Ronnie O’Sullivan has a blast as Stephen Hendry's downed
Seven-time world champion Hendry has gone five years without a ranking title, and the wait goes on after he failed to punish O'Sullivan for some careless play, losing 3-1 at the SECC tournament venue by the River Clyde.
“Stephen of old would have trounced me today,” O'Sullivan admitted afterwards. “I'm just hacking it around a bit.”
The match began with a terrific break from each player, O'Sullivan's 93 to take the opening frame followed by 95 from Hendry to level matters. But there followed a deterioration in standards, with O'Sullivan sneaking a scrappy third frame in which neither man convinced at the table. Both men played wayward shots until a break of 25 from O'Sullivan put the frame away.
After four reds and blacks at the start of the fourth frame, O'Sullivan ignored the possibility of a 147 by playing for the green off the next red, his mission to reach the last eight rather than make a daring bid for the 11th maximum of his career, and second of the week.
Hendry had played a poor break-off shot, running into the blue, and O'Sullivan raced to 66 before missing a routine red with the rest. Hendry returned to the table with 75 points still on. Ten years ago he might have cleared up, however on this occasion the break ground to a halt on 23.
“Stephen in his prime would have 'dished up' there,” O'Sullivan said.
O'Sullivan then had a lucky break when he looked like leaving a red on for Hendry but left the Scot hampered by the brown. Hendry attempted a tricky pot, missed it and left O'Sullivan with a red to middle, and the match was soon over.