Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his spot in the last 32 of the English Open at the expense of Yuan Sijun.
Although the results show Ronnie through to the next round, it must have felt like the finals to the Rocket, having had to recover from 3-1 behind.
All eyes were affixed on O’Sullivan following his controversial statements in the aftermath of his victory over Jamie O’Neill in the first round of the competition. However, it was Yuan Sijun who stole the headlines early on.
He stepped in with a well-taken run of 79 in the first frame. The teenage sensation had been tipped for stardom by his opponent sometime last year and was ready to prove that narrative. He continued with that fine form in the second frame, putting together an excellent run of 104, giving a solid 2-0 lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The Rocket had gotten back into the game in the third frame and was up and running with a fine break of 68. However, Sijun continued on his fairy tale run, responding with a break of 66 to put him within inches of claiming the last frame, just enough to seal his victory.
With the hopes of a 37th ranking title fading away, the Rocket summoned up his ‘inner chi’, gathering some momentum and brilliance under pressure, just the way fans of the sport have become accustomed to. He reeled off-break so of 81 and 84 to turn the game on its head and draw the game level at 3-3.
As the teenage sensation began to see the victory slipping away from his grip, O’Sullivan was ready to pounce and feed like the predator that he is. He got a break of 87 to break Sijun’s fine resistance and steal the show from the teenager in what was a terrific tussle and mighty scare for him.
Ronnie O’Sullivan must have felt his heart pound away like a mammoth given its marching orders as he saw a young lad he had tipped for greatness showing him the door out of the tournament. However, the Rocket pulled off some incredible stunt to reassure himself of the possibility of lifting the title this term.
Written by: Roland Arum