Ronnie O’Sullivan tips 30-year-old for rapid rise up the rankings

Jak Jones has caught the eye of the world number one (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been very impressed with Jak Jones, tipping the Welshman to pick up silverware and enjoy a significant rise up the world rankings.

The Rocket is not playing at the Welsh Open this week but has been on punditry duty for Eurosport, watching the action closely in Llandudno.

The world number one had an eye on Jones as he impressively beat Hossein Vafaei 4-2 in the last 32, tipping the 30-year-old for a good few years ahead.

Jones made his World Championship debut last year and beat Neil Robertson to reach the quarter-finals and while he hasn’t quite kicked on from there, the Rocket reckons the world number 43 will.

‘I really rate Jak Jones, I think he’s a fantastic player, a little bit like Ali Carter, just good at everything. Very composed as well,’ said O’Sullivan.

‘Out of all the wildcards, the ones that people don’t usually fancy I’ve gone for Jak Jones. I think he will win a tournament one day.’

‌O’Sullivan played Jones at this season’s International Championship and was pushed hard in a 6-4 win, with the Welshman making breaks of 130, 83, 77 and 53.

‘He was one of my toughest matches this season,’ said the seven-time world champion. ‘I played him in China, I was playing well and he had the better of me. I eventually won the match bt it was the first time I played him and I thought, “I like this guy. I really, really like this guy.”

2024 Spreadex World Grand Prix - Day 6

Ronnie O’Sullivan likes what he sees from Jak Jones (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I don’t want to put the mockers on him, but the way he’s playing, the way he played at the World Championships, I’ve experienced playing him, watching him up close today.

‘He’s growing, he’s getting that confidence. He’s a definite top 16 player. Once he wins one I think he’ll win a few because he’s a bit of an in his shell type of guy, he’s not balshy. Once he wins one he’ll want some more.’

Whether it was the Rocket putting the mockers on him or not, Jones returned to play his last 16 match on Thursday evening and was beaten 4-0 by veteran Dominic Dale.

The 52-year-old had a great day in Wales, also beating teenage talent Stan Moody in the afternoon session, with the two victories securing a quarter-final spot.

Moody is one of the brightest young talents in the game, but struggled to find anything like his best form against Dale, with O’Sullivan saying he must learn to deal with different types of pressure.

Stan Moody had two good wins before struggling against Dominic Dale (Picture: ZHAI Zheng)

‘It’s tough to judge someone on one performance, but when you’re looking at any player, you’re thinking there’s pressure, but there’s different types of pressure,’ he said.

‘He’s come in under the radar, young, nothing to lose…lovely. Then when he’s on the match table expected to win, that’s different types of pressure. Some players are good front-runners, you’ve got to be able to play under pressure.

‘There’s not one type of pressure and if you can’t handle all types eventually you’re going to get found out. I think that’s what happened with him today.

‘I think he just froze. He just looked scared, he didn’t look like he…some of the pots he got up, you think he’s composing himself, but then he missed it. It’s ok getting up and then potting it, you think he’s just getting himself set and ready, but then he misses it and you think, is there something else niggling away at him?’

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