Ronnie played well, but not fantastically well, in beating Ali Cater by 4-1 yesterday evening. He missed a couple of shots when he needed to screw back, playing with power. He looked composed, and quite reliable when in the balls. In the first frame, a red went in, after he split the pack open from the blue. It wasn’t an obvious plant that he had overlooked. I don’t think he could have predicted that.
He will face Barry Hawkins this evening.
Here are the scores:
O’Sullivan Overcomes Fatigue To Beat Carter
Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted he felt “butchered and exhausted” after last week’s Scottish Open, but the Rocket recovered in time to beat Ali Carter 4-1 in the first round of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
O’Sullivan suffered a 9-3 reverse against Mark Selby in Sunday’s Scottish Open final and is now playing his sixth tournament within two months. The 45-year-old insists his powers of recovery are not as strong as they were in his younger days, but his array of skills remain intact and he outplayed Carter to set up a second round match with Barry Hawkins in Milton Keynes on Wednesday night.
Carter started brightly with a break of 112 to take the opening frame, only for O’Sullivan to hit back with a 105 for 1-1. Frame three proved crucial as Carter, leading 52-44, missed the pink after potting the last red. His opponent punished him with a 20 clearance which included excellent pots on the blue and pink.
In the fourth, Carter was 38-57 down when he missed the last red along a side cushion with the rest, and again O’Sullivan took advantage to go 3-1 ahead. A run of 57 in the next saw world number three O’Sullivan past the finish line.
“Ali missed a lot of balls tonight, more than he usually would,” said O’Sullivan, who is yet to win a title this season. “When you are struggling at this game, your timing goes and anything is missable. It’s a confidence game – when you are confident you can attack the balls.
“Yesterday I was absolutely butchered, I felt exhausted. I don’t have the energy that I had years ago, I have noticed that whenever I reach a final it takes me two or three days to feel as if I want to do anything. After the World Championship it took ten days. I don’t have the stamina that I used to have, it takes me longer to recover.
“I am playing a few more tournaments this season but it’s better for me not to go deep in all of them, I can use 50 per cent of them for practice, to sharpen up for the tastier tournaments – the ones that get the juices flowing. One year I won everything and I was miserable because I was playing too many matches. The key for me is to stay fresh, stay hungry, enjoy my life and fit snooker in around my life.”
Looking ahead to his next match against Hawkins, O’Sullivan added: “Barry is a great cueist – if I could hit the ball half as well as him I would be over the moon. He is so consistent and so clinical with his technique. We have had some fantastic matches. The world final in 2013 (which O’Sullivan won 18-12) was as well as I can play, I was flying and I couldn’t shake him off. I will enjoy that match.”
Needing more time to recover is a natural thing that happens to everyone when getting older. The current very busy schedule should favour the younger players … and yet, it’s not really happening.
Here is Ronnie’s post-match … including the part that WST didn’t report about.
Who on earth came up with the idea to ask Ronnie about his relationship with Ali? And for what purpose? Trying to get some controversial quotes? To generate some click-bait stuff in the online news and blogosphere? Whatever it was, it didn’t work. Ronnie avoided the trap.