2021 English Open – Ronnie beats Michael Georgiou in the last 64

After a “rushed” start of the match, and losing the first error-strewn frame, Ronnie ran to an easy victory yesterday afternoon. Here are the scores:

2021 English Open - L64ROS- Scores

And here is the report by WST:

Rocket Shut Out Seals Win

2021 English Open - L64ROS- 3Ronnie O’Sullivan produced an unanswered blitz of 461 points to storm to a 4-1 win over Michael Georgiou at the BetVictor English Open in Milton Keynes.

O’Sullivan arrived at the venue with just seven minutes to go before this afternoon’s match and didn’t click straight into gear, with Georgiou edging a shaky first frame.

However, from there six-time World Champion O’Sullivan prevented his opponent from registering a single point for the remainder of the tie. Breaks of 82, 127, 129 and 108 saw him storm over the line.

The run of 461 points without reply falls short of his own record of 556, set against Ricky Walden at the 2014 Masters.

Next up 45-year-old O’Sullivan faces former practice partner Anthony Hamilton in the last 32.

O’Sullivan said: “I played with Anthony on the amateur circuit and now on the pro circuit. I used to pick balls out for him on the practice table. He was phenomenal and still is. It is good for you to play with someone like that, because it rubs off on you. He was a great practice partner. He’s won the German Masters and had a very good career. It is a compliment that he should really have won more. He is a heavy scorer.

I felt nervous at the start today. I was over having something to eat and the game before was 4-2 all of a sudden. I had to rush over and had seven minutes to get ready. I kept trying to settle, as it was just a matter of time to go from chilling out and relaxing to really being focused. I feel like I’m cueing alright, so there is some good snooker in there.

I’m loving my running at the moment. That is the one thing I’ll do until I die. I want to be buried in my running trainers and my leggings. That’s what I want, because I love it. I’m addicted to the gym and training at the moment. I must be spending four or five hours a day in the gym, having a spa, training and running.

Ronnie has the uttermost respect for Anthony Hamilton and will certainly not do anything silly whilst playing him this afternoon. Should he win, he’s due to face the winner of Tepchaiya Un-nooh v Jamie Clarke in the last session this evening. It might be a long day…

Regarding Ronnie’s “rush” to the venue, Phil Haigh reports this… 

Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘would rather be docked a frame than let snooker disturb his kebab’

2021 English Open - L64ROS- 1
Ronnie O’Sullivan blamed his sluggish start against Michael Georgiou on an especially enjoyable lunch (Picture: Zhai Zheng)

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he was enjoying a kebab lunch until shortly before his English Open match on Wednesday, and he would rather be docked a frame than let snooker disturb his day in future.

The Rocket lost the first frame of his second round match with Michael Georgiou, looking very ropy in the process, but then quickly found his form and surged to victory in style.

Breaks of 82, 127, 129 and 108 were vintage O’Sullivan as he soared to a 4-1 win and set up a last 32 meeting with Anthony Hamilton.

The six-time world champion put his erratic performance in the first frame down to an extremely enjoyable lunch across the road, one he was in no rush to leave.

O’Sullivan did make it to the table in time, but says he would happily start the match 1-0 down having had a good lunch, than be rushed to start the match at 0-0.

I literally turned up, I had seven minutes to go and I still had my jeans and trainers on, I just quickly put my gear on,’ said the Rocket. ‘I was all over the gaff to be honest. I was like, “what am I doing?” I should have been meditating 20 minutes ago, I knew I was going to be a rabbit in the headlights.”

I’d rather be docked a frame and enjoy my day and be late than sit around thinking I might be on at 2pm but end up going on at 4.30pm. I’m not going to be in a good frame of mind, I’d rather be 1-0 down and have a really good day, then say, “let’s play.” I fancy my chances more when I’m in a good frame of mind.

I don’t care. I’m not going to be sitting around for maybe 2pm, maybe 3pm, maybe 4pm, getting the hump, ruining my day, it’s just not worth it.

