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Hello again. Thursday marked the start of quarterfinals in this
year's Dafabet Masters 2017. And we have a people's champion, once again
one of the star attractions. Ronnie O'Sullivan. This is the six-time
champion who many consider slightly fortunate to have made it into the
quarters this year after the last gasp effort against Liang Wenbo. He
will certainly hope that the flu remedies have kicked in because
he'll need a clear head if he's to see off Australia's Neil Robertson,
the winner in 2012. We'll share this in the company of John Parrot and
birthday boy, Dennis Taylor. Very difficult to predict the winner
of this one, John? Yes, talking at the top of the show about the
records coming into this. I think probably the main match I'd
concentrate on is the Welsh Open because Robertson was 5-2 ahead in
that before Ronnie put the after burners on to win seven frames in a
trot which I don't think that anybody in the game would win seven
frames on the trot. But then seven frames in the semifinals and Ronnie
beat him 6-0 and made five breaks over 60 in that match. So whether
Neil will be remembering that or this is just a case of another day,
we'll soon find out. Well, he came up short there. That
was interesting because the table has been absolutely flying a very
quick cloth, but this is a new cloth on and even if it is off the same
roll of cloth, it will be interesting to see if this table
plays as quick. It's the same table but if the cloth plays as fast as
the previous one, we'll find out in a couple of shots' time. Good safety
there from Neil. Might be able to get past the yellow and blue from
that red, but looking at that angle, there's no value in taking that on
because he'll be careering into the reds. If it was straight, he could
have a go at it and get on to the black. Apparently, I just found out
that just the cushion clothes have been changed. So the bed of the
table will play it the way it has been. Strange why they would change
the cushion cloth? They weren't really bouncing that much, John? No,
I suppose if anything is going to wear out quickly, it would be there
on the jaws of the pockets. That's probably why that has been done. But
anyway, the best safety from Ronnie there, caught the bump on the middle
pocket. Excellent cueing. From Neil Robertson. Looking straight forward
that. I didn't see much of Neil's match
with Allister Carter, I was on in the afternoon, but apparently he
played very well. Yeah, I was chatting with Neil the other day
before he came out and played and he was saying that scoring wise, he
felt like he was right back to his best. He made 13 century breaks and
in the little mini league thing that he was playing in. You don't do that
unless you're litting the ball properly. But one of the things that
you really do need to do if you're playing Ronnie O'Sullivan in what
can be deemed as back yard, you need to have plenty of character. You
need to stand up to it. Grit comes into it.
Two fabulous players who got... You got the abundance of natural talent
in O'Sullivan. The best player I've ever seen with a cue in the hand and
then the Australian with a laser-like cue action, tremendous
break and an all around match player with that Aussie grit. Great matchen
up. I mean, what this player achieved in
the 2013 and 2014 season has never been done again to make 100
centuries. If you leave the one there. In fact,
there's a couple of them that are available. He'lls coming up a little
bit short, though. Might just be OK. He needs to pull up a little bit.
That's OK. Well, he could play a little cannon into the five reds
there. Because there's a big one on the blue. And this could really open
things up. Went delicately into the reds.
Nicely played that cannon but it could come out a little better. He's
got to play this and avoid the cannon on the red just near the side
cushion when you pot this one. Which he's managed to do. And already it
is there with the break. You can see Neil Robertson knows the importance
of a good start in this match. He looks tuned up and ready to go right
from the off. Started the season off pretty well early on and had a
semifinal. And a couple of disappointing results by his open
standards since then. But as I say, you start to make all of the
centuries in the last couple of weeks and the hard graft he's put in
over Christmas time. If he gets back to his best, he'll take some
stopping, he's that good. I was surprised that he dropped down
to number seven in the world. He certainly, as Stephen Hendry said,
he should be in the top three, you would think. But that is how tough
the game is these days and you can quite easily slip down the rankings
a little bit if you have a bit of a lean spell. Yeah, he's just taking a
bit of time with this one because as you can see there, just over a
minute. But he's just got to try to get the next positional shot because
the red he was looking at, if he can he can get straight on it, he
doesn't want to be playing any cannons. This is not straight
forward. I was surprised that he came up off the shot there.
Well, he didn't want to risk the delicate hold on the black there.
Just forced in and hoping to drop nicely on pink or blue, but it's not
absolutely perfect. You've got to avoid the baulk colours and get back
up into the scoring end of the table.
In and out of the baulk area. I think those two reds near the black
definitely pot. He couldn't have hit that much better. That was a lovely
shot. Really well controlled. Looking in good nick.
Yeah, he got around on those two reds with the aid of a little flick
on the brown here. But you can expect this from these
two players. I think if the other makes a mistake the way that they're
playing, every chance that they'll finish the frame off. Yes, but how
important is it to stick your marker down in a match. You, many of times
in commentary said about Steve Davis, used to be brilliant within
the opening frame. It's very important just to let your opponent
know that you're here to play and you're at your best and this is what
Neil Robertson is doing. This is hugely impressive.
Would be difficult to go with a century break but he's almost over
the winning line in the opening frame.
Will have to wait for the next frame now because Ronnie does need a
snooker regardless of what happens. He's got a chance to move either of
the sets of two reds there. Will have to play a double if he's going
to have a chance of a century. A double but the frame is well and
truly in the bag. Just checking that, looking at the score board. So
he might as well have a go at the double.
A lovely start from the Australian. He got one chance on that and that's
all he needed and that lovely break has given him the opening frame.
It's 1-0 to Neil Robertson. Well, that's a pity. The break off
shot has put a red right next to the black and put it out of commission.
Now the player would have liked to have seen that. It just means that
Ronnie can't take the red on to the left corner because there's no
colour available. Can you believe it, it's 25 years
since Haas came on the scene as a referee. Yeah, one of the very best
and a lovely man. We've all got older together.
