Ronnie beat Ding by 6-5 in hard fought last 16 match at the Players Championship yesterday evening. He wasn’t at his best, but he certainly showed determination and a strong will to win. Despite a brief display of frustration, his attitude was excellent.
Here are the scores:
O’Sullivan Bounces Back
Two days after his memorable defeat against Jordan Brown, Ronnie O’Sullivan got back to winning ways with an exciting 6-5 win over Ding Junhui to reach the quarter-finals of the Cazoo Players Championship.
O’Sullivan was edged out 9-8 by Brown in the BetVictor Welsh Open final on Sunday night and is still waiting for his first title since conquering the Crucible six months ago. He might have lost another close battle tonight but conjured a brilliant break of 95 to win the deciding frame in typical style.
The Rocket moved a step closer to a third Players Championship title since 2018, and set up a tantalising clash with Jack Lisowski on Thursday night.
After sharing the first six frames tonight, O’Sullivan made breaks of 58 and 103 to go 5-3 ahead. Ding took the ninth with a 53 for 5-4 and led 67-0 in the tenth. O’Sullivan had a chance to clear for victory, but over-screwed position from the yellow then missed a tricky green. He threw the rest to the carpet in frustration, having allowed Ding to clear for 5-5.
Early in frame 11, Ding’s attempted long pot missed its target, and O’Sullivan took full advantage this time with a match-winning run.
“It felt tough at times, but I stuck in there because I want to be in the tournament,” said 37-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan. “I tried to forget about poor shots and focus on the next one. I like playing Ding because you can get into a good rhythm. A 5-3 I felt I would get at least one chance, then at 5-5 I was thinking ‘here we go.’”
Asked whether it was tough to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat, O’Sullivan replied. “The way I see the tour is that it’s like one continuous tournament. I don’t separate the events. I’m in round 38 at the moment! I just go out and play each day.”
Looking ahead to his match with Lisowski, 45-year-old O’Sullivan added: “He’s on an upward curve and I’m heading downward, we have had close matches before. He is very talented and has found his feet.”
They also shared Ronnie’s post-match interview and most of his century on their youtube account:
And here is the post-match analysis with Ronnie in the ITV studio
In the 10th frame, Ronnie had a chance to finish the match, missed a green with the rest and threw the “guilty implement” on the floor in a fit of rage, but he felft bad about it afterwards as he explained to Eurosport:
“I felt a bit bad there, I threw the rest to the floor. I hope I haven’t upset Ding. I was just frustrated you know,” said O’Sullivan, who quickly recovered his stride after losing 9-8 to 750-1 outsider Jordan Brown in the Welsh Open final on Sunday.
I JUST COULDN’T GET TO GRIPS WITH MY GAME. NO MATTER HOW PHILOSOPHICAL YOU BE, WHEN YOU ARE NOT STRIKING THE BALL AS YOU WANT TO, IT CAN BE FRUSTRATING.
“I don’t dwell on it, but it’s hard out there when you are fighting the elements. The elements of snooker shall we call it.
“It can be such an easy game when you just flow and the breaks are flying in left, right and centre like it was in the Championship League and most of the Welsh Open. But then all of a sudden, the wheels come off and its like you’ve sucked the well dry then there’s not really much there.
I‘M NOT REALLY GOOD AT JUST PERFORMING DAY AFTER DAY. I LOSE SOMETHING. SOMETIMES A DEFEAT IS GOOD FOR ME BECAUSE IT GIVES ME THE CHANCE TO HAVE A FEW DAYS OFF.
“Then I go into a tournament with a nice feeling if that makes sense.“
This win is important in the context of the run to the Tour Championship. Ronnie is currently in 4th place in the one year list and, even if he wins this tournament he can’y get any higher, but of course he can widen the gap between himself and the players below him in that list. BTW, the number five in that list is no other than his next opponent, Jack Lisowski. I watched Jack’s match yesterday and he is playing well BUT Martin had opportunities in every frame. He wasn’t able to make the most of them.
For now, six of the last 16 matches have been played in this tournament and all but one have been won by the player ranked higher in the one year list. The only exception is Stuart Bingham’s victory over Judd Trump.