2021 Masters Snooker: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Ding Junhui with an amazing comeback
|Dates: January 10-17 Place: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes|
|coverage: Watch live broadcasts on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport and the BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two and the Internet.|
Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan unleashed an impressive comeback from 5-3 down to defeat Ding Junhui 6-5 in the first round of the Masters Tournament.
Ding, the Chinese champion, 2011, made a strong start by breaking 83, 75 and 73 to lead 3-0, but O’Sullivan responded with 103 and 60 drops.
The pair traded great centuries in the next three frames as Ding rose 5-3.
O’Sullivan responded once again by penalizing Ding’s missed chances, claiming a 73rd victory in the Final Frame.
John Higgins faces Mark Allen in the evening session (19:00 GMT), with the winner of that match facing England’s O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals on Friday.
O’Sullivan came from behind again and again to claim his sixth world title in August and showed his strength under pressure once again to claim his fifth victory over Deng in several meetings at the Masters.
With the event being held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena, spectators missed a stellar scene that saw four centuries and six other breaks of 70 or more.
O’Sullivan told BBC 2: “I just had to hang out there and you’d never know until it was over, I just tried to stay positive so I went back to my thinking in Sheffield and it got me in the area. But he was able to respond faster.”
“If your mentality is right, you can play poorly and still get chances. Today I deepened and my mental skills were good and this puts a bit of doubt in your opponent. Whether you play well or not, if you have this level of intensity of the game it can turn back in your favor.” .
“I had good chances to win the game but I didn’t do it. Sometimes I made it complicated to win tires, I just needed to take simple shots and take points. Sometimes I confused myself,” added world number 9 Ding.
“Rooney played a little better than the first half, and sometimes I chose the wrong spot.”
Analysis – O’Sullivan has a “colossal bottle”
Stephen Hendry is a seven-time world champion on BBC Two: “I am afraid to pressure Deng to cross the winning streak with the chances I am wasting.
“It was a great game, both players played great but unfortunately for him he lost his weakness when he saw the winning streak.
“When trailing 3-0, it wasn’t good for O’Sullivan at that point, but he did play some great snooker to win that match.”
Steve Davis is a six-time world champion: There is nothing worse than when a snooker player starts the match well and ends badly, it dampens your spirits. He panicked and spoiled your shots.
“I don’t think he’s going to lose to many players today, but he’s mentally weak against O’Sullivan, and he’s fighting to cross the streak against him.
“Ding let him off the hook and this is the last person you want to do that against him. He has regained freedom in his game and the illustration in the end shows just how dangerous he is.”
1997 World Champion Ken Doherty: “Ding missed a move, he played nicely with two centuries and more high-goal spacers but we saw a bunch of mistakes from him late.
“The pressure has reached Deng and he will be very disappointed. On any other day, he would have beaten 99% of the round but O’Sullivan came back very well. When he got to the winning streak he didn’t refuse, he lost an enormous bottle and definitely showed it today.”
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