As it is, Ronnie may as well stay where he is because he's going into
a similar position. This time Ronnie can play down again
at the end of the table. You can see the edge of the pack there.
Ronnie's God friend, Damian Hirst, renowned artist. He didn't think
that he would be back because he thought that Liang Wenbo would be
back and knock Ronnie out. And a very easy black to knock the six
times former champion out. It can leave a free ball here. He's left a
long pot on. I wonder how Neil will take this. Will he go around the
back here. We'll just show you here. He can play around on the ball or he
could play it to nuch the red away from the black.
It's the first time in a while that he's going across the ball there.
Usually a feature of the cue action that it goes straight through. But
definitely hit across that one. Yeah, this can develop the pink and
reds because the black is tied up as well at the moment. So, how hard
will he hit this? Might just be able to get through. It's tight, though.
Very tight. In fact, I don't think that he can get through to it. A bit
unlucky there with the split. Yeah, it wasn't totally ideal with the
blue. He couldn't get loads of power into that. But he'd be very
disappointed if he doesn't cover it with the blue if he's planning to
leave the red there. Just caught the pink half ball. Full
ball contact would have been better but he was still a little bit
unlucky there. The difficult thing here for Neil is
that he's playing off the side of the pack but the red on the
left-hand side of the pack is the one that he's got to keep covered.
Cue ballually in the same place that he played from. Should be ideal.
Well, he hasn't done that and if Ronnie can pot this red and manage
to get the cue ball out, then it's a chance. He could finish on the pink
here if he hits the reds. Can't get through to that, the main
part of the shot. Normally very reliable with this
type of shot but he hasn't had much table time.
Obviously the black is out of commission and the pink is going to
get tied up on-the-spot, it looks like.
Now, is there enough room? That's the ball marker that will tell the
referee whether there's spots and as John mentioned, the peng now tied up
so he'll have to play up for the blue. He had to look to see if the
pink would go into the left corner. But we find out the way that he
plays the positional side of the shot and if it pots or not. Well, it
does. The pink does pass that red by the looks of things. Well, maybe
not. Otherwise he would have played it.
He did look at it. So Ronnie would have known whether the pink would
go, but once the red has been removed, it could develop it. I
don't know where the pink would go now.
Just can't quite get the position this he likes at the moment.
Slightly off with each shot and the bump doesn't help there because it
actually puts him straight on the blue. Might have been top side. So
another good medium range pot to screw back and back for the blue
again. Oh, this is tough. But going close to the left middle pocket.
He'll have to be careful here. And hit it lovely. Hit it beautifully.
Really well struck and the best thing there is with the position
that you see, there's three below the pink but two of the bottom ones
are definitely there. So he's got an area to play in there. Straightaway.
That's where he is. Well, there didn't look to be many
points available to him when he came to the table. The balls were all
tied up and he's making a terrific job of this. Always nice to see the
big breaks going in when they're all sitting nicely, but when you see
them having to work hard like this, it's very skilful, indeed. Now, if
he's straight. Now he's got a slight angle. So he can force this in.
Yeah, and I think that both of the reds might pot. The one next to the
pink and the one below it may do so. Hasn't he taken these well. I mean,
the table when he first came to it wasn't brilliant, but so far, this
has been superb. Both players in good nick, Dennis. And that's what
everybody wanted. The packed house at the Alexander Palace and everyone
watching at home. We just wanted to see both of the players playing well
and it looks as if we're going to see that.
There's always something a bit special about England playing
Australia. At any sport. I'll just make sure of this
yesterday. The other players that I can think
of who would have come here to win this frame from there, O'Sullivan
has. Absolutely brilliant break. Ronnie O'Sullivan has returned the
compliment, he got a chance and he returned it enough to win the frame.
One each. Goodness me. That's a long way off.
I don't think that I've seen him miss by that far before. Hmmm. A
little worrying. Well, it's not an easy starter for
Ronnie. The pot is not so difficult. The position is more difficult.
Well, that was a better shot than it looked to have to screw that. So
still needs another good positional shot. See the way that it comes off
the position here. Watch it straighten up and keep it away from
the reds. He made sure of the pot there. But
didn't avoid the yellow. Has he potted the yellow? Almost.
Wasn't an easy chance that. But Robertson would be delighted that he
got six points off of it. He must have thought when he missed that
long pot by a mile he was going to be in big trouble.
If he can get up and down on the yellow, he needs to get plenty of
side on it to at least get up past the blue spot area. He'd like to get
a bit closer to the reds. And he's got to avoid the middle pockets when
he plays this. Yeah, big shot this, really, just to get position.
Well, he is on one. But can he get any position off the red that he's
landed on. Pretty tight to the cushion.
No good, that one. To have to play something a bit special to get on to
the pink from that red. Very awkward.
I'll tell you what, what an effort that is. I mean, that... Is... As
good a positional shot as you'll ever see. Loads of top spin there.
That was a bit special. Well, you won't see a better shot played today
than that one. That was absolutely fabulous.
Played that just to try to clear the black spot. But to confirm, the red
is still covering it. A really brilliant shot that was. He
might need another one here looking at this. Has he got a bit of angle
to work with here? Just a slight angle. So in a perfect world, he'd
like to get a half ball off the blue and come down and split the pack up
with the black. He's just the wrong side there. And you can see, taking
the weight towards the baulk area. Well, just look at the cue power of
the Australian there. Loads of top spin and left-hand side, but he's
going to finish to the cushion. That could be the end of break. And there
you can see all covering each other. In fact, the way they finished, it's
very awkward to get a good safety shot in. He's just nestling on to
the black here. Yeah, the last two frails, the balls
have just gone a little awkward, that's why the previous frame lasted
just over 29 minutes. The first frame was just over 10 minutes and
the second just over 11. But sometimes, the balls dictate what
happens and we're back to tipping and tapping again.
