LOTS of chat about Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round. How does Michael Day (@daisy8ball) assess his chances here?
Matthew Stevens v Ronnie O’Sullivan | Saturday 19:00 | BBC
Anybody got a pair of size 8’s?
That’s what Ronnie O’Sullivan turned around to the audience and asked for during his 10-3 first round win over qualifier Craig Steadman. It was another bizarre splat on his 2015 palette which has already seen him complain about referees, venues and photographers – and this time it was his ill fitting shoes he was thrusting into the limelight.
Despite briefly playing in his socks and later borrowing a more suitable pair from a tournament official, ‘The Rocket’ stuttered his way into round two with a wholly under par performance.
With no disrespect to newcomer Steadman (who actually impressed at times), O’Sullivan didn’t need to break sweat, yet he failed to put down any marker of his intentions.
The five time world champion will face Matthew Stevens next, who incredibly destroyed form player Mark Williams 10-2 in his opener. For me this is the shock score line of the championship so far.
ROS is best priced at 1/8 on for the win, and to be honest he should win easily. He may also be buoyed by the fact his ‘bogey’ player and self confessed ‘torturer’ Mark Selby has been eliminated from the proceedings. This may focus him – but he is so difficult to predict.
O’Sullivan leads the head to head record 14 to 5, but had a 10 match winning streak against his opponent ended the last time they met in February during the last 32 of the Welsh Open.
I love Ronnie. He is an enigma. But his antics of the last few months have really left me worried about his state of mind – and his current suitability to win the tournament. Fellow title candidates Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump have also had their say in the papers about O’Sullivan this week. So on this occasion I am going to oppose him, and exploit a recent weakness of his I have noticed.
Since breaking the great Stephen Hendry’s all time century record at the Masters in January, big breaks for Ronnie have been surprisingly sparse.
In fact, despite getting the runners-up spot in last month’s World Grand Prix, he only made one ton in the entire event; something very peculiar. From February onwards he has also failed to make more than one century in any match. Round 2 games are best of 25, so there could be more scope and opportunity to make some, but he only made one in his last best of 19 match.
Although Stevens himself made a pair of three figure scores in his last outing, I don’t see him having the same chance here – because he may not win 10 frames. Therefore the 6/5 quote from Betway of Under 2.5 match centuries looks logical.
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Matthew Stevens – Under 2.5 Centuries (6/5 Betway)