Ronnie O'Sullivan
Main News, Ranking

Ronnie O’Sullivan – ‘he’s a strong player, he fancies the job’

Aaron Hill recorded a 4-2 victory over Mark Selby in the Welsh Open on Wednesday – earning high praise from Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The Rocket has already made headlines this week for his harsh assessment of lower-ranked player John Astley.

O’Sullivan was fiercely critical of his fellow Englishman following Astley’s 4-2 defeat to Mark Williams earlier in the week.

“You’ve got to have a good technique or a snooker brain, and if you’ve got neither then maybe it’s time to find something else to do,” the world number one said.

However, O’Sullivan was much kinder in his assessment of Ireland’s Hill, who prevailed from a low-scoring affair with Selby to reach the last 32 in Llandudno.

“He played really well,” Ronnie O’Sullivan, who opted to skip this week’s action at the Venue Cymru, said on Eurosport.

“He’s a strong player, I played him before. He hits the ball really well, he fancies the job.”

“He walks around the table like I’m here to win. That puts a little bit of doubt in your opponent’s head straight away.

“Mark wasn’t great today, he was a bit off form. But you’ve still got to pot the balls and do the business.

“I think he naturally plays the shots the right way. With the yellow, he punched it in, (and) the blue, he punched it in.

“A lot of players might roll it in, and if you miss it, you’ll leave it over the hole. That red, he’s punched it in to come around for the blue and the pink.

“He’s playing the shot in a positive way, and if you play it in a positive way and miss it, it doesn’t really matter.

“Because the snooker gods will go, you know what, you’ve played it in the right way. At some point, it’ll work for you.

“That’s what I believe, and most people might think I’m off my head. But I truly believe in playing the game the right way and you’ll get rewarded.”

Hill first turned professional in 2020 through his success at the European Under-21 Championship.

He sensationally then beat O’Sullivan en route to the last 16 of the European Masters – his maiden ranking tournament as a professional.

But it took him another three years to repeat that kind of performance, the 21 year-old reaching the quarter-finals of the Wuhan Open earlier this term.

A more consistent season means Hill, who encounters Fan Zhengyi next, is on the cusp of a spot in the top 64 of the world rankings for the first time in his career.

In addition to Selby, meanwhile, there were several other high-profile casualties on day three of the Welsh Open.

Home favourite Mark Williams bowed out with a 4-1 reverse to Anthony McGill while fellow two-time former champion Neil Robertson lost 4-2 to Ricky Walden.

Jack Lisowski’s recent struggles continued with a 4-3 defeat to Gary Wilson, while Kyren Wilson was comfortably beaten by veteran Anthony Hamilton.

There were wins, however, for the likes of Mark Allen – the highest-ranked player in the Welsh Open draw as the world number three – and five-time champion John Higgins.

Reigning Welsh Open winner Robert Milkins also continued his reign with a resounding 4-0 success over David Gilbert.

One of the day’s best displays came from world champion Luca Brecel, who thrashed Joe O’Connor earlier in the day to conclude the round of 64.

After a dismal campaign, Brecel has returned to the practice table and there was evidence of that in his whitewash showing that included breaks of 119, 83, 75, and 62.

By the end of Thursday’s play, the eight quarter-finalists will be known.


2024 Welsh Open draw

Round of 128 (bo7)

Robert Milkins 4-3 Jamie Jones
Allan Taylor 4-2 Haydon Pinhey
David Gilbert 4-0 Ken Doherty
Oliver Lines 4-3 Michael White
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Oliver Brown
Liam Pullen 4-0 Rebecca Kenna
Gary Wilson 4-1 Mark Davis
Iulian Boiko 4-0 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Long Zehuang 4-1 Andy Lee
Anthony McGill 4-1 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Sanderson Lam 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Mark Williams 4-2 John Astley
Matthew Stevens 4-3 Louis Heathcote
Ricky Walden 4-2 Andy Hicks
Stuart Carrington 4-2 Reanne Evans
Neil Robertson 4-1 Jackson Page

Mark Allen 4-3 Cao Yupeng
Ma Hailong 4-2 Rory Thor
Si Jiahui 4-2 Stephen Maguire
Andrew Pagett 4-2 Mink Nutcharut
Ding Junhui 4-2 Jenson Kendrick
Robbie Williams 4-0 Peng Yisong
Adam Duffy 4-0 Zhou Yuelong
Jamie Clarke 4-3 James Cahill

David Lilley 4-0 Victor Sarkis
Ryan Day 4-3 Mostafa Dorgham
Tian Pengfei 4-0 Rod Lawler
John Higgins 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Ross Muir 4-2 Stephen Hendry
Matthew Selt 4-3 Sam Craigie
Alexander Ursenbacher 0-4 Liam Davies
Duane Jones 4-2 Liam Highfield

Alfie Davies 4-1 Liam Graham
Dominic Dale 4-1 Jimmy White
Jordan Brown 4-3 Lyu Haotian
Stan Moody 4-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Zhang Anda 4-1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Jak Jones 4-3 Liu Hongyu
Hossein Vafaei 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Julien Leclercq 4-3 Alfie Burden

Dylan Emery 4-1 Fergal O’Brien
Noppon Saengkham 4-1 Himanshu Jain
Andrew Higginson 4-2 Xing Zihao
Ali Carter 1-4 Elliot Slessor
Ben Mertens 4-0 Hammad Miah
Fan Zhengyi 4-2 Joe Perry
Aaron Hill 4-0 Anton Kazakov
Mark Selby 4-2 Yuan Sijun