I'll tell you what, that was nearly a little bit too hard. But his heart
was in his mouth for a second there. Yeah, nothing that you can do when
it's like this. Neither player can get the cue ball back into the baulk
area. So you have to keep playing until an opportunity arises to do
so. Scoo he thinks that he can screw
down this with some side and get it back into the baulk area. You've got
to be careful with these that you don't play a push shot.
Yeah, a push shot is where the tip of the cue ball and the object ball
are all in contact at the same time. Tough for the referee to decide.
What is a push shot. But the player normally would walk away from the
table and declare it. You know yourself if you pushed it. But look
at this for a safety. Nothing too appetising either side
so Ronnie was looking to see if he could drop on the red that's nearest
the top cushion. He tried something a bit special
there to swing the cue around the angles but it was very, very
difficult. He's just looking to see if the black goes into the pocket
that he's going to take the red here. Not sure if it is available.
It would be a big advantage if the black goes.
He's the wrong side of the blue. So maybe the black was just that little
bit too tight. And that looks like if you were in
behind the black, that you'd be able to pot it. We might have to see a
Neil Robertson special here. We talk about cue power. If he takes this
red to the right corner, he's going to get a lot of action on this. Just
have a look at this. Well, he had an angle so he didn't have to screw it
back. He's just scrapping for position there at the moment Neil
Robertson. He can't quite get them how he wants them. And slightly
wrong all the time. Having to play the cue ball around the table all
the time so this is a hard work break at the moment.
A little bit coming up after this frame. I mean the first two frames,
both players had a chance and made enough to make the frame but the
last two, the balls have gone so awkward.
Should leave the other red available. A big chance. That's in.
And there's no real easing now from this position. Going for a kick or
something to win this frame. This is really good for Neil Robertson. It's
a good effort because he missed one or two shots in this frame and lost
the cue ball a couple of times. One attempt at a long pot was a long way
away. If he can get out at the interval 2-2, he'll be delighted.
He won't be coming back to the table here. El a he be heading straight
off for the mid-session interval. And sometimes the interval can
change things around and as I say, the last two frames have been very
awkward. And I suppose, 2-2 is a pretty fair reflection? Yeah, I
would think so. As you say, just because it is awkward frames doesn't
mean it's not important, does it? They're all the same. They all count
for one. Doesn't matter about that. Ronnie is
on his way out of the arena so a couple of awkward frames. Two very
good opening frames and we go to the mid-session interval two frames
each. Have a look at that for an opening
pot. That was normal service resumed at the Neil Robertson action. Do you
think that he could drop next to the black? That would open things up and
he might have an angle on the brown to play up on to that. Yeah, it just
depends on what angle he has on the brown and which shot he decides to
play. It's a natural angle to split the pack but I'm sure that he won't
play that. That's pretty good. He got on the
red and this opens the black up for the blue this time.
Still available, but if he wants to, it will go into the play. The sort
of shot that Ronnie would play himself but other players tend to do
it slightly different. It just depends how he feels. As I say, he
has a couple of loose reds but he might go straight into the pink. No,
he's going to play for the loose ones. The one at the back of the
pack, if he gets on that in a few shots time, then he can open the
reds. Yes, Dennis. He may play for that when he leaves the cue ball low
and pots the red and screws off the pack and you bring the reds into
play. And you take position. So it all depends on how he goes about it.
There's the shot he's got now. He has a choice. He can generally power
it through but generally they go back for the black and hopefully
bring a few more reds into play. A lot more pressure on this shot than
there should have been. Excellent, must have read your book
there. John Parrot was probably the best in the game when he was potting
there. Should have had better positional play, shouldn't I! You
can only just see the top of the ball. Thinking about that first
session, I think if there were two players going into it 2-2, I would
have been slightly happy with Neil Robertson. Obviously he was 2-1 down
in the match so it goes without saying just to level it is great.
But I just think on the balance of play, I think that Ronnie was
slightly better than him in the opening session. But what you've
done with O'Sullivan is establish yourself in the match that you
aren't going to let him run away and you kept the crowd fairly quiet. So
2-2 at the interval for Neil would have been a pretty decent score. And
he's starting this frame like he started the match.
Still a couple more reds available after this one.
Just to the left on the back of that little bunch of reds, there's also
one that's potable. And the one that he's dropping on. And then, he might
leave himself on the black to cannon into the reds because he's not that
many pots away from securing the frame with one visit - a visit that
started with a Neil Robertson special.
He's got the angle to play the cannon now. This will determine
whether he's going to win the frame at this visit. He wants to cannon
the red that's in the middle there. But he wanted to play that with a
bit of screw. He's done that in there. Needed to have a bit of screw
on it so when he cannoned that, he came ae towards the left-hand side
of the table, but he just put it in there. He must have thought when he
played it, he was bound to be on one. But if he played the screw
shot, he was virtually guaranteed he would have been. Yeah, and now he's
only 59 points a very healthy lead. But not with the way that the ball
was situated. That was far from being safe against an opponent like
Ronnie O'Sullivan. So he could do with putting something on to a
cushion if he's playing a safety shot here just as a little bit of
insurance. But it's not going to be easy po put the red safe and
guarantee a good position for the cue ball.
I mean, he could possibly take the pot on but he's going to need a bit
of help. He's going to need the swan neck, I think he's asking for. We've
got three types of spider under the table there. With the extended
spider. I mean, he can play this as a shot to nothing but it's awkward
cueing. He's going to need the extension on the cue. He won't be
able to really see the shot because he's so far away from it. His eye
line, he'll just have to judge it because the cue will be so far up in
the air. I mean, it helps that he's just over six feet tall. So he'll
play the pot and play the safety shot also. Awkward.
Yes, very difficult that shot. Certainly striking down as well and
also trying to get some safety with it. It's one of those shots that if
you play all out for the pot, you've got a better chance. If you try to
get a two in one shot, sometimes you don't get the safety and you don't
get the pot. So, can Ronnie make a counterpunch? And after all the hard
work at the start of the frame from Neil Robertson... Will he have set
the frame up for Ronnie O'Sullivan to come and steal it? The way that
the reds are, Dennis, they're lovely, aren't they! Couldn't be
better, John. Even the one next to the pink will be available because
as he pots the head, they're clearing the path for another.
Straight on the black but that doesn't matter. No problem. A little
bit of reverse side here. Just to spin off the cushion to the right.
Oh, hang on! What has he played there? I was going to say, it was a
careless shot the one before. I know for a player with visibility, a
straight shot with a little bit of side shouldn't be a problem but he
shouldn't have been straight. But there's such a margin for error here
and just over hit that. It's a lively cloth but that was... Very
poor. Now, can he cut this one in? I mean, what a shot this would be. No.
So that... Excellent opportunity has disappeared rapidly.
Neil Robertson can't contain his excitement. He must have thought
that the frame was going. Ball all in the open the way that Ronnie had
been hitting it this afternoon when he had chances and he'd been cueing
beautifully. I was amazed that he was back at the table.
It would be very interesting to see how that affects Ronnie O'Sullivan.
He's looked very focused this afternoon. But inside, he will be
seething at what he's just done. If you want to give your opponent any
more confidence, keep doing what you've just done. And they'll be
feeding off that. This has been going less than 12
minutes. A little bit of an exhibition shot
there. So much there. Looked like the white was going to stop near the
cushion behind the black and inside, just spun it up the table.
And there's another exhibition shot from the Australian.
And is that in? Two visits, Neil Robertson. An earlier break of 59.
Ronnie had a chance to counterattack. He didn't take it and
nearly cleared up with 62. The Australian leads 3-2 frames.
And that's a pretty good break off shot. I mean, if the red wasn't near
the black, he would have a go at the long red in the left-hand corner and
play it as a shot to nothing, but because of the red next to the
black, he can't. He would leave that on. So he's just containing the
escape off the side cushion. Which could have been judged a little
better. Doesn't want to be leaving any sort of pot for Neil. I know
it's awkward bridging so he's not even contemplating that red to the
left of the blue. Well, he holds his hand up. A nice
little flick. And that is another careless one
from Ronnie. You can't just keep presenting
opportunities. Well, you can if he misses them. Started to look
worrying for Ronnie in that frame. Like he was losing momentum. He can
go between the red and the black there. Well, he decided that was a
little bit risky. On the wrong side of the bl. Possibly could have held
for the black. Six. Going to have to swing this
around again. 7. Such a good shot. Controlled that you'd unclear. --
beautifully. Played that really well. Well, how does that look?
Pretty good. 13. Just OK. I thought that red
would block the blue. But it is easily possible. Just wondering,
even that little shot Rob missed. How important that is. The first
opportunity. It is little things like that in these matches that make
all the difference. Hanging with the top boys. 18. 19. There's the shot
in the little pocket. It has gone to Ronnie. Will it be
costly? 22. 23. Pink, out of commission. The black is awkward.
May be in the right corner. Perfect angle on the blue. The black is
available but needs to be straight on this red so he can roll it in. No
threat on the red. Has to wait for another chance. Back into the blue
again here. A slight change of plan again. 1 of those shots where you
err on the side of being pacey just in case. Oh. You don't want to be
missing the green. Ronnie O'Sullivan. 29. I put that to a
lapse in concentration. Maybe a little of the previous frame in his
mind. If he has not got position he has been very lucky. Neil Robertson
is looking at that right in the back. Does it pot? It is difficult
to know. Well, that was your answer. Didn't
expect him to make such a poor attempt at
That. He is giving Ronnie an easy comeback. You cannot leave him these
longshots. He is good at them. That is a useful cannon on the blue.
Let us show you this terrific long pot again. He has got an angle on
the brown to get back up to the reds.
You have to say, one or two worrying signs that Ronnie is looking second
best in the match. Careen off the spot which you would not expect him
to miss ever. -- green. 6. Make no mistake about it, the Australian,
Robertson, will pick up on those. That will give him a little extra
boost. As a competitor, you can remember as
well as anybody, when you see a weakness in your partner, it is up
to you to make the most of it. That is what Neil Robertson is doing. 14.
21. Can he bring any reds out? He has to force them through and bring
the single red out. That was a good shot.
A little bit more on that. He may have to go up the table. Is the blue
is available he could play on that. It would be nice to get it back but
not essential. That is what he has in mind, to pop the red and get back
onto the blue and get back to the scoring end of the tabe. -- table.
Having a look to see if there were three reds behind the pink. I do not
think that is on. What do you do hear? Play for the single red? He
has a natural angle to play a cannon into the pink and three reds, but it
is not a big target. That is the angle he has. If he wants to play
into the pink. He is looking at the single red. He is looking at the
options here. Yeah, I do not blame him there. If he can pop this red...
But the cue ball has gone further. It is quite an easy cannon into the
pink and blue reds. It was awkward for him. He did not want to risk
potting the blue and disturb the three reds and pink. He did not cue
that well. Neil Robertson, 35. Just cued across that one slightly. For a
Potter like Neil Robertson, you would have to say that is a poor
miss. A nice little half ball on the blue.
This is all about the cannon here. Need do is to open up and land on 1.
That would be a massive favour. APPLAUSE
. Six. Yes, nice to have plenty of
enthusiasm. But just shouting out at the wrong time can put the player
off. I mentioned earlier it would be seriously worrying times if he does
not get this 1. These are absolutely lovely now. Levelling the match at
three each. OK. Green to brown could be the only slight problem, but you
wouldn't expect it. Certainly 4. Another 1 of those that might go all
the way, John. Yeah. Neil Robertson will be sitting in his chair and
kicking himself about the red that he missed. It was not easy. But he
was in command in the frame. Would not fancy knocking that 1 in. Just
needs to make sure of the green. 24 is the difference. This is to secure
the frame. APPLAUSE. Did not have to play position on the brown, but he
did. And a good response from Ronnie. And once again, all square.
Great match. 42. 48. Well, the Australian, Robertson, a
chance to open up a two-frame advantage but did not take it.
Ronnie O'Sullivan took his chance. All square, three frames each.
Now, what is the angle like that he has left for Neil? Has he got a pot?
Yep. There it goes. You never know where the red that you play is going
to go. But that has finished up OK. A very attacking shot on here.
Whether he will take it, I don't know. No, he has decided to play the
safety shot. There's a pot with the red on the
right-hand side. He was not having any of that. He has taken the pot
on, but look at the cue ball. It will go to the black and reds. Where
will it finished up? Finding a gap. Has he got a shot on the green? If
he had the green, he is right-handed, over 6 feet tall, he
has got quite a stretch. But even then, he would have to force this.
And he could miss the pot if he tried to hit it too hard. It looks
tight on the cushion. He has cued it well. Just to make
the pot. He'd just misjudged it slightly. A similar sort of shot for
Ronnie. Neil Robertson found the gap. Where will the cue ball go this
time? This is a little hard. He has to power this. Brilliantly struck
and controlled. 8. Perfect. Just feel with this
match, the way it has been going, the boys mentioned in the studio
that one player could step up and grab hold of the match with scoring.
They could run away with it. 21s. 22. 1 red at the back of the bunch.
Let us see how he gets on to that red.
He has left it in such a way he can develop a few more. Does not help
his position, though. 13. Stumbling through. Getting the cue ball
running through it. One good cue in here. That is exactly what you got.
Beautifully struck as well. 37. He did the right thing like a
golfer. He had not made up his mind and got up on the shot and went back
down again. That is the worst thing you can do, change your mind and
then continue. A lot better. Had to strike down on that. It had to be
straight through the middle of the white. Very well cued. 43. Striking
down on it, right the way through, then back up for the brown.
A lot better than it looked. He can obviously play some sort of cannon
of the blue into the reds. But he is worried about losing the cue ball.
Thinking about coming off the angle with the brown. It is time to
guarantee position here as opposed to taking a chance. He took too long
on that. Is he going to fluke it. Surely not! No reaction from me but
that is one of the biggest is flukes you could ever see. Did not make up
his mind. Did not want to risk the cannon. Then missed the brown by a
long way. But how did he fluke it into the corner? He has just played
a few strange... 47. It is as if he lost his concentration somewhat. I
mean, he just got down on the plant. If that is down you do not just get
down and hammer it like that. It is as if he felt guilty for getting the
fluke. Well, it might come back to haunt
him, the way he played that plant there. But, I mean, just to hit it
that hard, did not give it a chance. But this was amazing. He just could
not make up his mind. And in the end, he missed it by a long way. And
then to see it go in-off the red. Meanwhile, this is not a
straightforward chance for Neil Robertson. Left-handed. Those 2 reds
on the left-hand side cushion will be as much a problem for him as a
right-hander. Nevertheless, these are not ideally situated. APPLAUSE.
13. 14. As the option, he could play
this firmly and click the red out. He could have played it firmly, as
if he missed the cannon... Well, he chose not to do it that way.
30. Not the best position he has ever played. He is probably already
thinking about the two awkward reds. One very much so. The other not too
badly placed. Before the break, on the black, he could have tried to
flick that. I know he is left-handed, but that is a tricky
shot, where that is. That is to be negotiated later. We will soon find
out. APPLAUSE. 33. He has got a slight handle on the black. He is
left-handed. He can play a drop in behind it. Or he can try and get it
out. Not be perfect angle. He would have to really try and power this
in. And he certainly powered this in. But not quite far enough. It
looks like it will be a safety. And Ronnie O'Sullivan will be relieved
because I think he felt that he might have messed up. But that was a
great effort to bring that into play. Neil Robertson, 40. So, still
in the balance in this frame. When Ronnie missed the brown. He had an
alternative shot that we might be able to show you. I thought he could
take the blue and get the cannon on the two reds. But it could not make
up his mind. He got the brown and missed it. This is a little bit
pacey. Oh, the blue, the blue has come to his rescue there. Yeah. Neil
Robertson raises his eyebrows slightly walking towards the com
box. Thinking that was going to be a chance. The greenies in the corner.
-- green is. There you go. Yep. Nice blue, he is saying. Because if it
slips past the blue, the red, he might have a chance, maybe not to
pot the red, but certainly to put Ronnie in trouble. He has to
negotiate the swerve. He could be knocking it towards the other
pocket. So, he was in a lot of trouble there. And he will take
that. He might not like the next shot. Trying to get in behind the
black here. . He has not hit it hard enough. He has missed a trick there.
I see the ties, they are wearing normal ones, you can see him pulling
at it. That is why we used to wear bowties, because a normal 1 gets in
your way slightly. Oh. I am a massive fan of Neil Robertson, I
really am, but he has played 2 was 3 shots today that are totally out of
character for him. He never usually does that.
One. For him to play that, obviously, do not put the object
ball over the pocket. He has overhit that and now it will
be awkward because he needs the brown also. He is having a quick
look at the scoreboard there. 15 ahead. Green and brown, and he will
need assistance. I do not know if he can get it with the rest. He may
just be able to get it passed the blue. But if he gets it too card. --
hard. You can try to flick it in. That was the good news about that
shot. Well, one could long pot, and we are right down the line of the
shot. It is there. 16. APPLAUSE. Ronnie O'Sullivan, 16. A lapse in
concentration, but Neil needs... Settle down, please. He needs a
snooker, as you can see. Did that previously in the match when he
missed a pink in the middle and had to wait another 10 minutes. This is
the blue again. Looks like nothing, but it stops your momentum. You
think you are going to win the frame but it is all over. It gives you 10-
15 minutes of complete aggravation for no reason at all.
It's been a funny frame this. It's had a little bit of everything.
Only needing the one snooker, there is no way he will be potting the
blue if he had a chance. More chance of the snooker with pink and black
on the table. But as well as playing for the snooker, you have the try
and keep the object ball safe. Well, he didn't mean to pot that!
LAUGHS He's looking down... Didn't plan to
pot that. But he might be able to get by with the black here. More
difficult now with just the one Snookering ball on the table. And
more difficult, Dennis, because the black is off the spot. The cushion
for the black - easier to get a snooker behind. But where it is
now... You have got to be absolutely perfect. You they would he would
have to get it right tight behind. He has one real good shot left at it
and it's not great, what he's got left anyway. So, good luck with this
one. I will tell you what - it's a pretty
good effort if the pink holds up. Just ran a bit too far.
APPLAUSE Not a bad effort.
In or over is how you may that shot. CHEERING
That's in! It's a frame either play would have won, but in the end
Ronnie O'Sullivan. He will be absolutely delighted. He gets himg
into a four frames to 3 lead. A good length with the cue ball, but
there is a bit of a free pot for Ronnie. He can go around the back of
the black and take this on. An interesting part in that last
frame, Dennis. It ultimately went down to the last red. There was a
shot where I was saying Roberts could have potted the red. If he
plays it nice and firm and plays that, knocks it out, he could end up
going on to win the frame F he missed it he was a red baulk. So a
bit of a shot to nothing really. I think he may have missed a trick
there. Ultimately that red was the last one he had to get and he
couldn't get on it. CHEERING
Well, that was what we call an Aussie special! I mean, one of the
greatest long potters the game's ever seen, without a doubt.
Tremendous cuing. I mean, such a hard pot anyway. But to knock it in
with a top spin Yan get back on the correct side of the blue is just a
wonderful shot. Yeah. I think I mentioned at the
start of the tournament how many great left-handers there are in the
game and what great potters they are. Going way back, there was only
a few. There was a great potter from South Africa.
But now there's... I mean, there's so many great left-landed players.
Then Jimmy White came on the seen, Barry Hawkins...
Well, he knocked in an unbelievable opening red. How do you see a
missing one like that? I know. If anything, I was looking at Neil
Robertson today and haven't seen him play much this season other than
when we ump # -- we bumped into him. His concentration is never as high
as it usually is, that's the only thing you can say, because he would
never miss a shot like that. CHEERING
Great pot from Ronnie. Did well to avoid the cannon on that red there.
So, # -- Ronnie's turn to sense weakness in his opponent. Can he
make the most of it? I agree with Stephen Hendry -
standard-wise probably one of the worst matches. Although it's still
very, very exciting. But no century break, highest 74, Ronnie's highest
63. But fascinating stuff. Yeah. Interpret similar to yesterday's
match with Mark Selby and Mark Williams. It doesn't have to be one
with the snooker all the time to make it fascinating. A brilliant
match yesterday and Mark Williams desperately unlucky. He played some
fantastic match play. What is going on here at the minute?
What is going on? Are we now at the stage where both players are maybe
trying to that little bit too hard? Well, he got a heavy contact there.
The red's gone in, but it's spoiled the position outside of the shot.
Supposed to be fair, in this year's Masters there hasn't been a great
deal of kicks. Less than there has been for quite some time, I think.
Unfortunately when it happened, look it did yesterday -- like it did
yesterday for Mark Williams on the blue. Neil Robertson having to take
on here, it was magnified. But this is a big shot to take on. . Wow!
APPLAUSE What a pot! To do it after the
disappointment of the kick and the loss of position is fabulous.
Think he is still keen on winning this match after that shot? As I
say, they both want it so badly. But it has to be said, Ronnie was in
the balls and he was looking good and... He will have just gone to
clean hi # -- clean his hands. A little bit sticky maybe.
That's gone wrong. It is amazing. I was just about to say with these
players, you normally expect to them a win with one visit. But what's
been happening - there is all sorts of hitting things going on. There is
another one, when it ran on to the red and out of position. I don't
think it is December Pratt. He has the one insurance policy in the
baulk area. May have lost position there, but the way his long
potting's been, this will be going in.
APPLAUSE Not all bad news there. Got a chance
here. He can pot the yellow off the said cushion and into the pack, if
he wants to. The red over the middle pocket would be there as well.
That's what he played. But he hit that so badly he was nowhere near
it! I don't know about how, John, but you just sense... Normally you
would say they are in, they are going to win the frame you sense
with what's going on, they are not confident of winning the frame with
one visit. If there is a three-ball plant what a bonus that is. I don't
think it will go in... Unless there is a gap between the two reds. P
those two reds are close together it will squeeze it away from the
pocket. Well, let's see. The first two to the left... Close together,
the angle he's got, he won't make - he will squeeze it away from the
pocket, I think. Well, from that angle maybe he could
possibly make it, because there is a little gap between the reds. But
still doesn't fan it is. -- fancy it . Well...
CHEERING 25. He would be kicking himself.
Such a margin for error there. Comes off there, the side of the cushion,
goes into the pack with the balls, red over the middle. Looking like a
frame-winning chance but it's gone now.
