Baize Watch: Episode 4

O’Sullivan Hits Back To Beat Maguire

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-2 down to beat Stephen Maguire 6-4 and reach the final of the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix in Preston.

O’Sullivan will now meet Mark Selby or Ding Junhui on Sunday at the Guild Hall, with the winner to take the trophy and a top prize of £100,000. World number two O’Sullivan has already won the English Open, Shanghai Masters and UK Championship this season and is aiming to win four ranking titles within the same campaign for the first time in his career. The only time he had previously won three in a season was back in 2004/05.

The Rocket is now into his sixth final of the season as he was runner-up at the invitational Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions.

It was Scotland’s Maguire who made a fast start tonight with a break of 103 in the opening frame, and he went on to lead 3-1 at the interval. O’Sullivan pulled one back with a break of 50 then Maguire recovered a 45 point deficit to win the sixth frame on the colours.

Chigwell’s 42-year-old O’Sullivan found another gear when he needed it – as he does so often – and reeled off the next four frames within 42 minutes. Breaks of 72, 83 and 128 (his seventh century of the tournament) put him 5-4 ahead, then runs of 39 and 25 were enough to give him the tenth frame for victory.

“I hustled my way through the match, there wasn’t really any good ball striking,” said O’Sullivan, chasing his 32nd ranking title. “I had to draw on my experience and will to win. After the way I played last night (beating Xiao Guodong 5-0) everyone says ‘Ronnie’s flying’ but it was just one match. I’m not flying – I have played three patchy games and one very good one. There’s a lot of work to be done on my game to try to get a higher level of consistency.”

Asked whether he feels this is the best form of his career, O’Sullivan added: “No, I think my best was 2011 to 2014 or 2015 when I was dominating and crushing everyone and winning tournaments pretty easily. These days I have to struggle more, I have had to reinvent myself because I can’t attack as much as I’d like to. I have to find ways of breaking my opponents down, a bit like Roger Federer has done in tennis. You can’t keep playing the same game because people will work you out.”