Ronnie O'Sullivan assesses Nigel Bond's 'miracle' UK Championship run
Nigel Bond suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the UK Championship quarter-finals on Friday night but Ronnie O’Sullivan believes he will be thoroughly content after a ‘miracle’ run to the last eight.
The 54-year-old had shown precious little form coming into the event and ranked number 98 in the world, but produced a string of shock results to reach the quarter-finals, beating Luca Brecel, Louis Heathcote, Judd Trump and Gary Wilson en route.
It looked like the fairytale story was going to have another chapter as he went 3-1 ahead of Mark Allen in the quarters, with the match eventually going to a deciding frame.
Bond could not get over the line as the Pistol made a break of 69 in the 11th frame to seal his spot in the semis in a late finish at the Barbican Centre.
The veteran, who first turned pro in 1989, pockets £24,500 for his efforts, his biggest prize since winning the Shootout in 2011, and the Rocket thinks the disappointment of the loss will soon fade.
‘Nigel will be ecstatic just to have been out there,’ O’Sullivan said on Eurosport. ‘He’s a World Championship finalist, won a ranking tournament before, he’s experienced at being at that stage of a tournament, so for him, he was just relishing every moment of it.
‘Yeah, he’d have been a bit disappointed not to win, but he’ll have realised at 54 it was a bit of a miracle he got this far, considering he had to play someone like Judd Trump in the early part of the tournament.
‘He’d have never expected to win that match.
‘He must be looking at this tournament thinking “I can have a nice Christmas, takes a bit of pressure off, got a nice little cheque in the bank to look forward to, happy days!”
1992 UK champions Jimmy White, who lost to Allen in the first round this year, says that Bond’s run is a bit of inspiration for the other older statesmen on tour.
‘A few of those matches, apart from Trump, he did struggle but he played really well against Mark Allen,’ said the Whirlwind.
‘He played really well against Mark Allen, deserved to be 3-1 up. He’s got to be really proud of his achievement and he gives us all a bit of hope.’
Allen takes on Stephen Maguire in the semi-finals on Saturday evening after Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao contest the first semi in the afternoon session.
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