Ronnie’s first ever participation in the Gibraltar Open was a short one as he was beaten by Ben Woollaston by 4-3 in the first round.
It was in many way a strange match.
HUGE SHOCK AS RONNIE O’SULLIVAN CRASHES OUT TO BEN WOOLLASTON IN FIRST ROUND OF GIBRALTAR OPEN
The second seed Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a surprise 4-3 defeat to Ben Woollaston on Friday in the first round of the Gibraltar Open. The Rocket had been expected to cruise through and secure his place in the second round, but Woollaston produced a stunning upset as he held his composure in the deciding frame.
BY JAMES HILSUM
Ronnie O’Sullivan was dumped out of the Gibraltar Open in the first round after a shock 4-3 defeat to Ben Woollaston.
O’Sullivan was ahead for most of the match but then let Woollaston recover to level at 3-3 and then eventually clinch a stunning victory in the deciding frame.
This was O’Sullivan’s first appearance in the event, but he will go no further in the competition on a forgettable day for the world No. 2.
The rocket cruised to a 71-9 win in the first frame, storming to a 70-0 lead which included a break of 26, and with Woollaston needing snookers, he conceded the frame.
But Woollaston bounced back in an impressive second frame, taking it 77-1 with a very impressive break of 65 to level the game up at 1-1 and made the Rocket sweat, briefly.
Ronnie stormed back to claim the third frame 110-19 with breaks of 51 and 49 to retake the lead in the match, before taking the fourth frame 91-42 with an even bigger break of 60.
But the match was taken to a sixth frame thanks to some impressive snooker from Woollaston, who romped home to an 88-0 victory to halve the deficit at 3-2.
That came at the end of a long safety battle, with O’Sullivan clipping the pink on his way back to baulk. Woollaston then sealed the win in the frame by getting the last couple of reds to end with a break of 39.
This was not vintage Ronnie by any means, as he showed glimpses of brilliance without completing the job in the ruthless fashion which we have come to expect.
The Rocket took to the table first and reached 13 before potting a superb three-ball plant on a red. However, the break ended at 21 after missing the next red to leave a chance for Woollaston to reclaim a foothold in this contest.
He replied by missing an ambitious red to the yellow pocket, as O’Sullivan then pulled a double out of the bag, only to miss a black to the right corner.
Woollaston’s safety game was strong, but he knew that he would need to open up the reds on the table to have a realistic chance of winning the frame. However, he failed to do that off the black, which ended the break.
However, he did go on to win the frame with an impressive break of 48 to claim the sixth game 96-30 and leave the pair facing a final frame shootout.
It was to be Woollaston’s day, and his break of 61 was enough to win the final frame 79-6 and set up a second-round meeting with either Barry Pinches or Peter Lines later this afternoon.
I hate the “hyperbolic” style so often used in snooker report. Yes, it was a surprise defeat, especially from 3-1 up, but Ben Woollaston is a very capable player, he’s 30th in the one year list and on the up recently. He’s a very reliable potter. He has been in a ranking final and has beaten Ronnie before: in fact their head-to-head is 3-2 in Ronnie’s favour and 4 of their 5 encounters have been close. Maybe significatively Ronnie won the two “best of 11” they played, but lost two of their three “best of 7”. So it’s not a huge shock.
The thing is that yesterday, Ronnie simply made too many elementary mistakes whilst Ben was very reliable in the balls. When I wrote that this was a strange match it’s because Ronnie, for once, played some excellent break-offs, his safety was good too, he pulled off some great shots only to ruin the opportunities he had created for himself by missing simple shots. When this happens it’s usually a sign that the player’s concentration isn’t good.
Anyway, Ben won the match deservedly and went on to win the next two as well. He was behind and eventually won in all three matches he played yesterday. That doesn’t happen “by chance”.
As for Ronnie, I’m still not sure why he entered this event for the first time this season and would be surprised if he enters it again…
Trump On Course For Gibraltar Treble
Defending champion Judd Trump kept his hopes of a third consecutive BetVictor Gibraltar Open title alive with a 4-1 win over Sanderson Lam to make the last 16.
The 23-time ranking event winner is also aiming the scoop the lucrative £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus for the third year in a row. The bumper payout is awarded to the player who amasses the most prize money over the eight counting events, with this week marking the series finale. Trump knows he must take home the title in order to top the rankings.
The Ace in the Pack progressed through his first two matches today with ease, whitewashing both Andrew Higginson and Simon Blackwell 4-0 to make the last 32. Trump then defeated Lam 4-1 to book a clash with Ricky Walden in the last 16. The remaining four rounds will be played out Saturday.
