In a repeat of their final at the World Championship last August, Ronnie beat Kyren Wilson by 5-3 in the 2020 World Grand Prix quarter-finals. Ronnie was far from his best, in fact he didn’t play well at all, but somehow managed to win from 3-1 down.
The key? Sports journalist Nick Metcalfe nailed it on twitter:
Here are the scores:
Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 3-1 down to beat Kyren Wilson 5-3 at the matchroom World Grand Prix and could be in line for a momentous day on Sunday.
O’Sullivan has been nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the first time in his career with the public vote to take place on Sunday evening. He could win that award and this week’s tournament at the same time which would be a unique double triumph.
First he will have to get through a semi-final on Friday evening against runaway world number one Judd Trump, who eased to a 5-2 win over Martin Gould. Trump has won four of their last five meetings.
Wilson lost 18-8 in the Betfred World Championship final against O’Sullivan in August and looked on course for revenge tonight when he led 3-1, making breaks of 97 and 75. But the world number five made too many errors after the interval which let O’Sullivan back into the contest.
A run of 84 gave O’Sullivan frame five, then in the sixth Wilson had a chance to clear for 4-2 but ran out of position on the final pink, leading by 13 points. His attempt at a thin cut on the pink to a centre pocket not only missed its target, but sent the cue ball in-off. A grateful O’Sullivan took pink and black for 3-3.
In the seventh, Wilson led 33-4 when he failed again on the pink to centre. O’Sullivan made 86 to lead for the first time. The eighth came down to the last red, and a cracking long pot from O’Sullivan to a top corner set him up to clinch victory.
“When you are 3-1 down in a best of nine, you come out after the interval less tense, going for it a bit more,” said world number three O’Sullivan. “That helps because it sets your frame of mind.”
Asked about Wilson’s crucial shot on the pink in frame six which went in-off, O’Sullivan said: “The way he was pointing his cue, he was trying to get the white behind the black. The table was quite slidey and it can catch you out.”
O’Sullivan also shed light on a discussion between the two players ahead of the seventh frame. “I’ve got a Casio watch which cost £9.99 and it bleeps on the hour,” he explained. “Kyren was on a shot and it got to 9pm and it bleeped just before he hit the ball. He asked me to put the watch on pause, but I just took it off and gave it to the scorer.”
Looking ahead to his meeting with Trump, he added: “We have had a lot of good battles. I’ll have to raise my game to have a chance to beat him because he is playing to a very high level a lot of the time.”
Indeed Ronnie will play Judd Trump tonight and he has to improve massively to stand any chance. I don’t have high expectations TBH.
Listen here to Ronnie’s full post-match interview:
So, here you have it: Ronnie doesn’t practice much because he doesn’t have access to a good practice facility. He does not have acces to a suitable table – he has one at his mother’s place, he’s had it for a very long time – but this one isn’t by any means up to nowadays professional standards. This is far from ideal, but it is what it is. In the “covid” year, a lot of players are struggling for various reasons. Ronnie has actually done reasonably well under the circumstances.
And Ronnieknows full well that he needs to improve significantly to stand any chance, as reported by Phil Haigh:
‘We’ve had a lot of good battles. I’ve obviously got to raise my game to have a chance to beat Judd,’ O’Sullivan told WST.
He’s obviously playing at a very, very, very high level a lot of the time.’
He told ITV of Trump: ‘He seems to be in the semi-finals and finals every tournament he plays in.
‘For me it’s a good opportunity. I really enjoyed the match we had in the Irish final. I think we both played pretty good stuff. I’d like to be able to play somewhere like that.
‘I obviously enjoy the games with Judd, he takes the game to you, and he plays the game the way I think it should be played.
‘You’ve got to bring your A-game.’
Finally, I have to say that the efforts put by WST to create an attractive setup in the empty arena have been tremendous. Those are screen shots…