The 2021 UK Championship – Kyren Wilson beats Ronnie in the quarter-finals

After their respective last 16 matches, I wrote that Ronnie would need to improve to beat Kyren in the form he had shown. Stephen Hendry had said that this was Ronnie’s to lose and that he only had to stand up to win the title. I was in disagreement with this and rather baffled that such a great champion was unable to objectively assess what he was seeing. I was proved right and I’m not particularly happy about it because, eventually, Ronnie made it very close, and had he won yesterday, I would have made him a strong favourite for the title. Now I’m making Kyren that strong favourite.

For the neutral, it was a fantastic match, both players giving it their all and playing at a very high standard.

Here are the scores and stats.



Ronnie’s long potting was his weakness, he was otherwise excellent. Kyren had no weakness.

During the match, Ronnie sat down in protest because a lot of fans were moving around during play. He also complained about a photographer moving in his eyeline. This is usually an indication that he struggles with keeping 100% concentrated. That said, there really was A LOT of coming and going in the arena and I’m not sure why this is allowed. Even if it’s on the “other” table, because the arena open plan it’s bound to distract the players. I understand that WST doesn’t want to disappoint the fans after everything that went on, still goes on, because of the covid crisis, but there need to be some more “policing” about fans entering the arena during play. At least in the lower part of the arena, allowing large groups to enter and walk down the stairs is not on … especially when it’s obvious that some of these fans have got into the “festive mood” 🍺

Here is WST report on the match:

Superb Wilson Knocks Out Rocket

Kyren Wilson made a brilliant century break in the deciding frame to win a pulsating quarter-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan by a 6-5 scoreline at the Cazoo UK Championship.

O’Sullivan’s hopes of winning this title for an eight time ended as he was edged out in a tense finish to a high quality clash in York. His exit means that there will be a new name on the trophy this year, as none of the six remaining players have even appeared in the final.

World number three O’Sullivan went into today’s match as heavy favourite, but came across a fiercely determined opponent, and the Rocket is left waiting for a first title since the 2020 World Championship.

Wilson lost 18-8 to O’Sullivan in last year’s Crucible final, but this time was delighted to come out on top

Given the manner of victory, keeping his nerve when it mattered most, Wilson described the result as one of the best of his career. The world number five is into the semi-finals of this event for the first time and will now face Belgium’s Luca Brecel, who beat Anthony McGill 6-2. Two more wins would give Kettering’s his first Triple Crown title and fifth ranking event success.

Breaks of 92 and 117 got Wilson off to a flying start as he went 2-0 ahead, only for O’Sullivan to take the third frame then make a 115 for 2-2. Wilson came from 44-0 down to take the fifth with a 66 clearance, then the roles were reversed in frame six as O’Sullivan overturned a 46-0 deficit with a run of 76.

A break of 71 saw Wilson regain the lead at 4-3. In the eighth, O’Sullivan trailed 31-19 when he went for a risky long pot on the penultimate red, missing his target and allowing his opponent to go two up with three to play. Wilson led 35-26 in the ninth when he failed to convert a long red, and O’Sullivan punished him with a 64 before making a smooth 83 in frame ten to level at 5-5.

O’Sullivan had first chance in the decider but potted just one red before missing the brown to a baulk corner. Wilson later slotted in a long red to set-up his match winning 102.

In terms of how the match went from 5-3, it’s one of my best ever wins,” said Wilson. “I had chances to close it out and it felt like the snooker Gods were against me. So to make a century in the end was very pleasing. When you play Ronnie you play the crowd as well, so you try to stop that from getting on top of you. When I potted the match-winning ball I couldn’t help celebrating.

I have drilled my routine and practised very hard behind the scenes. It’s all to make sure I can do it under pressure and I managed to do that today. I go from the hunter to being the hunted now in terms of rankings, but I don’t see it that way. Luca will probably feel that he has an opportunity, playing me rather than Ronnie. I have to use my experience.”

