The 2021 Welsh Open – Ronnie is through to the quarter-finals

Ronnie looked calm and determined yesterday. He played extremely well. It was a delight to watch. He lost a frame though… shame on him!

Here are the scores:

WelshOpen2021ROSL32-Scores

WelshOpen2021ROSL16-Scores

Ronnie had a 97% pot success against Martin Gould and missed just one ball in live play.

Here is the report by WST about the last 16 match:

Rocket Blitzes To Last Eight

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan dropped his first frame of the event so far in beating China’s Zhou Yuelong 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the BetVictor Welsh Open at the Celtic Manor Resort.

O’Sullivan has won a remarkable 15 of 16 frames this week and is now only one win away from reaching the 80th ranking event semi-final of his career.

Earlier in the day O’Sullivan brushed aside Martin Gould 4-0 to book his place in the last 16. This evening he fired in breaks of 67, 64 and 89 on his way to establishing a 3-1 lead over Zhou.

The Rocket then summoned a sensational break of 74, starting with the white near the jaws of the green pocket and the reds placed awkwardly, to seal his 4-1 victory.

On his run in the final frame, O’Sullivan said: “Even when you are playing badly, you think that you have to try and win every frame in one visit. It is just a normal mindset for a top player, that you think if you need more than one chance it isn’t good. The start point is that I want to clear up.

At the end of the day, it is how good your bad game is. If I can just get my bad game a bit higher, it keeps me in the game a bit longer. I can’t settle for mediocre, so I think I just have to go back to how I was playing before. It feels like I am able to make breaks like that, whereas I couldn’t before.

O’Sullivan will face Ali Carter in the quarter-finals.

This is Eurosport report on the Ronnie v Gould last 32 match:

WELSH OPEN 2021 – RONNIE O’SULLIVAN OOZES QUALITY IN WHITEWASHING MARTIN GOULD TO REACH LAST 16

Ronnie O’Sullivan has assumed favouritism of the Welsh Open following Judd Trump’s shock loss to Hossein Vafaei in the third round at the Celtic Manor Resort. The Rocket advanced to the third round with 4-0 wins over Robbie Williams and Jimmy White. He followed up with a brilliant display in crushing Martin Gould by the same scoreline.

On the day Judd Trump crashed out of the Welsh Open, Ronnie O’Sullivan assumed favouritism with an impressive 4-0 win over Martin Gould.
Trump fell at the hands of Hossein Vafaei, but there was no upset on the main table as O’Sullivan confidently disposed of Gould.

After winning his first two matches, against Robbie Williams and Jimmy White, without losing a frame – he continued the perfect display to advance to the last 16.

Gould had an excellent early chance in the opening frame, but he passed it up and a break of 75 from O’Sullivan punished his practice partner.
Like O’Sullivan, Gould entered the third round at the Celtic Manor Resort on the back of a pair of 4-0 wins. However, he came into the match knowing that he had never beaten the world champion.

He potted an excellent red down the bottom rail to craft a chance in the second, but missed the following black and O’Sullivan pounced with a 74 to move two frames ahead.

Gould had a chance in the third and looked favourite with the final couple of reds on the table, but he missed a pot into the middle and O’Sullivan stepped in with the ruthlessness of an assassin.
He developed the final red with an excellent cannon and potted a glorious brown into the middle to secure a three-frame advantage.

The world champion turned on the style in the fourth with some pots that would not have been out of place in an exhibition match.
They highlighted the confidence that is flowing through his veins, which comes from the amount of work he has put in on the practice table, as he knocked in a break of 138 to wrap up the match.
In disposing of Gould, O’Sullivan missed only one pot when the frames were live in what was a near-perfect performance.

And here is the report by Eurosport on the Ronnie v Zhou last 16 match :

WELSH OPEN 2021 – RONNIE O’SULLIVAN’S PERFECT RUN ENDS BUT BEATS ZHOU YUELONG TO REACH LAST 8

Ronnie O’Sullivan powered into the quarter finals with a 4-1 win over Zhou Yuelong. Judd Trump’s quest for a fifth title of the season came unstuck at the hands of Hossein Vafaei, but the Iranian went no further than the fourth round after falling at the hands of Mark Williams who has made it clear he wants to win his home event to honour the late Doug Mountjoy.

Ronnie O’Sullivan continued his serene progress at the Welsh Open with a 4-1 win over Zhou Yuelong.
Robbie Williams, Jimmy White and Martin Gould were dispatched without winning a frame in each of the first three rounds – which was an indication of the task facing Zhou.

O’Sullivan’s play was not as scintillating as in his win over Gould – it would have been hard to replicate what was a near-perfect display – but it was good enough to secure a 4-1 success.

