Ronnie O’Sullivan holds off Judd Trump fightback to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of SEVEN World Snooker Championship titles and become the oldest champion in Crucible history
- Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Judd Trump 18-13 to win his seventh World Championship
- A record-breaking 109th century of the tournament was not enough for Trump
- O’Sullivan enjoyed a final break of 85 to equal Stephen Hendry’s Crucible record
- The 46-year-old broke the championship age record set by Ray Reardon in 1978
Ronnie O’Sullivan held off Judd Trump’s stirring comeback to win a record-equalling seventh World Snooker Championship to cement his status as the greatest player the game has ever seen.
O’Sullivan pulled level with Stephen Hendry’s Crucible crowns after bossing last night’s final session to win an undulating, gripping match 18-13.
The 46-year-old has dominated and transcended the sport for over two decades. This triumph adds to world titles won in in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020. He also has seven Masters titles and seven UK Championships to boot.
Snooker icon Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Judd Trump to win a record-equalling seventh world title
O’Sullivan, who is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time, pulled level with Stephen Hendry’s Crucible crowns and is the oldest person to ever win a World Championship at 46
The 46-year-old gave Trump a huge hug immediately after the final frame at the Crucible
This triumph adds to world titles won in in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2020
Once again, he played down the significance of matching Hendry. ‘I’m never bothered about records,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC.
‘I just try to enjoy what I do and work hard at my game. This 17 days the snooker gods were on my side.’ After victory, he embraced Trump for over a minute and then hugged his children Lily and Ronnie Jr.
He paid tribute to his opponent, saying: ‘As far as I’m concerned this fella is already an all-time great.
‘That’s probably the greatest result I’ve ever had against someone like Judd.’ Finals do not always live up to their billing. After a high-quality opening session, which featured a ruckus with the Belgian referee, O’Sullivan’s Saturday night dominance threatened to turn this into a walkover.
But an inspired afternoon session from Trump changed all that. He roared back from 12-5 down and headed into the final session only three frames adrift at 14-11.
O’Sullivan hugs his children Lily (right) and Ronnie Jr (left) before receiving the trophy
‘I was happy to make a match out of it this afternoon,’ said Trump. ‘It was a joy for me to be out there playing. I’m just enjoying my snooker again.
‘I think I was wrong when I said it should move from here – it definitely should stay at the Crucible,’ he added.’ Wobbles and misfortune are expected in sport. The response to them is what matters.
After a conversation with Dr Steve Peters, O’Sullivan was back in champion mode when he returned yesterday evening.
With the cue ball at his mercy, he won the opening two frames with breaks of 82 and 88. Hawkish and harrying, referee Olivier Marteel could not replace the balls fast enough for his snooker brain and body.
Trump counterpunched, snatching the next at one visit. But his decision to attempt a double on a red when safety was the better option cost him dear. O’Sullivan rattled off a 75 break and skipped into the mid-session interval a frame away from history.
O’Sullivan capitalised upon a series of misses by Trump on a run of seven frames out of nine
Trump made it 13-10 at one point but O’Sullivan took the first two evening frames in his victory
Trump delayed the inevitable with a century in the 30th frame – a record 109th for the tournament – but O’Sullivan ensured immortality with a break of 85.
Earlier in the day, the crowd in the claustrophobic arena were conflicted. They were here to see a contest, but most were boisterously behind O’Sullivan.
Backstage, there were whispers of Dennis Taylor and the greatest Crucible comeback of all, with the Northern Irishman beating Steve Davis in 1985 after roaring back from 8-0 down.
For that to happen, Trump needed to win the session’s first frame. After entering to a cacophonous din, he did so for the third time of the final. And it came in style – a 107 break, his first century of the final.
Energised and newly confident, Trump won the session 6-2. It was the first O’Sullivan had lost in the tournament.
An emotional O’Sullivan reacts after winning his seventh world title on Monday night
A teary-eyed O’Sullivan wipes his face as he takes in his monumental achievement
All of this was punctuated by the usual tics and twitches from O’Sullivan, who this year has added asking the referee to clean balls and adjusting his underpants to his repertoire.
Fastidiously sweeping the table, grimacing and chalking his cue, he is a compelling watch on and off the table.
Trump is altogether less animated but no less fascinating. The pair have been the dominant players at the Crucible in the last four years. Trump has won 203 frames in that spell to O’Sullivan’s 172. They lead the likes of Mark Selby (166), John Higgins (147) and Mark Williams (130).
The sporting world will hope this final is not their last. With the chance for O’Sullivan to overtake Hendry – and Trump’s determination to win multiple titles to his 2019 triumph – do not rule it out.
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