21 february 2021 publish date

Braun reached the first ranking final! SF Welsh Open 2021

Three years ago Jordan Brown was working in a petrol station, now he’s scored the biggest win of his career to beat Stephen Maguire 6-1 and make his first ever ranking event final at the BetVictor Welsh Open.

The Northern Irishman, who first turned professional in 2009, began his current stint on the World Snooker Tour in 2018 by coming through Q School.

However, world number 81 Brown was flirting with relegation from the circuit at the end of last season. Only a run to qualify for his maiden Crucible appearance at the World Championship spared him a return to Q School.

Victory for Brown this afternoon also comes with the added bonus of a place at next week’s Cazoo Players Championship, by securing his position in the top 16 of the one-year money list. Defeat for Tour Champion Maguire, who himself only needed to win today to clinch a spot, ends his hopes of qualifying.

Brown is enjoying the best form of his career, having reached a maiden ranking quarter-final just last month at the BildBet German Masters.

The Antrim cueman got off to a flyer this afternoon, firing in a sublime run of 135 to take the opener. However, Maguire immediately responded by stealing the second frame on the black to level at 1-1.

From there 33-year-old Brown dominated the remainder of the tie. He composed breaks of 56, 113 and 59 on his way to five frames on the bounce to secure his place in the final.

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Brown said: “Three years ago I was working in a petrol station and serving customers, getting up at 5:30 and 6:30 every morning. It is crazy to think of the journey that I have had. To be in a ranking tournament final is just incredible.

“It was very important to stamp my authority early. I showed Stevie that I was ready to play. The 135 break just settled me right down. I was pleased to carry it right through the whole match.

“I’ve been putting the hours in on the practice table. Maybe I was just going in to pot balls in the club before. It is more intense now and I am treating it more like a match occasion. That means something. It is easy to pot balls, but there is a lot more too it than that.

“It means everything to be in the Players Championship. All of the sacrifices and hard work have led me to this moment. It is very satisfying because I’ve always had the inner belief to compete with the top players. To be in the mix next week will be amazing.”

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan thrashed Mark Williams 6-1 to reach the BetVictor Welsh Open final at the Celtic Manor Resort.

O’Sullivan progresses to face world number 81 Jordan Brown tomorrow, who will be competing in a ranking final for the first time. They will meet over the best of 17 frames for the Ray Reardon Trophy and a top prize of £70,000.

The Rocket, who has won the Welsh Open on four occasions, is aiming for a record equalling fifth title tomorrow. That would see him draw level with Scotland’s John Higgins.

This evening’s encounter was the latest in a rivalry which extends back to 1992, when both players turned professional. The pair boast 59 ranking titles between them, with six-time Crucible king O’Sullivan having won 37 to Williams’ 22. O’Sullivan also holds a considerable advantage in the head-to-head, now leading 32-8.

Williams bows out with the consolation of a place in next week’s Cazoo Players Championship, which he secured by winning yesterday evening’s quarter-final with Tom Ford.

It was the Welshman that got off to the strongest start tonight. He composed a fine run of 73 to take the opener. O’Sullivan hit back immediately with a break of 103 to restore parity at 1-1.

Further breaks of 77 and 54 helped him to a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval. When they returned the pair battled out a tactical 21-minute fifth frame, with an error from Williams eventually allowing O’Sullivan to make 37 and move 4-1 ahead.

O’Sullivan then claimed the sixth, before a break of 69 saw him wrap up the comfortable 6-1 victory.

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“If you know you are going to get punched in the face, you know you have to have a better defence. He was capable of doing that, as I knew he was playing well and scoring well. I had to be on my guard. I played pretty solidly,” said 45-year-old O’Sullivan.

“It would be nice to win any tournament. The memories I had with Ray Reardon are far more important than any trophy, but it would be nice to pick the trophy up and say hi to Ray. I’m sure he will be watching at home.

“Jordan is a really good player. He has a good temperament and is a good match player. He’s done well against a lot of very good opponents. I’ve watched his matches in the past and he gave Selby a good game, that is always very difficult. I’m impressed with how he plays.”

The article is based on WST.TV