Ronnie and Neil Robertson served us another fantastic match… here are the scores:
Ronnie came the wrong side of it but it could easily have been the other way around. In the deciding frame, Neil wnt for a very difficult pot along the top cushion. It was a do or die shot. He got it, had he not potted that red, Ronnie would probably have won the match. This match was, again, a fantastic advert for snooker.
Here are the reports by WST:
Afternoon session: 4-4
Robertson and O’Sullivan Locked Level
Defending champion Neil Robertson and world number one elect Ronnie O’Sullivan couldn’t be separated after a stunning session of snooker in the first semi-final at the Cazoo Tour Championship ended 4-4.
The pair clashed in last season’s final, with Robertson coming through 10-4 to win the title. They both sit at the top of the Cazoo Series standings this time around. O’Sullivan defeated Robertson in the Cazoo World Grand Prix final before Christmas and Australia’s Robertson won the Cazoo Players Championship.
They also met at the Cazoo Masters, where Robertson defeated O’Sullivan on the way to winning the event and capturing the Paul Hunter Trophy. Regardless of what happens over the weekend, 38-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan is guaranteed to move to the top of the world rankings.
Robertson took the opening frame this afternoon with a century run of 115. However, from there it was the Rocket who turned on the after burners. He composed breaks of 125, 90, 106 and 128 to charge into a 4-1 lead.
Despite momentum appearing to be with six-time Crucible king O’Sullivan, 2010 World Champion Robertson dug deep to turn the tide. Breaks of 62, 54, 85 and 95 helped him to four on the bounce which saw him end level at 4-4.
Evening Session: 10-9
Thunder Strikes Down Rocket
Defending champion Neil Robertson withstood a barrage of five century breaks from Ronnie O’Sullivan, to win 10-9 in their Cazoo Tour Championship semi-final in Llandudno.
Today’s encounter was a repeat of last year’s final, where Australia’s Robertson triumphed by a 10-4 scoreline. This evening’s climax was considerably closer.
Robertson and O’Sullivan have clashed in four high profile encounters so far this term. Robertson has now come out on top on three occasions, also scoring wins at the Cazoo Masters and the Cazoo Players Championship. Although O’Sullivan did defeat Robertson in the final of the Cazoo World Grand Prix before Christmas.
Robertson went on to win the title at the Players Championship and as a result he has now secured the Cazoo Series trophy, regardless of the result in Sunday’s final. The Melbourne cueman will face either John Higgins or Luca Brecel in the title match over the best of 19 frames.
Despite suffering defeat, O’Sullivan created his own piece of history this evening. He is the first player ever to make five centuries in two consecutive matches. The Rocket also fired in five hundred breaks during his 10-9 first round win over Mark Williams.
The pair came into this evening locked together at 4-4 following a pulsating afternoon session.
It was O’Sullivan who took the opener tonight, before 2010 World Champion Robertson claimed two on the bounce to lead for the first time since frame one at 6-5. He then headed into the mid-session two to the good, thanks to a break of 66 to make it 7-5.
O’Sullivan took the first frame after the interval, before the pair went into break building overdrive. A century run of 117 moved Robertson 8-6 up. However, O’Sullivan responded in turn with a run of exactly 100.
The 16th frame saw O’Sullivan leave his counterpart requiring a snooker after a break of 70. Robertson got one on the final red, but spurned a mid-range pink to allow 38-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan to draw level at 8-8.
A break of 112 saw O’Sullivan move to the verge of victory, but Robertson held his nerve to take the 18th frame and force a decider. He fired in a fearless run of 80, including a do or die red along the top cushion, to earn his place in the final
“It’s a huge win. I thought it was a brilliant match. You won’t see better quality from two players than the first session today,” said 40-year-old Robertson.
“He made some unbelievable breaks tonight out of absolutely nothing. Most players would dream of making 30 in those situations and he was making centuries. You have to enjoy it while you are in the chair but also not accept that you are going to lose.
“You always have to enjoy playing the greats of the game because you never know how long it is going to happen for. Whenever I play the likes of John Higgins, Ronnie or Mark Williams I always savour the moment. These guys were idols of mine growing up. I never thought I would meet them let alone play them.”
After the match, Ronnie was full of praise for his opponent, as reported by Phil Haigh:
The two players could hardly be separated on the table with their epic battle coming down to a final-frame decider which Robertson won to record a 10-9 victory.
O’Sullivan notched five centuries in the match, becoming the first player ever to hit five centuries in successive matches, but still had kinds words to share with his opponent as they shook hands after the match.
Robertson said: ‘Full compliments to Ronnie with what he said to me at the end of the match, that was a fantastic amount of respect he has for me.
‘He even said himself that he played well and just my ball-striking was unbelievable so I’m really happy for those kind words from him.
‘Some of the breaks he made… it was exhibition stuff all in no time, just incredible.
‘Nobody else can make the breaks the way he’s making them today. I thought he was a little bit unlucky really.’
Defending champion Robertson will face either Luca Brecel or John Higgins in the final and O’Sullivan believes he’s the favourite, describing him as the ‘best player in the world.’
‘He’s got unbelievable technique, so gifted the way he just hits the ball, he can create angles, different lines, he’s got loads of options when playing the shot, the complete player really,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘For me he’s the best player in the world. If he played more tournaments, he’d probably be number one.
‘He’s a phenomenal player in his prime probably playing the best snooker he’s ever played.’
Ronnie BTW set a new record … he became the first player in snooker history to score 5 centuries in consecutive matches. Incredibly, that wasn’t enough to win yesterday!
I don’t think that Ronnie will be too disappointed. Usually nowadays, playing well is more important to him than winning, and he certainly did play well. If he can bring that form at the Crucible, it could be interesting