O’Sullivan said: “I’m not that disappointed, I quite enjoyed the match. I never felt like I had any of the momentum but I enjoyed digging in, it was good fun. Kyren made a good break in the last frame, if you want to win tournaments that how you supposed to close out matches.

These tournaments – the Masters, the UK and the World – are the ones where you are judged and have the most pressure. It’s where you rate the greatest players of all time. I don’t know if Kyren is favourite now, I’m just going to enjoy watching it and working for Eurosport.

I’m not sure why WST didn’t report Ronnie’s full quotes but here they are reported by the Express:

Despite clearly giving his best to win the tie, O’Sullivan didn’t show too much disappointment in his post-match interview, as he hinted at three reasons for the defeat: his age, his lack of consistency, and his opponent’s hunger for glory.

I just wasn’t good enough, wasn’t clinical enough – and you have to be,” he told Eurosport. “That’s what happens as you get a little bit older.

I missed too many balls and wasn’t clinical enough. You can’t afford to do that at the highest level, I accept that. I think I did well to get five frames.

Kyren is hungry to win titles. He wants to do what I’ve done in the game. I was like that when I hadn’t won a major.

You have all the desire at that stage. It’s great to see, it shows he’s got a real passion for the game.

And the BBC report:

UK Snooker Championship 2021: Kyren Wilson beats Ronnie O’Sullivan to reach semi-finals

Kyren Wilson reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship for the first time with a thrilling 6-5 victory over seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Wilson, 29, made three half-century breaks and two centuries in a high-quality contest between the two highest ranked players left in the tournament.

A repeat of the 2020 World Championship final had seen O’Sullivan fight back from 2-0 and 5-3 down to level at 5-5.

Wilson holds his nerve

Wilson – who is yet to win one of snooker’s Triple Crown events, having previously been a runner-up at both the Masters (2018) and to O’Sullivan at the Crucible – will go into his match against Brecel as the clear favourite.

Luca is a fantastic young talent. He won big in China a few years ago and we all probably expected him to kick on. I look forward to that game,” Wilson told BBC Sport.

Wilson showcased his prolific break-building skills early on against O’Sullivan, winning both of the first two frames at one visit, with runs of 92 and 117.

O’Sullivan responded in style, taking the next frame and then levelling the match at 2-2 with a sublime break of 115.

The players then traded frames – Wilson going back in front with a break of 66, and O’Sullivan responding with a 76 to level. But Wilson regained control with a composed break of 71, and then took the eighth frame as well to go two clear.

However, the tension increased, amid several stoppages in play as fans came in and out of the auditorium, plus an O’Sullivan complaint over background movement.

That appeared to work in the six-time world champion’s favour as he made breaks of 64 and 83 to set up a final-frame decider.

But Wilson, who had twice had an unfortunate run of the balls after splitting the reds at 5-3 and 5-4, reacted impeccably to register a composed break of 102 and record only his third win over O’Sullivan.

It was one of those [matches] where you feel the snooker gods don’t forgive you and I probably should have won 6-3. Then things started to turn and I thought I had missed the boat,” Wilson said.

“I backed myself under pressure. I have let a couple slip with Ronnie, so it was nice to get that under my belt.”


Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two:

Kyren Wilson was delighted with himself. He withstood the pressure and the disappointments of going into the pack and not being on a red. He is able to win major events and is slowly going up the ladder.

If he wins the World Championship, the UK Championship or the Masters, I don’t think anyone would be surprised.

Shaun Murphy, 2005 world champion:

Both of the players put in stellar performances. But I think I have got that as one the best performances in Kyren Wilson’s career. He has won multiple events and has established himself as a contender every time he brings his cue to the table.

What he did today and the way he did it – standing up to the barrage that Ronnie O’Sullivan gave him at the end there – is one of the best we have seen.”

