2022 German Masters Qualifiers – First round exit for Ronnie

Ronnie was beaten, and well beaten, yesterday evening by an inspired Hossein Vafaei. Indeed Hossein whitewashed him in less than a hour.

Here is the report by WST:

Vafaei Downs The Rocket

Iranian number one Hossein Vafaei scored a superb 5-0 defeat of 37-time ranking event winner Ronnie O’Sullivan at BetVictor German Masters qualifying in Cannock.

It’s the first time that O’Sullivan has been whitewashed in a full knockout event since suffering a 5-0 defeat to John Higgins at the 2017 Scottish Open.

Vafaei’s victory is a stark reversal in his fortunes in this tournament, having exited in the opening round of qualifying in all five of his previous German Masters appearances. The three-time ranking event semi-finalist is now one match away from a maiden trip to Berlin’s Tempodrom. He now faces Andrew Higginson tomorrow.

Vafaei was in top form this evening against an out of sorts O’Sullivan. He fired in breaks of 52, 50, 81 and 141 to storm into a 4-0 lead at the mid-session. When they returned, O’Sullivan elected to blast the pack off the break and potted a red. He made 24 from it, before missing and allowing Vafaei an opportunity to close out the match. Vafaei did exactly that with a contribution of 64.

And another one by Eurosport:


Hossein Vafaei compiled breaks of 52, 50, 81, 64 and a magical 141 as the world number 60 stunned six-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 in the first round of German Masters qualifying in Cannock in only 54 minutes. The last 32 qualify for the final stages of the German Masters, with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January 2022.

Hossein Vafaei enjoyed arguably the greatest night of his nine-year career as he destroyed six-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 with a barrage of brilliant scoring in a huge upset in the first round of the German Masters in Cannock.

Iran’s leading player has reached three rankin event semi-finals since turning professional in 2012, but this was perhaps the most notable victory of his career such was the ruthlessness of his scoring and speed of thought among the balls as he completed victory in only 54 minutes.

Apart from breaking down among the balls in the second frame, O’Sullivan did little or nothing wrong as the inspired world number 60 pieced together breaks of 52, 50, 81 and a glorious 141 to race 4-0 clear in under an hour.

That became a 5-0 victory quickly after the mid-session interval with the world number three only making 24 after potting a red off the break-off shot – going for broke with an ultra-aggressive opening play – in throwing caution to the wind before Vafaei pounced with another lovely knock of 64 to end any hopes of a recovery by the record 37-times ranking event winner.

The shock outcome also ends O’Sullivan’s hopes of emulating his success in winning the German Masters a decade on from his 2012 victory when he defeated Stephen Maguire 9-7 in an epic final.

Vafaei will meet former Welsh Open finalist Andrew Higginson, a 5-1 winner against Steven Hallworth, on Tuesday with a trip to Germany on the line.

Here are the scores

2021 German Master Quals R1 - ROS v Vafaei Scores

Ronnie wasn’t at his best, but, as Eurosport mentions, he wasn’t terrible either. Essentially, he was potted off the table, and kept cold in his seat, by an excellent Hossein Vafaei.

A lot of the social media discussions yesterday evening were about Ronnie’s break off in the last frame: how it was disrespectful to his opponent, and arrogant. My view on it is different. I mentioned at the end of the 2021 Northern Ireland Open that, to me at least, Ronnie appeared edgy and not in the best shape mentally. What I saw yesterday only reinforced these feelings. To me, that break off only showed that, the way he felt, being 4-0 down, Ronnie didn’t believe that he could come back and win, he just wanted to be out of there. This was not about his opponent, this was not arrogance, it was just giving up a fight he didn’t believe he could find the strength to win. That shot by Ronnie was an admission of frailty, not arrogance.

I don’t think that Hossein felt agrrieved about the break-off. Those two know each other, they sometimes practice together in Sheffield. Ronnie has every respect for Hossein’s ability, and, when they exchanged a few words at the end of the  match, it all looked friendly enough. If Hossein has a reason to feel aggrieved, it’s because most the focus – from both fans and media – has been about his opponent’s surrender, rather than about his own excellent performance that caused it.

BTW, that break-off is a perfectly legal shot. There is nothing in the rules to prevent players to play their break-off that way, just like there is nothing in the rules to prevent players to roll the white into the back of the pack, the way Williams did on many occasions recently, prompting some to ask for this shot to be “banned”.

Obviously, things don’t look great at the monent for Ronnie and his fans. We have been there before. He has got many ups and owns in his nearly 30 years long career; he’s had numerous bare spells, some lasting for over a year. Hopefully this one will not be too long. Hopefully.


6 thoughts on “2022 German Masters Qualifiers – First round exit for Ronnie

  1. He has started running again. I think he has been injured for a while, but I don’t know any details. So much down time since the WC, and not being able to run. That would affect him mentally, I’m sure.

  2. I don’t know why Ronnie bothers playing qualifiers if I’m honest. He rarely does well in them and actually has lost quite a few. I think he is better off just entering tournaments where you play at the venue. It’s already a busy calendar and it just doesn’t suit his game at all when he is used to playing in front of large crowds and a buzzing atmosphere. I didn’t think he would play yesterday evening and not surprised he lost. Driving all the way up to Cannock seemed a bit of a strange one. He hasn’t played the German Masters in like 5 years! Also surprised to see him enter the European Masters. At least that’s not until next year. Ronnie plays better when he paces himself and picks and chooses tournaments. Entering into everything won’t do him any favours. He’s got potentially 5 tournaments back to back starting next week with the English open. He says he wants to play snooker on his terms and not be a slave to the game, but the last 2 seasons he has more or less entered into everything. I don’t think this is helping his game. The calendar this year is baffling and really poorly planned. They’ve had all this downtime since the British open and then 5 tournaments in 7 weeks! You’ve also got the Grand Prix tacked onto the end of this year which is overkill imo. I’m looking forward to it as a spectator but as a player it’s going to be tough, especially someone as mentally fragile as Ronnie. Don’t be surprised to see him play poorly or carefree. This may also be pure coincidence, but whenever Ronnie gets the buzz cut, he never seems to be in a good place mentally. Whenever I’ve seeen him competing at his best/playing well, he always seems to be well groomed with the longer stylised hairstyle. Just an observation.

    • Agree about the hairstyle, Jared! I saw that hair on Monday and immediately thought I might just go for a beer instead of watching the match, lol.

  3. “situation in his private life”?
    Are you suggesting something else is going on? Please clarify

    • Whatever happens in his private life is … private. So, if anyone of you “hear”, speculate, suspect or actually know somethimg, please respect Ronnie’s privacy and don’t discuss it here. If it’s something that is in the media/public domain, it’s of course different. That said, Ronnie isn’t in a good place, that’s obvious to everyone knowing him a bit.

  4. Ronnie didn’t start the match badly but made some unforced errors and against that performance from Hossein you have to play good.
    Lot of uncharecteristic erors. His focues wasn’t there like the NI Open. He battled with the audience instead of the opponent (and the table).
    I hope this situation in his private life will solve very soon because he will not win any events in this season.

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