Shaun Murphy 3-4 Barry Pinches
Daniel Wells 4-2 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Marco Fu 4-1 Stuart Bingham
Zak Surety 4-2 Mark Joyce
Kyren Wilson 4-3 Ashley Carty
Anthony Hamilton 4-0 Andres Petrov
Chris Wakelin 4-0 Jimmy Robertson
Martin O’Donnell 4-3 Ryan Thomerson

Ian Burns 4-2 Lukas Kleckers
Tom Ford 4-3 Ben Woollaston
Xiao Guodong 4-3 Ashley Hugill
Barry Hawkins 4-0 He Guoqiang
Wu Yize 4-1 Sydney Wilson
Graeme Dott 4-3 Pang Junxu
Joe O’Connor 4-3 Xu Si
Luca Brecel 4-3 Jiang Jun

Round of 64 (bo7)

Robert Milkins 4-1 Allan Taylor
David Gilbert 4-2 Oliver Lines
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Liam Pullen
Gary Wilson 4-2 Iulian Boiko
Long Zehuang 1-4 Anthony McGill
Sanderson Lam 3-4 Mark Williams
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Ricky Walden
Stuart Carrington 3-4 Neil Robertson

Mark Allen 4-0 Ma Hailong
Si Jiahui 4-2 Andrew Pagett
Ding Junhui 2-4 Robbie Williams
Adam Duffy 4-0 Jamie Clarke
David Lilley 2-4 Ryan Day
Tian Pengfei 1-4 John Higgins
Ross Muir 1-4 Matthew Selt
Liam Davies 1-4 Duane Jones

Alfie Davies 3-4 Dominic Dale
Jordan Brown 3-4 Stan Moody
Zhang Anda 1-4 Jak Jones
Hossein Vafaei 4-1 Julien Leclercq
Dylan Emery 4-2 Noppon Saengkham
Elliot Slessor w/o Andrew Higginson
Ben Mertens 2-4 Fan Zhengyi
Aaron Hill 4-2 Mark Selby

Barry Pinches 1-4 Daniel Wells
Marco Fu 4-3 Zak Surety
Kyren Wilson 1-4 Anthony Hamilton
Chris Wakelin 1-4 Martin O’Donnell
Ian Burns 2-4 Tom Ford
Xiao Guodong 3-4 Barry Hawkins
Wu Yize 2-4 Graeme Dott
Joe O’Connor 0-4 Luca Brecel

Round of 32 (bo7)

Robert Milkins 4-0 David Gilbert
Jack Lisowski 3-4 Gary Wilson
Anthony McGill 4-1 Mark Williams
Ricky Walden 4-2 Neil Robertson
Mark Allen 4-1 Si Jiahui
Robbie Williams 4-2 Adam Duffy
Ryan Day 1-4 John Higgins
Matthew Selt 4-1 Duane Jones

Dominic Dale 4-1 Stan Moody
Jak Jones 4-2 Hossein Vafaei
Dylan Emery 1-4 Elliot Slessor
Fan Zhengyi 4-1 Aaron Hill
Daniel Wells 2-4 Marco Fu
Anthony Hamilton 2-4 Martin O’Donnell
Tom Ford 4-1 Barry Hawkins
Graeme Dott 1-4 Luca Brecel

Round of 16 (bo7)

Robert Milkins 0-4 Gary Wilson
Anthony McGill 4-3 Ricky Walden
Mark Allen 4-0 Robbie Williams
John Higgins 4-3 Matthew Selt

Dominic Dale 4-0 Jak Jones
Elliot Slessor 4-3 Fan Zhengyi
Marco Fu 2-4 Martin O’Donnell
Tom Ford 1-4 Luca Brecel

Quarter-Final (bo9)

Gary Wilson 5-0 Anthony McGill
Mark Allen 2-5 John Higgins

Dominic Dale 3-5 Elliot Slessor
Martin O’Donnell 5-3 Luca Brecel

Semi-Final (bo11)

Gary Wilson 6-4 John Higgins
Elliot Slessor 5-6 Martin O’Donnell

Final (bo17)

Gary Wilson 9-4 Martin O’Donnell


Featured image credit: Eurosport

3 Comments

  1. What I like about O’Sullivan the Pundit is that he’s not afraid to go against the grain as he’s not concerned about bring popular amongst his fellow pros. The fact he still persists in using the old chalk is further evidence of this!

    Good to see Anthony Hamilton and Marco Fu still in the tournament. Four Welshmen remain.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him being a bit brutal in his assessment. People love Roy Keane and he basically does the same thing. But there are times with Ronnie when it comes across as a bit nasty, whether he means it to be or not. The Astley comments were borderline.

  2. I agree it was borderline in this case as obviously Astley has been a pro for a fair bit now. However, Astley has always remained stuck in the lower part of the rankings and very difficult to make a living down there. Where O’Sullivan and Keane tend to fall down is that neither are the most articulate, especially Keane, and that’s where you need pundits like Alan McManus, Danny Murphy and Dominic Dale to offer more forensic analysis and spot the nuances. Geoffrey Boycott was an outstanding as he possessed a wide vocabulary along with being unafraid to ruffle feathers. The snooker commentariat can sometimes feel a little too matey with the players. Will the players even be asked questions about the moral implications of snooker going to Saudi Arabia?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.