Ronnie beat Kyren Wilson by 10-9 in the final to become Champion of Champions for the third time. I’m not quite sure how to be honest but all the same …
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the ManBetX Champion of Champions for the third time by beating Kyren Wilson 10-9 in a dramatic final in Coventry.
Wilson came from 8-5 down to lead 9-8 and was just two pots away from victory in the 18th frame, but couldn’t get over the finish line, and O’Sullivan fought back to win with a trademark century in the decider.
World number three O’Sullivan previously won this title in 2013 and 2014 and has reached the final every time he has contested the event, having been runner-up in 2016 and 2017.
The 42-year-old collected the top prize of £100,000 as he won his second title of the season, following his victory in September’s Shanghai Masters. He has won 13 of the 14 matches he has played in the three tournaments he has contested so far this season, his only defeat coming against Mark Davis in the semi-finals of the English Open.
After losing the opening frame of today’s final, Chigwell’s O’Sullivan took five in a row with top breaks of 61, 94, 107 and 86. World number nine Wilson pulled two back with clearances of 42 and 86 then O’Sullivan made a 131 in the last frame of the opening session to lead 6-3.
Kettering’s Wilson took the first two of the evening session to close to 6-5, before O’Sullivan made a 94 in frame 12 and dominated the next to lead 8-5 at the interval.
Wilson, chasing his third title of the season having won the Paul Hunter Classic and Six Red World Championship, then played his best snooker of the match as runs of 56, 56, 104 and 65 gave him four frames in a row.
At 9-8, a break of 61 had him on the brink of glory when he overcut a tricky red to a top corner. O’Sullivan replied with 36 before running out of position and attempting an extremely risky cross-double on the last red. He missed his target but was fortunate to snooker his opponent, and from the chance that followed he cleared for 9-9.
Both players passed up chances early in the decider, and when an attempted double on a red went wrong for Wilson it proved his last shot, as O’Sullivan made a superb 110, his 11th century of the tournament.
In the evening session Ronnie seemed to be really struggling, both with his concentration and with his emotions. Maybe having Laila and her daughter Ines in the audience added to the pressure a bit. We got to see a glimpse of the “pre-Peters” Ronnie in frame 18 when he attempted a totally reckless cross double on the last red, with the extended cue and rest. It was totally the wrong shot and Ronnie was very lucky not to leave it, having missed it by a long way. He could – and probably should – have lost the match there and then. But, a reprieved man, he regained his focus after that, pinched that frame and managed to win the decider in style. Yes, he was lucky, but he still had to finish the job and he did.
Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those great pictures!
Thanks to the team that made the Champion of Champions 2018 the great event it was!