Ronnie O’Sullivan (WS-2) has qualified for the quarterfinals of the Players’ Championship in Milton Keynes, England on Tuesday. In the first round, the 45-year-old Englishman defeated Chinese Ding Junhui (WS-9) by a small margin of 6-5.
With two gaps of 58 and 103, O’Sullivan took a 5-3 lead. With gaps of 65, 71, 53, 53 and 60, Ding was unaffected and pulled a decisive eleventh frame out of the fire. “The Rocket” finished it with 95 breaks.
Although the Englishman may have finished a frame earlier, he missed with a green ball extension. The patch had to pay for it, otherwise it was thrown to the ground by the quiet O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan replaces Jack Lisovsky (WS-11) in the semifinals. He outscored Martin Gold (WS-31) 6-3. “It will be another tough game,” O’Sullivan said. “Jack is in an upward spiral. I’ve aged. I made a lot of mistakes against Ding, but I’m stuck in the match. I knew I was going to get at least one chance at 5-3.
O’Sullivan, who won the Players’ Championship in 2018 and 2019, expects his first match victory since becoming the sixth world champion in August. At the Welsh Open, things went surprisingly wrong last Sunday in the final against unknown Irish player Jordan Brown (WS-45). “It doesn’t bother me. I do my thing every day. When I look at it, the tour has become a big continuum. I’m on the 38th floor now.”
Neil Robertson (WS-3) also joined the last eight on Tuesday. The Australians quickly outscored Chinese Lu Ning (WS-33) 6-1, with four gaps of 135, 130, 142 and 132, with 82 gaps in between. Kieron Wilson (WS-5), his strongest opponent, is 6-1 at Welshman Ryan Day (WS-32) on Monday. Robertson is a standout in Milton Keynes. The hairdresser in the UK is still covered. It gave “The Thunder From Down Under” a blonde curly hair.
World number one and defending champion Judd Trump was knocked out 6-5 on Monday by Stuart Bingham (WS-14) and Barry Hawkins (WS-18) for the quarterfinals (11 best). On Tuesday evening, he qualified 6-5 against Chinese Zhao Yulong (WS-17).