Day two in Berlin as the first round came to a conclusion and what a day it was as Ronnie O’Sullivan fought back to secure a crucial victory, while John Higgins suffered his first whitewash in a professional event in 16 years…
Trailing 4-0 at the interval against Andrew Higginson, the writing looked to be on the wall as far as Ronnie O’Sullivan’s place inside the top 16 was concerned ahead of the final seedings cut-off of 2011/12. The three-time world champion however showed once again that he can never be written off as a five-frame burst upon their resumption with breaks of 86, 67, 66, 60, 56 and 48 saw him recover to take a 5-4 victory.
While Ronnie would still require a run to the final of this event in order to leapfrog Ricky Walden into 16th place in the latest projected seedings list, this result crucially keeps his fate in his own hands with the remainder of this tournament and the Welsh Open still to come.
Next up for O’Sullivan will be a clash with Joe Perry, a 5-4 winner against Ali Carter in a re-match of their 2008 World Championship semi-final. While the result will not come as a shock to some given Ali’s form of late, judging by the breaks made during the match it looks to have been a much-improved performance from Carter despite the eventual result. Breaks of 94, 71 and 102 from Perry were enough for him to take a deserved winner however and earn himself a shot at O’Sullivan tomorrow.
Elsewhere it was generally a day for the favourites in the remaining last 32 matches, although Ding Junhui proved the exception as he fell to a 5-3 defeat against countryman Yu Delu as his mixed 2011/12 season continued. Although Yu was to fall to a resurgent Stephen Lee in the next round, it has been an excellent event for the tour rookie as he closes in on a top 64 place for the first time in his career.
Like Ding, John Higgins has experienced an indifferent season to date and that continued today as he lost out to countryman Stephen Maguire for the second time in as many ranking tournaments, this time by an astonishing 5-0 scoreline. A winner in German soil last month at the PTC12 event, next up for Stephen will be Judd Trump who overcame Mark Allen this evening in a repeat of the UK Championship final.
The action continues tomorrow…