2021 English Open - L64ROS- 2
O’Sullivan had a slow start before catching fire in the second frame (Picture: Zhai Zheng)

I was just over the kebab shop with my friends having a good time, putting the world to rights. I thought I better go now because he [Shaun Murphy]’s just won. I’d rather do that or be late for the match, miss the first frame, I’d rather be 1-0 down and in a good place than 0-0 and want to smash my cue into a hundred pieces.

I got to finish my kebab, my baklava, I got to do a lot of stuff, it was a long lunch.’

O’Sullivan returns to the baize on Thursday afternoon against Anthony Hamilton in the last 32.

As much as Ronnie loves his food, and believe me he does, I don’t really buy it… because the fact is that he did rush to be there in time. But, ok, this was likely a bit of steaming out after the match and it made for a good story 😉

Phil Haigh also reported on Ronnie’s stance regarding (not) playing in qualifiers:

Ronnie O’Sullivan rules out playing in qualifiers again unless promoters ‘pay for that privilege’

Ronnie O’Sullivan does not intend to play in qualifiers for tournaments anymore, unless promoters are willing to ‘pay for the privilege’ of him doing so.

The Rocket caused a stir in the German Masters qualifiers last month when he was beaten 5-0 by Hossein Vafaei, smashing the pack of reds from his break-off in the last frame.

Clearly not engaged in the match, at least by that point, the six-time world champion says he has had enough of going to play separate, behind-closed-doors matches away from the main venue.

The 45-year-old sees the ‘hassle’ of going to separate qualifiers that are not part of the main tournament as just too much for him to go through at this stage of his career and he has put an end to it.

I won’t do that again, because it’s a lot of hassle to pack your bags and go just to play one or two games,’ he said. ‘I won’t do that unless a promoter wants to put a sizeable cheque in the bank account and then I’ll take two days out of my life.

It’s actually a day travelling, a day travelling back, a day playing and I just haven’t got those days to waste just to go and play one or two games.

In future, if that’s the set-up, if a promoter wants me to be in the tournament then he would have to pay for that privilege because I’m not prepared to do that again because time’s too valuable.

I haven’t played one of those qualifying matches for five or six years, I can’t remember the last time I played one. It was just because it was the pandemic so I thought, “sod it I might as well enter everything because there’s no China tournaments on.” But no I wouldn’t do that again, no.’

O’Sullivan says his decision is made now and it would take another pandemic for him to change his mind.

It’s nothing to do with the venue,’ he said at the English Open. ‘It’s just all the hassle. Pack your bag, get on the train, get someone to meet you the other end, get in the hotel, unpack, play one or two games.

I just can’t justify the effort for the reward, it’s just not worth it. Unless a tournament is played from start to finish…like I said I’m on holidays, I’m here all week whether I win or not. If I lose I’m on Eurosport, I’ve got my running sorted, got some nice food, I’m going to have a fantastic week.

Whereas the qualifiers, you can’t really get into it, rushing about, I felt like a scene out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles the other day. Felt like Steve Martin at the checkout, “Where’s my car?!?

I can’t do this, mate. Life’s too good to put myself through that sort of stuff.

You make the odd mistake. Took me five years to make that mistake again it’ll probably take me 10 years to make that mistake again. It might take me 10 years to slip back into a bad decision.

That’s nothing really new. Ronnie never did well in qualifiers in recent years. He just can’t commit to them. He earned his ticket out of the qualifiers in 1993 by winning the UK Championship, beating the then all-dominant Stephen Hendry in the final. Ronnie was only 17. For many years, until Hearn came into power, he never had to play any qualifiers, he was always seeded at the venue.  Now in his 30th year as a pro, about to turn 46 and still ranked third in the World, he probably feels that he shouldn’t have to play in an uninspiring environment in front of no one. But I’m convinced that he will still do it, if necessary, for the big Chinese events when/if they return.