Ronnie won his last 32 match at the World Grand Prix, beating Andy Hicks by 4-1 in an error-strewn match. To his own admission Ronnie endulged in a rather unorthodox, albeit delicious preparation for this match.
Here are the scores:
And the report by WST:
O’Sullivan Is Cream Of The Crop
Ronnie O’Sullivan was scoffing scones just before his match with Cream of Devon Andy Hicks at the Cazoo World Grand Prix, but still enjoyed a sweet 4-1 victory as he tea-d up a second round meeting with Hossein Vafaei.
O’Sullivan, seeking his first title since the 2020 Betfred World Championship, is into the last 16 at the Coventry Building Society Arena and has a strategy in place for his pre-match warm-up.
“I only got to the venue about ten minutes before the game today,” said the 46-year-old. “If there is a Marks & Spencer around with a cafe I can never resist the scones with clotted cream and a cup of tea. I managed to arrive just in time. It was a nice crowd today and a great venue, it’s good to be here.”
World number three O’Sullivan is playing in his fifth tournament within the past six weeks and has plenty of matches under his belt having reached two semi-finals and two quarter-finals in the previous four events.
“When I started this run of tournaments, I just looked on it like a road trip,” he said. “I have really enjoyed it. I have just had two days in a spa, getting treatments and massages. I actually feel more tired for doing nothing, I am so relaxed it’s hard to get going. Hopefully after a day here I will liven up a bit.”
The Rocket was far from his best today, but when he made errors, Cazoo UK Championship quarter-finalist Hicks failed to punish him. At 2-1 down, Hicks had chances to square the match, but couldn’t take them, and O’Sullivan eventually won that frame with an excellent 39 clearance which included difficult pots on the last red and the yellow, along the baulk cushion. He then sealed the result in frame five with a break of 60, his highest of the match.
On Thursday afternoon he will face Iran’s Vafaei, who scored an impressive 4-1 win over Gary Wilson, his top break 119.
And a slightly more detailed one by Phil Haigh:
Ronnie O’Sullivan enjoying spas and scones on snooker road trip to World Grand Prix
Ronnie O’Sullivan said an over-relaxing spa and some pre-match scones could have been behind his below-par performance at the World Grand Prix on Wednesday, despite beating Andy Hicks 4-1.
It was not a match to remember in the first round of the Grand Prix, with neither man playing very well, until O’Sullivan finally clicked into gear in the final frame, knocking in a break of 60 to clinch the victory.
The Rocket initially joked that it was an excellent display from him, but then suggested he has been chilling out a little too much before the start of the event.
It has been a hectic time on the snooker calendar in recent weeks, with this being the fourth event with no break in between since the Champion of Champions began on 15 November.
O’Sullivan wanted to relax given the busy schedule, but might need to wake up again before his next game.
‘I thought it was a fabulous performance by me,’ O’Sullivan said with a grin on ITV4. ‘I was just trying to pot balls, that’s what you’ve got to do at this game and I managed to pot a few at the end and nick a few at the start, it was alright.
“Andy wasn’t as good as he has been so that was a bit lucky for me.
‘When I started four weeks ago, I just looked on it like a road trip, go away, have a bit of fun and that’s what I’ve done. I have really enjoyed it.
‘I’ve just had two days in Champneys spa getting treatments and facials and feet massages.
‘I feel even more tired for doing nothing, it’s weird, I feel so relaxed it’s hard to get going, so hopefully a day here will get me a bit more livened up a bit.’
Not only were facials and massages dulling the Rocket’s senses, but a cream tea just before picking up his cue can’t have helped matters either.
‘I literally only got to the venue about ten minutes before the match. I was over at Marks & Spencer’s having a nice scone and a cup of tea,’ he said.
‘If there is a Marks & Spencer around with a cafe I can never resist the scones with clotted cream and a cup of tea. I managed to get here just before. It was a nice crowd today and a great venue, it’s good to be here.
‘I’m not getting paid by Marks & Spencers by the way, I wish I was.’
O’Sullivan will have to be sharper when he returns to the table in Coventry against Hossein Vafaei in the second round on Thursday.
The Iranian impressed in a 4-1 win over Gary Wilson on Wednesday and has already walloped the Rocket 5-0 this season.
Indeed, if Ronnie doesn’t re-focus and improve significantly, another 5-0 walloping could be on the cards. That said there were good things in this match too. He could have won it 4-0, and may have done if frame three hadn’t been interrupted because a member of the audience was taken ill. Ronnie’s concentration truly had drifted away when they resumed. We shall see. Maybe the relaxing break will do him good.
here is the frame winning clearance in to go 3-1 up
and here is the end of the match: