Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed his fourth World Snooker championship in magnificent style with an emphatic 18-11 victory over Ali Carter at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. The win, which featured 3 century breaks, including a majestic 141, epitomised the “Rocket’s” glorious form throughout the tournament which saw him dash the hopes of former World champions Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson before defeating Matthew Stevens in the semi-finals to set up the showdown with Carter.
The opening session saw O’Sullivan take a 5-3 lead, in which he notched up two century breaks as well as a break of 92, with the 141 break in the 8th frame restoring a two-frame cushion.
His opponent, Carter, who lost out to O’Sullivan 18-8 in the final four years ago spent much of the kept himself in the match to stay in touch with the Rocket after his quicksilver start. Trailing 10-6 going into the last frame of the second session, he fluked a red, which wobbled out and across the bottom cushion into the opposite corner to make it 10-7 overnight and give himself a chance for the second day.
However, O’Sullivan started Monday’s play in a merciless mood taking the first four frames to take an almost unassailable 14-7 lead. With an under-pressure Carter missing pots to hand O’Sullivan chances, the match threatened to follow a similar scoreline to their 2008 meeting, with the possibility of the match being over before the evening session looking distinctly possibile.
The mid-session interval seemed to relax Carter however, as the ‘Captain’ took the next three frames, making his first century break in the process, to not only guarantee a final session, but put himself back in with a faint chance of producing a memorable comeback. However, a well-taken 64 from the ‘Rocket’ in the 25th halted the run and restored O’Sullivan’s lead back to five frames, with the players going into the final session at 15-10.
Needing only three more for victory, O’Sullivan quickly took the first frame of the evening with a break of 70. Carter pulled one back to make it 16-11 but there was to be no considerable hint of a comeback this time with O’Sullivan taking the next frame. After missing one opportunity in the 29th, he made no mistake second time round as he kept his composure to make the frame-winning break to wrap up the win and condemn Carter to his second World Championship final defeat.
Poignant scenes followed as O’Sullivan was awarded the trophy with his four-year old son, Ronnie Junior in his arms. Following well-documented difficult times for the ‘Rocket’ in recent years, his dazzling performances over the past fortnight has marked the welcome return of snooker’s genius at his best. Following hints of possible retirement following the final, O’Sullivan stated his desire to take six months away from the game to spend time with his family. After this latest snooker masterclass and a seemingly more relaxed and positive attitude , the ‘Rocket’ may be staying at the top for some time to come.
Featured image: mirror.co.uk