Elliot Slessor caused a sensation on Thursday afternoon as he knocked Ronnie O’Sullivan out of the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
The 23 year-old took the game to the “Rocket”, who had been an overwhelming favourite to prolong his quest to capture all four Home Nations series crowns and, with it, the chance to pocket an incredible one million pound bonus.
O’Sullivan was really the only player that most people thought could have a chance at the unlikely feat so the hype was suitably magnified after his English Open glory in October.
A run to the final of the Champion of Champions in Coventry and a second ranking title triumph in the Shanghai Masters last week suggested the 41 year-old could continue his run at the Waterfront Hall.
After two early victories it seemed as though that might be the case but Slessor never looked phased by playing the former world number one.
At 2-1 down, O’Sullivan shockingly missed a routine black off the spot that would have probably changed the entire shape of the fixture, but in truth he was nowhere near deserving of a victory against his fellow Englishman, who potted some superb pressure balls to finally seal the 4-1 win.
It’s perhaps fitting that O’Sullivan’s streak ends at the hands of a player ranked outside the top 64 in the world and maybe one who the five-time world champion had been so quick to label a “numpty” in his supposedly tongue-in-cheek references from the last few weeks.
O’Sullivan, in fairness to him, looked jaded as potentially the long hours of playing time and travel from the last month ultimately caught up with him, but his attention can now turn to the lucrative UK Championship in York next week.
Slessor, meanwhile, will be hoping to use this momentous victory as a springboard for further success in the tournament as he marches on into the last 16.
Live coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest.