A missed red during the final frame of the afternoon session of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Scottish Open final against Mark Selby could prove a pivotal moment in the match, according to Eurosport pundits Ken Doherty and Jimmy White.
The six-time world champion trailed 5-2 but looked set to cut the arrears as he sized up a simple-enough red. However, the Rocket inconceivably jawed it and collapsed on the table as the significance of the miss dawned on the 45-year-old cueist.
The resulting clearance from Selby gave him a four-frame lead in the best-of-17 encounter, and both Doherty and White agreed that the miss could represent the moment the match swung irrevocably in the Jester’s favour.
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“O’Sullivan has just not been sharp enough. He may get away with it against other players but that is not the case against Mark Selby,” began 1997 world champion Ken Doherty.
His safety has not been good enough, long pots have not been good and he has not been scoring enough. And that was a crucial miss in the last frame – that effectively, for me, unless he completely changes his game tonight, is the match over.
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Jimmy White, speaking alongside Doherty in the Eurosport studio with Andy Goldstein, agreed that it was a massive task for O’Sullivan.
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“Missing that red [in frame eight] is down to a lack of practice because he has potted the difficult, pressure red down the back rail and he has got on the black so should clear from there," began White.
However, he has not thought about the shot and just got down and hit it; normally they go in 1000 times out of 1000 times but maybe because he has not lined it up probably due to a lack of practice. It is a massive ask from there.
“If O’Sullivan was playing at his normal level then I would give him a chance but at the moment it is big odds against him,” said White.
O’Sullivan and Selby resume hostilities in at 19:00 to a conclusion at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
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