This is what happened in the semi-finals at the 2021 World Grand Prix
Neil Robertson beat Mark Selby by 6-3 – WST Report
Robertson Floors Selby Again To Reach Final
Neil Robertson beat Mark Selby for the fifth consecutive time as a 6-3 victory put him into the final of the Cazoo World Grand Prix in Coventry.
Australia’s Robertson will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Stuart Bingham over 19 frames in the final on Sunday and victory would give him his second ranking title of the season and 22nd of his career.
If 39-year-old Robertson goes on to lift the trophy it will complete a remarkable recovery from health problems as he has suffered from pulsatile tinnitus in recent weeks, which led to defeat in the first round of the Cazoo UK Championship and withdrawal from the BetVictor Scottish Open.
Since losing to Selby at the Crucible in 2020, Robertson has dominated meetings between the pair, winning all four matches last season and another tonight – a formidable recent record against the World Champion and world number one. Robertson was strong in all departments this evening as he reached his 34th ranking event final.
This week’s run was Selby’s best of the season so far, but he remains without a title since conquering the Crucible last May. He also remains outside the top 16 of the one-year ranking list and may need a deep run at either the BetVictor Shoot Out or BetVictor German Masters to qualify for the Cazoo Players Championship in February.
Robertson started strongly with breaks of 82 and 93 to take the first two frames, before Selby won the third. Frame four lasted 42 minutes and came down to the colours, Selby getting the snooker he needed on the blue then capitalising on a safety error from his opponent to clear from blue to black for 2-2.
Robertson came from 36-0 down to take the fifth with a 74 clearance and added the next with a run of 67 for 4-2. The seventh hinged on a moment early in the frame when Robertson, on a break of 6, potted a red but was correctly judged to have played a push shot on another red by referee Kevin Dabrowski. Selby took advantage with a break of 112.
Leicester’s Selby led 24-0 in the eighth when he was unlucky not to land on a red when splitting the pack. Robertson had the next chance and made 74 which put him 5-3 ahead, and when Selby played a poor safety early in the ninth his hopes were gone, as a cool 71 from world number four Robertson secured his place in the final.
“I’m really happy with the way I closed out the last two frames,” said Robertson, who won this title in 2020. “I don’t think beating Mark five times in a row makes any difference because I just try to play on my terms, the way I enjoy playing, that’s the philosophy I take into any match. And Mark is probably the strongest player in the game mentally so I doubt it affects him much.
“I had a late start to this season so to win a title at the English Open in front of a big crowd was brilliant. To be back in this final again, at such a prestigious event, is incredible.”
Robertson is enthusiastic about the recent breakthroughs for young talents Zhao Xintong and Luca Brecel. “It’s fantastic for the game,” he said. “Yan Bingtao winning the Masters and those two players taking titles keeps the conveyor belt going of overseas players doing well and keeping the tour really international. China is producing a lot of players and now we are seeing them competing for titles. Hopefully Luca will inspire more European players to progress.”
Neil has an exceptional record against Mark Selby and it just shows that, sometimes, it’s just the clash of styles that doesn’t suit one of the players, no matter how good they are. Over time, this might also develop into a kind of mental block. Neil believes it won’t affect Mark, but I’m not so sure.
Ronnie beats Stuart Bingham by 6-2 – WST Report
O’Sullivan Sets Up Robertson Final
Ronnie O’Sullivan beat a top 16 player in a ranking event for the first time in nine months, seeing off Stuart Bingham 6-2 to reach the final of the Cazoo World Grand Prix in Coventry.
On Sunday, O’Sullivan will face Neil Robertson, whose cue action he describes as the best of all time, over 19 frames for the trophy and a top prize of £100,000.
O’Sullivan’s remarkable longevity at the top level of snooker is underlined by the fact that he has reached his 59th ranking event final, 28 years since he appeared in his first at the 1993 UK Championship. He has won 37 of those finals, one ahead of Stephen Hendry’s previous record of 36.
Victory over Robertson would give O’Sullivan his first silverware since he beat Kyren Wilson in the Betfred World Championship final 16 months ago at the Crucible. He is aiming to win the World Grand Prix for the second time having beaten Ding Junhui in the 2018 final.
