who can beat Ronnie but can’t really beat anyone else…

    • Last season Alex did beat Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen, Ali Carter and Gary Wilson. I think the answer is in his own interview: he performs at his best when he’s not expected to win, when he plays with freedom, and he’s not the only one.

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