After whitewashing his opponents in the first three rounds, O’Sullivan made it 13 unanswered frames in the event when taking the first against Zhou.
All aspects of his game appear in synch, as he produced a stunning safety at the start of the first frame and it enabled him to knock in a break of 67 to clinch the opener.

O’Sullivan kept Zhou cold for much of the second frame, as a break of 64 from the 45-year-old was enough to open up a cushion.
Zhou is on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 16 and he showed his quality with a brilliant opening red in the third, but he could only muster a break of 29. The 23-year-old had further chances as O’Sullivan’s level dipped a shade, but he could not make them count and the world champion stepped in with an 89 to move within one frame of the quarter finals.

O’Sullivan had the chance to make it 16 unanswered frames, but he proved he is fallible by breaking down on 47. He left an inviting table and Zhou produced an excellent clearance of 87 to avoid a whitewash.


Zhou taking the fourth frame gave O’Sullivan something to think about and the Chinese youngster had the tournament favourite in a spot of bother at the start of the fifth.
However, O’Sullivan spied a long red with the cueball in the jaws of the green pocket and he executed it to perfection. Within a couple of shots he had opened the reds and crafted a match-winning chance – which he took in style with a superb break of 74.

Before the match, Martin Gould had spoken to Phil Haigh about his preparation, his practice sessions with Ronnie and the state of his mental health:

Martin Gould details his ‘frightening’ Ronnie O’Sullivan practice sessions

Ronnie - Gould GettyImages
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Martin Gould have been working hard in the practice room (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Gould takes on his practice partner Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Welsh Open on Thursday after seeing the ‘frightening’ skills of the Rocket up close and personal.

Both men have looked in good touch so far this week at Celtic Manor, with neither dropping a frame en route to the third round.

Ronnie has despatched Robbie Williams and Jimmy White, while Martin has seen off Mitchell Mann and Jimmy Robertson in fine style.

Their respective sharpness is partly thanks to each other after some long and high-quality practice sessions before Christmas and in recent weeks, which Gould admits came as something of a shock.

The 39-year-old has been involved in the game for a long time, but he says when the Rocket comes calling, you answer.

‘We’ve been practicing with each other a fair bit, played a couple of weeks ago, played a fair bit before Christmas, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s been great playing with him, I’ve learned so much,’ Gould told Metro.co.uk.

‘When he got in touch I was like a little school kid. He messaged me out of the blue, I was just coming back form an appointment for my back and when I saw his message I had to literally sit down. I thought, “what’s he messaging me for?”

‘He asked what I was doing in a couple of days’ time and asked if I fancied a few games. I thought, “I don’t care if I have anything booked, I’ll cancel it.” I actually did have to cancel a couple of appointments, I jingled things around because I didn’t want to say no in case he thought I was unreliable. If he rings and says “come and have a game” I’m coming, I don’t care where he’s playing.’

Obviously taking on the six-time world champion in practice is a tough task, but Gould says it has been a highly rewarding one, seeing the Rocket firing at close quarters, while he also complimented Ronnie’s hospitality.

‘I got there the first time and he brought me a coffee and I was thinking, “I could get used to this.”’ Martin said.

‘Just watching what he does is frightening, it’s unreal.

‘It’s amazing to watch what he does, his mind is so quick. He sees safety routes and will just put you in there before I’ve even noticed it. I think I’m quick but he’s on another level. It’s the best practice you can have.

‘I’ve certainly not disgraced myself. He’s won a session, I’ve won a session, when I first went he peppered me a couple of times, but that was because I hadn’t been practicing,

‘I expected to get a beating and that’s what I got, but I’ve got up to pace and I’m nice and sharp now. We’ve had some good long sessions, an early one we played seven or eight hours and he text me the next day saying, “not sure I’m doing that again.”‘

Gould is confident from his first two wins but knows he has to be at his very best to beat his practice partner on Thursday in the last 32.

Their sessions in the club have taught Martin that mistakes will be ruthlessly punished and he is out to avoid them.

‘It should be a good one. I’ve had two 4-0 wins, just like Ronnie. If I play like I have been in the first two then I’ve got a good chance,’ Gould continued.

‘It’s about getting off to a good, fast start and then we’ll work the rest out from there. You just can’t afford to make mistakes against him, that’s what I’ve learned first hand in practice.

‘He can clear up from absolutely anywhere, I could put him on the floor and he’ll clear up, honestly. But if I start well, we’ll see what happens.’

2018 D88 German Masters - Day One
Gould is in with a chance over a best of seven against the Rocket (Picture: Getty Images)

Gould has enjoyed a good season so far, with a run to the final of the European Masters and quarter-final of the World Grand Prix after bouncing back from mental health problems last year.

12 months ago was the peak of his problems with depression and it is rewarding to be in such a good place in the same event one year on.

Martin has been able to help others by speaking so openly about his problems and has gone even further by messaging people directly who have been struggling.