This UK Championship is over for Ronnie and, as a fan, I’m disappointed, of course. On the other hand, he really applied himself, which was good to see. Hopefully, he can keep this attitude. If he does, I’m confident that he has more titles in him.

15 thoughts on “The 2021 UK Championship – Kyren Wilson beats Ronnie in the quarter-finals

  1. I think it is obvious that Hendry is biased. Remember Hendry saying Ronnie is the best. That is a strong statement from someone like him.

  2. more titles? are we watching the same player? this is all over now…he got one last chance to win this and he blew it in the quarters…it’s actually incredible how much he declined over just 2 years…I can’t even remember the last time he beat a top 10 player in a serious match…he only beats muppets in early round…he also developed the habit of losing deciders, he lost them all this season, and don’t forget the matches against McGill and Jordan Brown…I’ve got more chance to win the Nobel Prize in quantum mechanics than Ronnie to win any tournament….
    Ronnie laughed at what Trump said about him not being good enough anymore, turns out he was right

    • It’s only 16 months since he won his last World title, and he has got to 5 “early rounds” finals and a few semi and quartewr-finals after that Crucible win.. Since winning the World he has beaten muppets imdeed: Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins, John Higgins, Ding Jiunhui, Mark Williams, Joe Perry, Kyren Wilson. Ali Carter and Mark Selby… to name a few. Give it a break and go back to your “four times semi-finalist “John Virgo shrine.

      • Monique I really appreciate you doing this blog but I can hardly believe your denial of reality

      • What of the above is untrue? You are in denial of the reality which is this: Ronnie is no more at his best, but he’s still a very top player. Only this season he is ahead of Judd Trump and Mark Selby in the one year list, despite playing in less events, which means he’s got further than them in tournaments on average. As long as he’s doing that, he’s still capable of winning titles. Let me remind you that he won no ranking title betwwen the 2009 Shanghai Masters and the 2012 German Masters. Two and a half years. Many said that he was finished. He won 15 more since. It’s too early to write him off,

      • wow if you think there are any signs at all that he has the ability or motivation to win anything anymore or even to stand up to top players…no idea what makes you think that based on what we’ve been seeing…Trump was exactly like in saying that nobody fears him anymore, the ‘Ronnie factor’ is completely gone

      • Then the whole list I showed of players he has beaten since his last Crucible win are only lower ranked players? Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins, John Higgins, Ding Jiunhui, Mark Williams, Joe Perry, Kyren Wilson. Ali Carter and Mark Selby are all muppets? He didn’t stand up to them as they graciously gave him the wins? What are you trying to achieve with this nonsense? As I said Ronnie is no more at his best and he knows it, but he still has motivation when it comes to big events. Wether he will win one, we’ll see, but it’s too early to write him off. He has had lean spells before. That’s all I’m saying.

      • I think you are being very permissive…most of the players you mentioned are not good at all, not even close to Ronnie’s level….and when he beat Mark Selby that was a championship league match…not a proper game. but otherwise he has not beaten him since he won the worlds, nor Robertson, nor Trump…these are the kind of names he can no longer compete with, sadly.
        Joe Perry and Stuart Bingham, give me a break…

  3. I just wondered how Ronnie played deciders against young “future champions” since his comment abut the young players (during the 2020 World Championship).

    It hurts, because:
    2020 European Masters: 4-5 Aaron Hill (tense one but a big fluke from Hill started his match winning break)
    2020 UK Championship: 5-6 Alexander Ursenbacher (maybe 2 visit stuff from Alex)
    2021 Welsh Open: 8-9 Jordan Brown (Ronnie fluked a red, missed a tricky blue then Brown made a mach winning break)
    2021 Crucible: 12-13 Anthony McGill (Ronnie missed a red, McGill cleared (one visit))
    2021 Northern Ireland Open: 3-4 Yan Bingtao (tense decider)
    2021 UK Championship: 5-6 Kyren Wilson (one visit stuff from Kyren)

    So it’s a really bad results.
    Ok, he has won a few deciders since 2020 Crucible:
    2021 English Open against Hamilton who is not really young one 🙂
    He had a few 5-4 and 6-5 against Ding who is not young.
    A dramatic from 6-9 to 10-9 against Hawkins.
    Since 2020 Crucible the only final frame victory against a young player is thar 4-3 against Tian Pengfei from 2020 Scottish Open.

