The final of the Welsh Open takes place at the Celtic Manor Resort on Sunday when the outsider Jordan Brown takes on the world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan for the Ray Reardon Trophy on what could be a special day of snooker.
This is the first time Brown has been in the final of a ranking event so it is the biggest day of his career, while O’Sullivan goes after a first title of the campaign ahead of another big event next week as he builds up to the defence of his world crown.
It has already been a breakthrough week for the Northern Irish star Jordan Brown. He has already achieved so much. Not only has he made it through to the first ranking event final of his career but he has qualified for the Players Championship next week and in turn secured his survival on the tour. He can now relax a little, give this final a good go and then concentrate on climbing the rankings and achieving what he wants to in his career.
Brown has lived a charmed life at times this week but that certainly wasn’t the case in the semi-final where he started off his match against Stephen Maguire with a 135 break and he added another century on his way to an emphatic 6-1 win. If he was nervous and knew the magnitude of the occasion he certainly kept it well hidden. The task for him now is to repeat that in this final, although that will not be easy.
He may have played a match less than normal in getting to this final but Ronnie O’Sullivan has got here for the loss of just two frames. That statistic in itself highlights how well he has played this week. You get the feeling O’Sullivan knows where he stands in the snooker world at the minute in that Judd Trump is the top dog and when he departs the Rocket clicks into top gear. He did that at the World Championship and he has done it again here.
In many ways O’Sullivan’s biggest challenger in this match is himself. If he can make sure he plays to the standard he has been playing at this week then you would think it is going to be very hard for him to be beaten. If he drops below the levels he has set himself then he could become vulnerable and things might get much trickier than most judges would expect them to be. O’Sullivan seems content this week which is often half the battle.
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Head to Head
This is the first time these two men will have crossed paths in their career so there is no historical edge on either side other than the experience one, which is clearly in the favour of O’Sullivan.
You always hope that a final will be close but I just don’t see how this one is going to be. In the last three years or so Ronnie O’Sullivan has won finals against Kyren Wilson 9-2, Judd Trump 10-3, Shaun Murphy 10-5, Ding Junhui 10-3, Murphy again 10-4, Mark Allen 10-6, Neil Robertson 10-4 and of course last year 18-8 in the world final against Wilson. The point of that is when he wins finals top level players haven’t got close to him.
It is hard to see how Jordan Brown, a player outside the top 64 on the tour going into this tournament and in his first final of any kind here, gets close to O’Sullivan unless he gets a lot of help but the fact is you rarely do get help from the Rocket at this stage of a tournament, least of all when he has looked so imperious in the early rounds. Everything we’ve seen this week suggests that Brown may not even make it to four frames let alone surpass that number.
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