I hate backing favourites, I really do.
But I have to back and recommend Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Betvictor English Open which starts on Monday, live on Eurosport. Here’s why:
- This competition features a ‘best of seven’ format until the quarter finals (when it becomes ‘best of 9’, then 11 and finally 17) and ‘The Rocket’s’ 2017 record in ‘best of sevens’ is a remarkable 16 wins from 17 games played.
- Ronnie is the defending champion, winning this competition in 2017, the first of four ranking tournaments he won during the course of the season.
- We have seen O’Sullivan once this season, in the Shanghai Masters. It may have been a small-field invite only event but he dismantled Neil Robertson, gave Stuart Bingham lessons, bossed Kyren Wilson and always had the better of Barry Hawkins in the valuable final.
- Adding up all the ranking tournaments, former ranking and non-ranking tournaments O’Sullivan has played in the past two years, you’ll see O’Sullivan has been a beaten finalist five times and won seven times. It is a phenomenal record given he has played just 31 competitions. Additionally, he has been beaten in just one semi-final since February 2012.
- Positioned at the very top of the draw for this competition, his bracket is as soft as they come. Veterans Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Joe Swail and Matthew Stevens are amongst some very ordinary rivals so he should waltz his way to the ‘last eight’ stage.
- Selby is in the opposite end of the draw as is Mark Williams and he cannot face John Higgins until the semi-final … a reminder Ronnie does not get beat in semi-finals!
There’s 4/1 out there about ‘King Ronnie’ which is a great price about what I think is a strong favourite. Pile in!