Walden is also still in the running for the bonus, but like Trump he will need to win the event. The Chester cueman booked his place in the last 16 with a 4-2 defeat of Zhou Yuelong. Walden looked to be in fine touch this evening, firing in runs of 54, 80, 140 and 65 on his way to the win.
John Higgins remains in pole position for the bonus after reaching the last 32, but a 4-2 defeat to Jimmy Robertson means his fate is out of his hands. The Scot leads Mark Allen on countback, after the Northern Irishman bowed out to Robert Milkins by a 4-3 scoreline.
Stuart Bingham defeated Yuan Sijun 4-2 to progress to the final day. The 2015 World Champion crafted the ninth 147 break of his career earlier in the day against Gerard Greene. Bingham’s last 16 assignment is a clash with Iran’s Soheil Vahedi.
Ben Hancorn reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time after beating Michael White 4-2. World number 86 Hancorn is currently battling for his tour survival and a deep run this weekend could prove to be extremely helpful to his ranking. Next up he faces Ben Woollaston, who defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan on his way to the last 16.
It’s fair to say that Judd had it easy so far: he has played two amateurs and Andrew Higginson who is struggling badly: other than in the best of 4 CLS in the summer, and the one frame Shoot-out he has only won 6 matches all season.
Bingham On Cloud Nine With 147
Stuart Bingham made the ninth maximum break of his career to round off his 4-1 win over Gerard Greene in the first round of the BetVictor Gibraltar Open on Friday.
World number 13 Bingham potted 15 reds with blacks and cleared the colours to thrill fans at the Europa Sports Complex.
Only Ronnie O’Sullivan (15), John Higgins (12) and Stephen Hendry (11) have made more maximums, and in fact Basildon’s Bingham has made six 147s since 2018.
He is now in line for the tournament high break prize of £5,000. It’s the 174th maximum in snooker history and eighth so far this season.
“It’s was great to finish the match off that way,” said Bingham, who has now made six of the last 37 official maximums. “When I’m in the mood I do go for them. Early in the break I knew it was on and I had to go for it. I think I’ve had around 300 maximums in practice. It’s nice to make one for the crowd – a fan came up to me afterwards and said it was the first tournament he had been to and he’s seen a 147.”
Here it is shared by Eurosport on their YouTube channel:
Bonus And Llandudno Races: The Final Day
Saturday is the final day of the BetVictor Gibraltar Open, with the destination of the £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus, as well as the line-up for the Cazoo Tour Championship, to be decided.
The last 16 onwards will be played on the Rock, and the player who tops the BetVictor Series rankings at the end of the day will capture the bonus. Going into the event, 11 players were in the running, but Hossein Vafaei was forced to pull out, while John Higgins, Mark Allen, Fan Zhengyi, Luca Brecel, Zhao Xintong, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Joe Perry have all lost in the early rounds.
Higgins remains on top with £101,000 and will win the bonus if none of the three chasers reach the final. They are:
Neil Robertson, £96,000. Must reach the final to have a chance.
Judd Trump (£75,500) and Ricky Walden (£61,000), both need to win the title…and they meet in the last 16.
Meanwhile, the top eight players on the one-year ranking list at the end of Saturday’s action will qualify for next week’s Cazoo Tour Championship, which starts on Monday in Llandudno. Defeat for Higgins in the last 32 on Friday has left him in eighth place and uncertain of qualification. Walden, Kyren Wilson and Jimmy Robertson could overtake him, but only by winning the £50,000 top prize in Gibraltar.
Last 16 line-up:
Judd Trump v Ricky Walden
Jordan Brown v Jamie Jones
Jimmy Robertson v Ding Junhui
Tom Ford v Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson v Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham v Soheil Vahedi
Lyu Haotian v Robert Milkins
Ben Hancorn v Ben Woollaston
BetVictor Gibraltar Open prize money:
Last 16: £4,000
Last 32: £3,000
Last 64: £2,000
High break: £5,000
About the coming Tour Championship …
Judd Trump is currently fourth in the one year list. He will stay there unless he wins the title. If he does that, he will climb above Ronnie and he could also overtake Neil Robertson if Neil were to lose in the last 16 or in the QF today.
Ricky Walden, Kyren Wilson and Jimmy Robertson could still overtake John Higgins and deny him a spot in the 2022 Tour Championship. Ricky would actually climb to sixth in the one year list if he did that, overtaking Mark Allen and Mark Williams as well.
A win for Ricky today would also see him overtake Yan Bingtao and Mark Allen in the provisional Crucible seedings. Yan would then need to qualify for the television stages of the World Championship.