‘I feel good. I came here wanting to play whereas I came here last year not wanting to be here, so it’s a bit of a swing from 365 days ago,’ he said.

‘This time last year in Cardiff I played Stuart Bingham and I’d already booked my ticket home before I’d played, that shows you how much I didn’t want to be there.

‘It’s been nice travelling, this is the longest journey I’ve done in ages. I was wondering how I’d be, but I was fine, I’m happy.

‘After the World Championship I got a lot of people messaging me, a couple from people I know and mostly people I don’t know on social media.

‘There was one guy I kept messaging every day for a while because he was in a real bad place, even if it was just one message. If I didn’t get one back within an hour I’d message again.

‘I didn’t know the guy but he appreciated it and he’s getting better. He messaged me a week or two ago and he feels a hell of a lot better.’

Also, in the Eurosport studio, Ronnie was asked about his views on Stephen Hendry’s return:

‘HENDRY IS A DIFFERENT MONSTER’ – RONNIE O’SULLIVAN UNSURE HOW STEPHEN HENDRY WILL TAKE TO TOUR LIFE

Stephen Hendry will make his return to action at the Gibraltar Open next month, following nine years in retirement. Ronnie O’Sullivan has given his opinion on the Scot’s return to the tour. “I just don’t know if he is that kind of animal. He just wants to win, win,” was the current world champion’s view.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is unsure how Stephen Hendry’s return to the snooker tour will play out, as he is concerned the Scot does not have the mentality to merely play and enjoy the game.
Hendry confirmed this week that he would end nine years in retirement with an appearance at the Gibraltar Open next month, having been granted a two-year card after floating the idea of coming back to the sport.

The 52-year-old is the game’s most dominant player, having won the World Championship on seven occasions, and O’Sullivan is concerned as to how he will approach his return to the sport.

O’Sullivan – a six-time world champion – feels at Hendry’s age he needs to embrace playing the game alongside his off-table activities, but believes the Scot may be consumed by his competitive instincts.
Anybody finds it tough,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport when asked about Hendry’s return to snooker. “You have to play really well to get results.
If Stephen can stick to what he’s doing – he does a lot of Instagram stuff, he has his TV punditry stuff. As long as he doesn’t say ‘right, I’m a full-time snooker player’ and invest 24-7 into snooker then he will be fine.

IT IS A GRIND. IF HE IS ENJOYING LIFE OFF THE TABLE AND COMES TO TOURNAMENTS AND ENJOYS IT AND HAS A BIT OF FUN THEN HE WILL ENJOY IT.

I just don’t know if he is that kind of animal. He just wants to win, win. If it’s me I just want to play. But Hendry is a different monster. He’s like Tiger Woods.

Ronnie will play Ali Carter today and that’s never going to be easy. Ali looks in excellent form and there is always a bit of needle between the two. Ali is a rather “angry” person.

But Ronnie feels in control of his emotions as explained to Eurosport:

WELSH OPEN 2021 – RONNIE O’SULLIVAN HAPPY WITH HIS MENTAL STATE AND READY TO DIG DEEP FOR WIN

The world champion powered into the quarter finals of the Welsh Open with a 4-1 win over Zhou Yuelong. That match saw him lose his first frame of the event, following whitewashes of Robbie Williams, Jimmy White and Martin Gould at the Celtic Manor Resort. Ronnie O’Sullivan will be in action in the last eight on Friday afternoon Ronnie O’Sullivan has insisted he is totally in control of his emotions and happy with where he is mentally.

The six-time world champion assumed favouritism of the Welsh Open when Judd Trump crashed out to Hossein Varfei, but O’Sullivan was arguably playing the best snooker of the event prior to the world number one’s shock exit.

O’Sullivan dropped his first frame of the event when beating Zhou Yuelong 4-1 to reach the quarter finals.

His next opponent will be Ali Carter, a player he has had confrontations with earlier in his career.
O’Sullivan is expecting a tough match whoever he plays, but will not let his emotions get the better of him.

I am always good mentally,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “I might not look it sometimes, but I can dig deep.

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE A 30-YEAR CAREER LIKE MINE AND WIN AS MUCH AS I HAVE IF YOU’RE NOT MENTALLY STRONG.

Sometimes I just show it. Some others hold it in better, but they are definitely going through it. I am a lot better at managing my emotions now. I know what’s going on now, whereas before I was just a bit confused and used to lose the plot. Now I am completely in control of it. I can see it coming and put the brakes on.

Ronnie has not always been “strong” mentally, and he has been open about his struggles, but he has always been able to bounce back and that is another type of strength.

Hopefully he can win today.

And to conclude … a mini video shared by Eurosport on twitter:

 

A lot more happened yesterday, and it was a quite pleasing day I must say, but that’s for the next post. 😉

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