Ronnie O’Sullivan has made amends with Hossein Vafaei after thrashing him 13-2 in Sheffield on Saturday. The Rocket advanced to the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship with a dominant performance against the 28-year-old qualifier. O’Sullivan started off strong, compiling a break of 78 in the very first frame to take the initiative. However, Vafaei opened the second frame with a rash pool-like break-off shot in retaliation to what O’Sullivan had done to him during last season’s German Masters qualifiers. This was a clear indication of an ongoing feud between the two players.
After Vafaei’s break-off shot, O’Sullivan responded with another 78 contribution, and thereafter it was one-way traffic as O’Sullivan steamrolled his way into the last eight. Although Vafaei managed to muster two frames in the opening exchanges, he was whitewashed in the second bout, with the reigning world champion sealing the humbling hiding with back-to-back tons.
Ronnie O’Sullivan` s take on this
Despite the history between the two players, the pair shared a warm embrace at the end of the match, putting an end to any hard feelings. “It was alright, it was alright. Yeah, I’m just pleased to be through,” said Ronnie O’Sullivan to Rob Walker soon after a triumph that sets up a last-eight encounter with Luca Brecel. “I’m pleased to be through, I’m loving playing. What more can I say, I’ve another match at the Crucible playing a phenomenal player.”
O’Sullivan was also full of praise for Luca Brecel, saying that he’s got an amazing talent and that he loves what Belgium snooker is doing with their players. When asked about the shenanigans involving Vafaei. O’Sullivan was dignified in his response. Saying that he has done something similar in the past with Stephen Hendry and he totally regretted it. He added that he was pumped up by somebody else to say it, and it wasn’t really what he would have said.
Vafaei took a different approach, saying that this sport needs characters and that it needs someone to say something; otherwise, it’s going to be very boring. “People come and don’t have any story to tell. At least people enjoyed it. I don’t care, win or lose, I lost to the greatest ever,” he said.
In other news, on the middle Saturday of the 2023 World Snooker Championship. Jak Jones produced arguably the result of the tournament so far with a 13-7 defeat of Neil Robertson. The Welshman controlled the affair from start to finish. He joins a long list of Welsh players who have performed strongly on their debut in the event. Jones matches the likes of Matthew Stevens, Jamie Jones, Michael White, and Lee Walker, who all reached the same quarter-final stage on their maiden Crucible appearance. Terry Griffiths, of course, went all the way to secure the title as a qualifier in 1979.
In conclusion, while the match between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Hossein Vafaei may have been billed as a grudge match. The two players were able to put their differences aside and embrace after the match. This is a clear indication that sportsmanship and respect are still alive in the game of snooker. The World Snooker Championship is always full of surprises, and Jak Jones’ victory over Neil Robertson. Is proof that anything can happen at the Crucible. As the tournament progresses, it will be interesting to see who will come out on top and lift the coveted trophy.