APPLAUSE Good stuff, though. I don't know
what's going to happen next! LAUGHS
What happened next? That used to be a programme. How many years were you
the captain? What happened next? Well, he thought he could pot that.
And the white needs to keep running, otherwise he's left it. Yeah. I
think he can get past the blue. CHEERING
Just someone shouted out there, "Get in." Before the white got near the
red. We don't need anyone like that shouting while the player is playing
the shot because it will put the player he's supporting off.
Once again, though, the position... Not ideal for Ronnie. This - the
choice of it up into the yellow pocket, which is what he's doing,
but he played for it in the centre. CROWD: Oh!
CHEERING He should be taking this one! Quiet
please! Listen, you get enough bad luck at
times in a game. If you get a fluke like this, why not take full
advantage? Left of the cushion. Then seemed to come back in. I think
there was a bit of swerve on it, hitting the angle. Yep. Arced it
around into the pocket. I'm with you - you get a fluke, you
make sure you get the most of it. You see it's the jaws, and then it
hits the caution and... Flick off the brown? Wow! That brown's been
pretty good, hasn't it? It should have been in the other one, but of
course he played the plant afterwards with not a lot of care.
But what a fluke that was! He didn't play that too well. That's
a bit careless there. Miss challenged the cannon completely.
He's just battling himself a little bit at the moment. You can see the
about jebt disappointment on -- abject disappointment on his face
when he losses position. Welcome to our world Ronnie. That's what
happens to most players. APPLAUSE
Welcome back to Ronnie's world! LAUGHS
Yeah. For all the great play and misses and bad safeties Yan # --
safeties Yan great safeties, you can't beat a little bit of luck.
What a fluke that was! CHEERING
Very focused. Great temperament, but that was hard to take. Because it
means now that he's going to have to win the last three frames. He's
quite a while capable of doing that, as Ronnie overscrews the yellow. But
that doesn't matter. He will stay in the seat. Or he might leave the
arena just to compose himself, but it doesn't matter about the green.
That was an unbelievable fluke for Ronnie O'Sullivan!
CHEERING No wonder he's leaving the arena.
He's now just one frame away from the place in the semifinal. It's 5-3
to The Rocket. Ronnie, a bit short with the
break-off shot. Could do with a long pot here.
Given the cue a clean there, just to make sure it's nice and smooth. He
could do with a couple of Robertson specials. He's at the stage now
where he knows he can't afford many more misses.
Just having a look there to see if that red at the back of the black is
pottable. At some stage... Obviously not playing on it there, but he's
just seeing if he can pot that and get it away are the black. It will
free it. But... I don't know about that one.
Here he is again, checking just to see. All those ones you have to keep
the qubl high, so -- cue ball high so when you get the natural angle
you can screw off for the black. It is a tough angle for the black,
certainly on these tables. And he would be disgusted with that. You
can see him turn his head away because the one thing he didn't want
to do was come low. Just got into that a bit too much.
Not even sure that pots. It's very tight.
Yeah. Not from angle. Had the white been near and to the right he would
have been OK. He worked that out an if you shots ago. Stephen mentioned
in the studio that struggling for positional play today. A good
example. A very good example. A good opening pot. Played as a shot
to nothing. Because if the red doesn't go in - have a look where
the cue ball was. The fact he potted it, he knew he was always going to
have a chance of the brown. CROWD: Oh! Boy, to hit it that hard
and expect the pocket to accept the brown was asking something.
Foul! Oh, he fouled it. He was looking and he may have thought he
was OK, but he touched it with his sleeve. Yeah. Bad news on the foul.
Good news was - that red came across and hit the black and didn't leave
one on. Could have been all bad for Neil there.
APPLAUSE Interesting, though, Ronnie tapped
the table a few times. He tapped the table before the white got anywhere
near the cushion. He knew where it was going to finish up.
Don't mind him missing altogether with the first attempt... Much
better doing that than hitting the red thick. He will have another go
at it. He will want to really make contact this time, because three
misses from this situation and you lose the frame. So, can he get a
thin enough contact here? No. The referee will now warn
Ronnie. I said earlier anything else going to happen in this match?
Certainly he won't lose a frame from missing the reds she times?
UMPIRE: I have to warn you this time. Put plenty on chalk of the
tip. The last thing you want to do is miscue.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Well! In the end it was a terrific
safety shot he played. But... He hasn't reacted, but he couldn't stop
smiling there. It looked, from that... He must have tried to plant!
LAUGHS I will tell you what - this is a big
shot to take on. Well, you were right, John. It was a
big shot. Don't be giving too many chances to
someone like Neil Robertson. He was in the jaws of the pocket. So close.
But very tough shot he took on there.
Yes. Not a brilliance chance this. Blackcurrantly is out of commission
-- black currently out of commission. Pink certainly is. Brown
on the side cushion. Not perfect on the blue. I suppose
he could take the green, being left-handed. It might actually be a
natural angle back at the red at the bottom of the cluster, because that
will pot. But is he hampered with his cuing? Mmm. Looks like it.
He is looking at the blue to the middle pocket. This is a thin cut.
He will go into the pink and reads and it will open the game up. Foul.
That's a bit unlucky. It was a very thin snick required. He got the main
part of the shot. Didn't quite enough get screw on it. But to go in
off was very unfortunate indeed. Yeah. Added unfortunate part of that
shot - I think he's opened the pink into a pottable position as well. I
think the pink now goes - the red removed from the side of the pink -
if Ronnie can pot this and come through, then he's got pink or blue
that's available. What he needs to do is get his focus
back that he had at the start of the match.
APPLAUSE It has to be said, just a few little
signs that he is getting a little frustrated with himself. He sets
himself such high standards, Ronnie O'Sullivan.
