China’s Lyu Haotian stunned seven-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan with a surprise 5-1 victory at the inaugural Wuhan Open, but results elsewhere mean the Rocket is set to remain world number one for now.
O’Sullivan knew if Mark Allen won this week’s event he would be usurped at the summit of the world rankings. However, Allen bowed out this evening against Ali Carter.
It’s the first time in four years that O’Sullivan has lost a match on Chinese soil. His last defeat came at the hands of Dominic Dale in the first round of the 2019 World Open in Yushan. Lyu is now through to the semis of a ranking event for the fifth time in his career, where he will face Carter, but he is still searching for a maiden title.
Lyu took a tight first two frames this evening on the colours, before breaks of 76 and 66 saw him head into the mid-session with a 4-0 advantage. When they returned, a stunning break of 101 from O’Sullivan kept him in contention. However, Lyu took the sixth to run out a 5-1 victor.
Afterwards O’Sullivan admitted that he wasn’t too worried by the prospect of Allen overtaking him at the top of the world rankings, even though the Pistol’s eventual loss did mean he’d stay on top.
“When I first got to number one I couldn’t believe it. When you’ve held it for a few years, you don’t get seduced by victories, World Championships or being the world number one. When I was younger I wanted it. When you get it you become used to it and it is normal. It is a shame really, because you lose that hunger and desire. There is nothing left for me to achieve in snooker. I wish there was something for me to go for. I’ve achieved more than I could ever imagine and more than any other snooker player on the planet,” said 39-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan.
“Lyu played very well. He didn’t miss much, scored well, played good safety and potted some good pressure balls. Credit where it is due. I could have played a bit better, but I didn’t do a lot wrong.”
Carter’s scored an impressive 5-2 victory over Allen and is now through to the 28th ranking event semi-final of his career.
The Captain crafted breaks of 78, 63, 77, 52 and 57 on his way to beating the world number three. Afterwards Carter admitted he was expecting to face O’Sullivan, but the five-time ranking event winner believes he now faces a different sort of pressure.
Carter said: “It is a bit of a double edged sword. To a certain extent I’d rather play Lyu Haotian than Ronnie, I think anyone on the tour would. From the other side of the coin, the pressure is now on me to win. I’m favourite now. Against Ronnie I’m second favourite and I have an awful record against him. I don’t think there are many people that do have a good record against him.”
Last week’s English Open champion Judd Trump remained on course for back-to-back titles, scoring a 5-0 quarter-final win over Tom Ford.
The Ace in the Pack only arrived in China on Tuesday after his exertions in beating Zhang Anda 9-7 from 7-3 down in Sunday’s English Open final. However, he has since made up for lost time and only dropped four frames en route to the semis.
Trump now faces Chinese teenager Wu Yize, who will be competing in his first ever ranking semi-final. Wu scored a 5-4 win over Irishman Aaron Hill to secure his progression.