    What I want to say: the young players looks like are not afraid of playing Ronnie anymore.

    Anyway yesterday’s one was a really rollercaster one BECAUSE:
    Ok frame 1 etc etc BUT Kyren Wilson opened the reds from the blue.
    Missed the blue the balls looks really good a potentional frame winning clearence BUT fluked the blue.
    IF the blue didn’t fluked I’m sure Ronnie would make a 70+ break which means the match would have a full opposite result.

    So 2-0 to Kyren, Kyren missed a brown which would’ve been a tourning point BUT at 2-2 44-0 up Ronnie missed a long ball by a mile.
    Good comeback from 0-46 in frame 6 (possibly the best shot to nothing shot ever).
    But that clearence in frame 5 boosted Wilson’s confidence again.
    I’m not sure from 3-5 how Ronnie forced the decider because played some “blank shots” but his frame winning breaks from frame 9 and 10 were awesome. Especially the 10th frame one.

    In frame 11 Ronnie had the first scoring chance but left himself a tricky brown (it was a tricky one because he had to play a power shot to get back to the reds), but missed it.

    I’m disappointed. I like Ronnie’s attitude etc etc etc BUT the results are the only factors what we will remember.
    I hope he will win the Scottish or the World Grand Prix but i’m hopeless 😦

    • And sorry for my bad English.
      I’ve been learning English for 2 yrs but with Covid lockdowns it’s hard to learn it 😦

    • Funnily and maybe in a contradictory way I agreed with Hendry that it was Ronnie’s to lose as the stars aligned in a way that I started hoping there might be just one more title for him – and expected him to lose it to Kyren who improved tremendously and kept his nerves unlike in other matches against Ronnie (a pity none of it was present when he played Trump at the CoC). Disappointing that the break-offs that improved so much the week, were back to their usual state where frames can be won off them by the opponent. Credit to Ronnie for hanging on and forcing the decider, but as said above and before, these days he is more likely to lose deciders than to win them. The miss of the brown hurt, but something like that was somehow expected. And while we can still expect and marvel at the occasional brilliance (there were some breathtaking shots along the way), I see still no reason to expect a title or even to hope to beat a top player. (That’s why it looks so much like a lost opportunity, though like I said, unsurprising.)

      • He beat plenty of top players since winning the World Csilla. Anyone who had watched Kyren beating Woollaston in the previous round, and who isn’t completely biased, will have known that Kyren was favoutite yesterday. And piling expectations on Ronnie, as Hendry did, is doing him a disservice. He’s got enough pressure as it is, no need to add to it.

      • Of course it adds pressure and it is wanted but I still think Hendry is really regarding him as the best and wants him to win somehow. He cant really want him to break his records but he wants to watch quality snooker and thinks he always gets it with Ronnie.

    • Ding is still young, he’s only 34. Ronnie’s main problem is his long potting, that’s what made the difference in this match. Long potting is more often than not a feature young players are good at: they are fearless and their eyesight is usually very good. Whether Ronnie’s eyesight has declined or not, I don’t know, but usually it’s not the same at 46 than it was at 16 and nobody can do anything about that I’m afraid. That said Ronnie’s long potting has been his weakness for most of his career.

  4. I went to the Barbican during the early stages last week. As a general rule you were not allowed to renter when the play was ongoing for the table closet to where you were sitting
    The problem is that it would be very difficult to stop movement at the other table areas unless all framed ended at the same time

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