Having played in the Magyar Gala over the week-end, Ronnie was always going to arrive in Bangkok on the very day he had to play his first match and that’s not ideal. He had been talking very highly of the tournament, and he loves Thailand, so I expected him to try his best – and he did – but I still wasn’t sure how he would play. Jimmy Robertson is a very good player, a former ranking event winner, therefore not an easy opponent, so this could have been a banana skin. And, of course, there was the question of the modified cue.
As it happened, Ronnie started very well, winning the four first frames. After that he appeared to lose a bit of concentration, and Jimmy started to play better himself. He came back to 4-3. But Ronnie refocussed and played a very good eighth frame to seal victory: 5-3.
Ronnie made a 64 in the second frame (shared by WST on their YouTube Channel)
A maximum in this format is 75 so that’s a big break
Eurosport shared the final frame on their YouTube channel
Whilst U Sports Thailand shared the whole match, with Thai commentary on their YouTube channel
Ronnie and Jason Francis shared some pictures of their arrival in Thailand, Ronnie looking for street food (he’s always hungry and loves Asian food!) , the arena and Ronnie entering it for his match.
After the match, Ronnie himself came on social media, with this quote and some more pictures.
After the show Ronnie had plenty of time for the fans
Tomorrow Ronnie will play two matches: He will face young Stan Mood first and then his good friend, the Thai national Hero, James Wattana who beat Stan by 5-1 today.
And here is the report by WST:
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan made a strong start to his first ever appearance in this event, beating Jimmy Robertson 5-3 in an entertaining encounter.
The Rocket blitzed to the first two frames in rapid fashion, crafting a brilliant break of 64 in the second to move 2-0 in front.
Requiring the last two balls in the third, Robertson was perfect on the pink with the black on its spot. However, he fell out of position after receiving a kick on the pink and missed a harder than expected black. Eventually O’Sullivan deposited the black to move further ahead.
Robertson showed his class and won the next three frames, but it was O’Sullivan who won the eighth to secure his 5-3 win.