That was a good shot that Neil played there. Knew he would be
clipping the red towards the corner, but as long as he could use the
yellow, green or blue to cover it up, it was OK. Similar shot for
Ronnie here, but Ronnie has to be careful with... Don't want to hit
the pump in the middle pocket either. Has he covered it?
He's covered the one closest to the pocket. And the one on the left-hand
side he is hampered by the yellow. So, not great for Neil.
I just noticed, John, something with Ronnie when down on the shot. It is
as if he's moving around a little bit. He never used to do that. Rock
solid. But detected just a little bit of movement while he was getting
ready to deliver the cue. That was just a containing safety.
A tough shot, these. Yeah. Not surprised he missed it actually. One
of the ones... That is on the thin side. Ronnie isn't looking to see
about the red on the right-hand side. He doesn't fancy that. Well,
that, I suppose... He normally he could have potted that and got on
the pink. Didn't even look at it, did he?
Just while they are replacing it there, just... You see, there's
where it is, nearly on the brown spot. Mmm. Looked as if he could
take it on. Wouldn't have left a great deal but he had it replaced.
Now! It's Robertson's turn to be warned. He won't even look at the
red this time. Of course, if he did it and missed it three times then
this would be frame and match. Do you know what I think happened? It
happened in the Irish Masters, and I think Ken was playing Steve Davis.
Was it Steve who lost the match with three consecutive misses? Yep. Yep.
You're dead right. That's what happened.
REFEREE: I have to warn you this time Neil. This will be too thick
now. Needs to be very careful here. APPLAUSE
Yep. Too thick. But I tell you what - he will be glad when it's finished
T -- finished. The blue's come to his rescue.
Played that with a loaded check side. Just to straighten the cue
ball up. APPLAUSE
He's played it very well. Where the reds have turned out, he's had a
little bit of luck, of course. He's covered those two red near the
corner pocket. Little bit of luck with one of the balls, but it was
well played. On first glance, looks like a fair bit of trouble.
Well, that is what he is faced with there. As you can see, a very
difficult situation. He will have to give this one a
little bit of thought, because he knows one mistake here and he could
be out of this year's Masters. Yeah T two reds that are near the top
corner, the bottom one, Neil was looking at trying to roll up and
drop on. But if you don't get that right you are leaving a red into the
middle pocket. That's what he's had a look at. If he can just come up
dead weight and rest on it. But you have to get that right.
Well, this is very delicate. It isn't going to reach. Foul.
Oh that was the way he was trying to get in behind that red. Ronnie's not
having the one in the middle pocket. So, obviously the... That pot isn't
something he fancies. But he's got Neil in a right load of trouble
here. Same shot, is it? Has he done the same thing again?
And then... REFEREE: Foul. And a miss. Yep. He
will have to be warned again. For the second time... That doesn't
happen very often where a player is warned twice in one frame.
REFEREE: I have to warn you again, Neil. You played a miss. You will
lose the frame. Yeah. And the match. Oh! Well! He's given a foul away. 7
points. But the... Black, will it go on its own spot! I think it's the
ultimate whammy. I think everything pots.
REFEREE: Settle down, please. Quiet now. Thank you! He is so many
trouble. He thought he had to take on that pottable pot. There was no
pocket to go in. But some of the balls were very awkward, but have a
lack at how they have split up. For those to finish like that, and
forget the black on the spot, with everything in the open, you couldn't
ask for anything more. The only thing is... The way it's gone this
afternoon, will it be over? They have played each other twice in
the Masters. Neil one 6-1 in the semifinal 2015. Ronnie won 6-4 in
Round 2 in 2010. Even that shot wasn't played up to
his usual standards. You could see him down in shot, he was in two
minds, the way he played. Obviously to knock the black he should be
knocking this in. But just little unpositional blips from Ronnie
O'Sullivan that you don't normally see. These are just spread lovely.
No excuses now. Before this match started, we
were... Thought we were going to be in for century breaks flying in all
over the place. But... Ronnie's highest break had been 63. Neil's
74. But... I will tell you what - there's been lots of 50s and 40s and
misses. We've had a bit of everything. Yep. It's been great
theatre this afternoon, that's for sure. You know, this audience this
afternoon, OK, as you say, not centuries rolling off every frame,
but it's been fascinating right the way through. It's been difficult to
commentate on because we know what was going to happen. On occasions
people looking like they are going to clear up, pole positions, and a
few missed pots you wouldn't get. But fascinating nonetheless.
APPLAUSE That's the frame and the match
secure. Neil Robertson had a chance to go 4-2 in front. And for me, that
was the big, big turning point in the match.
The crowd here at Alexandra Palace have been very fair to both players.
A lot of Ronnie fans here, but Neil Robertson's had terrific support
also. But it's not going to be his year.
Just looked as if he had lost a little bit of focus. He was very up
for it. The start at match, but just seemed to lose his way towards the
end, and... Probably because he set such a high standard.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE 61. He's had a few flukes here and
there which always help. APPLAUSE
Interesting... Well, he will be delighted, Damien Hurst, his good
friend. It will be interesting to hear what Ronnie has to say about
the match. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Both players big smiles for each other. It's been a fascinating
tussle between these two great players. There Ronnie acknowledges
the crowd. He will be delighted. In the end a comfortable win, 6-3, for
the Rocket. Curious match. But Ronnie O'Sullivan is over the line
and into a 13th Masters semifinal. He's only ever lost one of those and
ironically that was a couple of years ago to the very same Neil
Robertson. He aadvantaged that one. We will be back with more live
snooker in yet another quarterfinal. It is Mark Selby, the world number
1, and threetime winner of the great event, against the runner-up, Barry
Hawkins. We will catch you for 1:00pm BBC Two.
Goodnight. Why would James Delaney hate
the India so?