How Ronnie O’Sullivan’s advice helped Liang Wenbo take the next step

Liang Wenbo: Ronnie OSullivans practice partner earned his first ranking tournament win last week. (Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire)
Liang Wenbo: Ronnie OSullivans practice partner earned his first ranking tournament win last week. (Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire)
0
Have your say

Liang Wenbo used the pain of losing in last year’s final of the Betway UK Championship to finally join snooker’s elite.

Twelve months ago, Wenbo lost to Neil Robertson 10-5 in the UK final at the Barbican at York, having edged out Leeds potter David Grace in the semi-final.

But he is back in North Yorkshire next month, as the UK Championship starts on November 22, and arrives as the newly-crowned Coral English Open champion.

The 29-year-old beat Judd Trump 9-6 in Manchester last Sunday to become only the fourth Asian player to win a ranking title after James Wattana, Sheffield-based Ding Junhui and Marco Fu.

And he revealed it was a pep talk from snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan – the pair train together in Essex – which helped him clinch his maiden world ranking title and climb to No 12 in the world. Five-time world champion O’Sullivan urged Wenbo to use his experience of defeat in York last year to fend off the challenge of Trump.

The Chinese potter was 7-4 up, only for Bristolian Trump to claw his back to 7-6, and it needed a superb 62 clearance for Wenbo – who has now qualified for next month’s Champion of Champions tournament in Coventry – to prevent the match being all-square. He then held his nerve to clinch victory and bank a £70,000 winner’s cheque.

“Judd put me under pressure but to go 8-6 ahead gave me more confidence,” said Wenbo.

“I have to say thank you to Ronnie because I practise with him every day. I have learned a lot from him over the past two years and he’s my best friend.

“He told me to look back at my UK Championship final last year and see what I could learn from it. I knew I needed to be more calm and controlled this time.Snooker is a very difficult game but if you don’t enjoy it you don’t play well. I’m going to forget about this victory now and move on to the next one. I always learn from every experience.”

Victory in Manchester means Wenbo is now the only player left in contention for the £1m bonus on offer for winning all four Home Nations events this season.

The Betway UK Championship runs from November 22 to December 4 at the York Barbican. Tickets start at £7. Call 0844 854 2757 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets