The Zhiyuan World Open kicked off in style, and it was the big names who dotted all the headlines that attracted all the fanfare that greeted the proceedings on the opening day. One is such big names was Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was poised to lock horns with Dominic Dale.
Ronnie O’Sullivan topped an online poll conducted for who the World Open winner will be. The Rocket according to 48% of those who played a part in the poll would emerge victorious at the end of the tournament. However, he must first survive the clash with Dominic Dale alias Spaceman.
It was a busy day at the office for Ronnie and his ardent followers. However, neutral fans were rather left giggling – in a more relaxed position – at what the dashboard read. It was a clash ready to take them into the outer world and into space – The Rocket vs. Spaceman.
Dominic Dale raced to a 2-0 lead much to the surprise of a large fraction of the audience. The veteran had made a name for himself in the sport but was no favourite against an in-form Ronnie.
O’Sullivan unwilling to give up, soon bounced back into the game, recording two breaks of 50 and 91 to draw Dominic Dale in their held-over match.
The pair then made a best of three after The Rocket took the sixth frame. Fans were left sitting at the edge of their seats. The game could go down to the wire and could swing in any direction whatsoever. Who would proceed to the next round?
In interesting fashion, Dominic Dale snatched back his lead and needed one more frame to seal his victory. Ronnie O’Sullivan held on and fought back like a warrior, hoping to spoil Dale’s party, but Spaceman was already reaching for the finish line.
Dale maintaining a straight face, took the last frame to record his first-ever win against the Rocket. Dale had tried in nine previous meetings and had failed to conquer Ronnie. Putting things in perspective, it was his first win over the Rocket in as much as 27 years.
A thriller that one was! Fans were shocked, to say the least. An epic win for Dominic Dale
Fergal O’Brien will face Dominic Dale in the next round. O’Brien is backed at 2.16, while Dale is fancied at 1.68 to win the fixture.
Written by: Roland Arum