Ronnie O’Sullivan is the Champion of Champions for the third time after a rollercoaster 10-9 victory over Kyren Wilson in Sunday’s final in Coventry.
The world number three, who previously won the title in 2013 and 2014 before finishing runner-up in both of the last two editions at the Ricoh Arena, almost suffered a monumental collapse but rode his luck to snatch the triumph at the death.
After losing the opening frame to a break of 50 from his opponent, O’Sullivan reeled off runs of 61, 94, 107, and 86 in quick fashion to establish a 4-1 advantage and suggest that a seemingly one-sided affair was in store.
When the “Rocket” pinched the next frame on the black, Wilson knew that he would be behind at the end of the first session but the Kettering cueist did well to take two out of the next three frames to trail only 6-3 after the afternoon’s play.
Neither player settled properly upon the game’s resumption but Wilson took advantage of O’Sullivan’s failure to keep his foot on the gas by winning the first two frames to narrow the gap to just one.
A timely 94 helped to compose O’Sullivan and he extended his cushion back to three frames by taking the last before the final mid-session interval.
From there, not many would have given Wilson much of a chance but the 26 year-old has demonstrated on numerous occasions already the terrific temperament that he possesses and it showed as he launched an unlikely comeback.
Four frames on the bounce, which included stealing a crucial 15th frame on the black and a subsequent 104 century knock, overturned the deficit and brought Wilson to the brink of glory at 9-8 in front.
Indeed, it looked like the Paul Hunter Classic champion was going to complete the job only to break down on 61 in the penultimate frame when the winning line was in touching distance.
O’Sullivan, getting visibly more and more frustrated, required two opportunities and a huge slice of fortune when he luckily snookered Wilson after a reckless attempt at a double, but ultimately was able to force the decider.
In the final frame, the snooker gods went against Wilson once more as he inadvertently potted a red along with the black after breaking open the pack, and O’Sullivan duly produced his third century of the clash to prevail in the thriller.
It was huge disappointment for Wilson, who came a great deal closer to success against the favourite compared to when they first encountered each other in a final at the English Open just over a year ago.
Yet, that will be scant consolation as he is left to reflect on a missed chance to beat arguably the best player who has ever played the game on such a high-profile occasion.
O’Sullivan, at times, didn’t perform like the most gifted talent of all-time and was just a few pots away from making it a hat-trick of final failures in Coventry, rather than successes.
The former world number one got the job done in the end, though, and the fact that he emerged with the trophy despite not playing at his best is a reflection of why he possesses as much silverware as he does.
It adds to the revamped Shanghai Masters title that he superbly claimed in September and prolongs a general dominance in these kinds of tournaments that consist of only the elite in the field.
— ChampionofChampions (@ChampOfChamps) November 11, 2018