Chigwell’s 46-year-old O’Sullivan has produced his brilliant best in only brief flashes this week but has not been punished by his opponents. Bingham had chances in every frame tonight but made too many errors as world number three O’Sullivan scored his first win in a ranking event over a top 16 player since beating Barry Hawkins at the Cazoo Tour Championship last March.
Bingham won the opening frame by potting the last red with the rest to a top corner, and had a clear scoring chance in the second but missed a tricky red along the side cushion on 40. O’Sullivan capitalised with a run of 62 and sealed the frame on the last red for 1-1.
Frame three also came down to the last red and Bingham’s miss to a baulk corner proved crucial as O’Sullivan took the lead for the first time. The fourth was resolved on a safety battle on the colours, Bingham making an error on the green which allowed his opponent to go 3-1 up.
A break of 77, his highest of the match, saw O’Sullivan extend his lead. The Rocket missed a red on 49 on the next, but Bingham almost immediately failed on a red to centre pocket as his hopes slipped away.
A run of 78 from 2015 World Champion Bingham raised his hopes of a fight-back, and he should have pulled another one back but jawed the final black in frame eight. O’Sullivan cracked in a mid-range pot to a top corner to complete the scoreline.
Asked about his final opponent, O’Sullivan said. “His cue action is beautiful. No one comes near it, in the history of the game. It’s incredible, he is blessed in that way. There are other players you can learn from and get near, but what Neil does is ridiculous, no one can cue like that. If I don’t perform then he will entertain the fans, and if I have a little flow and get going then great, it will make it interesting. I doubt Neil’s performance will dip. It should be good for the fans.
“I have had a really good five weeks, had a great time, it has been the best holiday of my life. I don’t want it to end, can we have some more tournaments rather than stopping for Christmas?”
Bingham said: “I am gutted to play like that, especially after playing well yesterday. Ronnie had a bit of rub of the ball but I missed so many chances.”
These are the scores:
Ronnie had five breaks over 50 but it’s actually misleading. He didn’t play well, only Stuart played worse.
There are more quotes by Ronnie here, reported by metro.co.uk:
We stunk it out tonight,’ O’Sullivan said. ‘I was not on my own. It was poor, really poor.
‘We looked like a couple of old club players. It was really embarrassing, sorry about that.
‘We looked like butchers out there, butchering the balls and twitching all over the place.
‘It was embarrassing.’
‘I could stink the gaff tomorrow and drag him down, but I doubt it. He is too good for that, he’s in his prime and the best cueist I have ever seen.
‘If I don’t get my finger out or find something I will get blasted away.
‘I got a bit optimistic yesterday, I felt alright but now back to the usual standard today: awful.’
Indeed, if Ronnie doesn’t improve significantly, it won’t even be close today, unfortunately.
Whatever happens there are still a lot of positives to take after this week.
First of all we are done with the “He hasn’t beaten a top player since March” narrative. Happy days!
Ronnie is now 6th on the 2022 Players Championship “qualifying list”, well safe with only two more events counting towards it. He also has a 40000 points “cushion” over Kyren Wilson who is 9th in that list, meaning that he’s not badly placed for the 2022 Tour Championship either although I doubt that he will play in the Turkish Masters as there is one round of qualifiers, or in the Gibraltar Open.
4 thoughts on “The 2021 World Grand Prix – It’s Ronnie v Neil Robertson in the final today”
The determinated O’Sullivan 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
I wonder, especially with no “defending champion”, will there be any held over matches for Turkey? Maybe Ronnie will go if there’s held over matches for the top 4 seeds, like the European Masters (Selby, Trump, Robertson, and Ronnie).
Not that it means much, but win or (much more likely) lose today, Ronnie will have played in more ranking finals this season than Trump and Selby combined.
excuse me but we are not “done” with that “narrative”. Stuart Bingham is not a top player, nobody counts him as such. and yesterday he was especially bad. Ronnie will be back when he beats Robertson/Selby/Trump/Higgins again
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