Ronnie won a hard fought, high quality match to book his place in the last 32 of the 2022 European Masters. He beat Zhang Anda by 5-4 and here are the scores:
O’Sullivan was pushed all the way by China’s Zhang but survived to set up a match with Wu Yize on Wednesday afternoon. After sharing the first four frames, Zhang had a chance to go 3-2 ahead but missed a straight-forward final black. O’Sullivan slotted in the black to take the lead then made a 128 to go 4-2 ahead.
Zhang hit back with 114 and 91 for 4-4, and he had a match-winning chance in the decider but ran out of position when he trailed by a single point with two reds left. A tactical exchange ended when Zhang played a loose safety which left his opponent a mid-range red to a top corner, and O’Sullivan cleared the table to reach the last 32.
Ronnie didn’t look happy all match. He appeared to be upset by the lighting after the MSI. That dark mood was confirmed in his post-match interview. Here is what he had to say as reported by Hector Nunns:
Ronnie O’Sullivan Uneasy In The Spotlight As ‘Snooker Depression’ Strikes
Ronnie O’Sullivan for once looked uncomfortable in the spotlight on Tuesday and after scraping into the last 32 of the European Masters claimed he has “snooker depression”.
The Rocket emerged a 5-4 winner from a battle royal against China’s world No104 Zhang Anda at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. But six-time world champion O’Sullivan, 46, looked dazed and confused at times – troubled by the glare while sitting in his chair midway through the match.
Snooker’s No1 box office star spent several minutes holding both his hand and then a towel up to protect his eyes from lighting at the baulk end of the table. And with the problem at its worst, world No2 O’Sullivan should have lost the fifth frame to fall 3-2 behind, but Zhang gifted him a way back in by missing the final black.
O’Sullivan, who was next due to face another Chinese player in Wu Yize, still rattled in breaks of 86, 51, 69, 55 and 128.
Afterwards he said: “I find it hard to talk about my games, I have snooker depression for two or three hours after my matches. Talking about it puts me in a bad place.
“I call it snooker depression because it is depression due to snooker. I don’t just wake up and say ‘I’m depressed’. You aren’t when you are doing something you enjoy.
“You might afterwards, but you can get it doing this job if it bothers you and you are not enjoying it. And that happens to me. Snooker plays on the mind.
“If you love your job, any job then you wont suffer with it – unless you are totally detached from your feelings. Let’s call it sports depression, across the board.
“It’s up to you to find ways to deal with it, and I am going to smash the gym, feel better, eat nice food, get into my spa and sauna and watch it disappear. Don’t talk to me about snooker now.
“I don’t know why there was the glare off the light, someone must have turned them up brighter than usual. I could hardly look at it, but they did sort it out so I could look at the table.
“Zhang could probably have done with the money from this match and had a run, so I felt a bit sorry for him. Let’s hope they get the China events back for these guys, the tour is reliant on them.”
O’Sullivan’s definition of what he calls ‘snooker depression’ appears to be of a different type to that spoken about publicly and recently by rival Mark Selby – and other snooker players over the years.
The Rocket admits he feels low if he is not enjoying playing the game, and failing to hit his frequent high standards has been a part of that issue.
Selby, though, has admitted to a serious deterioration in his mental health triggering bouts of what many would better understand as depression in a wider sense – in his case, by his own admission, brought about and sparked by events in his own past and childhood.
Ronnie’s depressive moods are not exclusively related to snooker. I have seen him very low, even crying, in circumstances that had nothing to do with snooker. His depression though is indeed different from what Selby goes through. Ronnie suffers from bipolar disorder, he goes through sudden and violent mood swings. We had an example of that early in the season when, as reported by David Hendon at the time, he arrived to play in the Pro Series in good mood, got depressed and negative suddenly mid-day, still won his group, but then, in the evening, withdrew from the event and from the British Open as well. Of course, his recent break-up probably isn’t helping.
Mark Selby suffers from a more “classical” form of depression, characterised by lasting sadness, tiredness and a total lack of mental and physical energy. It was plain to see yesterday as he lost by 5-3 to Jordan Brown. He obviouly tried but looked very flat.
Here are two videos, shared by Eurosport on their YouTube Channel
Ronnie’s marvellous 128 break
The conclusion of the deciding frame:
Today, Ronnie will play Wu Yize. The very talented teenager beat Fergal O’Brien yesterday.