Joe Perry, the Chatteris cueman, delivered an excellent semi-final performance in the Welsh Open last night (February 20), but he couldn’t make in-form ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan misfire.
Perry started the semi-final as a huge underdog, but he had the consolation of becoming the first player in the tournament to take more than a frame from the imperious O’Sullivan who has now won his last 18 competitive matches.
Perry also produced a superb 139 clearance to level the match at 1-1, but O’Sullivan was never headed as he eased to a 6-3 success.
Perry had chances in the opening frame, but when he missed the penultimate red his opponent stepped in with a 41 clearance to snatch it. The players then had to take an unscheduled interval due to a technical problem backstage which prevented television broadcast of the early stages.
Once the cameras were rolling, Perry warmed up with an excellent 139 total clearance to level at 1-1. O’Sullivan regained the lead with a 124 then Perry squared the tie with a run of 92. But the Cambridgeshire player could do little against a barrage of high scoring after the interval as O’Sullivan fired in 101, 94 and 88 to go 5-2 ahead.
O’Sullivan might have wrapped up the match in the next, but missed a tough third-last red along a side cushion at 29-56 and Perry capitalised to pull one back. And he had a chance in the next but ran out of position on 24 and had to play safe. That proved his last shot as O’Sullivan cracked in a long red and cleared with 78.
Perry won £20k for his efforts. O’Sullivan plays Aussie Neil Robertson in today’s final (February 21).
Perry is next in action in the Gdynia Open in Poland which starts on Tuesday (February 23).