O'Sullivan Hong Kong Masters
Finals, Main News, Non-Ranking

Hong Kong Masters triumph for Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan has captured the Hong Kong Masters trophy with a 6-4 defeat of Marco Fu in Sunday’s final.

A world record crowd for a snooker match of around 9,000 people were in attendance at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

It was a remarkable occasion that presented the sport in a different dimension, and it was a fitting finale in which the world’s best ever player emerged victoriously.

The enormous crowd was of course cheering for their home hero in Fu, but plenty of them were still happy to be wowed by the seven-time world champion.

After a couple of mesmorising semi-final duels on Saturday in which Fu compiled a deciding-frame 147 break against John Higgins and O’Sullivan overcame Neil Robertson in a heavyweight battle, expectations were high for a gripping conclusion to the invitational tournament.

It lived up to the billing as O’Sullivan held off a spirited fight back from his underdog opponent to land the £100,000 top prize.

After the opening two frames were shared, the Englishman won three on the spin to establish a commanding 4-1 advantage.

Fu seemed to struggle with the pressure but finally found some scoring form to stop the rot in the sixth frame with a run of 98.

But O’Sullivan duly compiled a 105 century break in the next frame to add to his earlier contributions of 71, 59, and 52.

It looked as though he’d wrap up the success in the eighth frame but a missed pink offered Fu a reprieve, and after clearing the table the latter also took a scrappy ninth frame to trail by just one.

However, O’Sullivan got in first in the tenth frame and, with pink and black out of commission, conjured a majestic break of 114 featuring mostly blue balls to seal the Hong Kong Masters success.

The glory represents the world number one’s first since claiming a record-equalling seventh world title at the Crucible Theatre in May.

He struggled recently in his first couple of appearances this season at the World Mixed Doubles and the British Open in Milton Keynes.

Yet O’Sullivan inevitably raises his level in these kinds of events, where there’s a small but elite field and significant prize money on offer.

That the 46 year-old was able to strut his stuff in front of such an astonishing attendance will have been an added bonus for him, such is his eagerness to entertain.

Overall it was a positive event that took snooker back to Asia for the first time since before the pandemic.

The tremendous ticket sales certainly highlighted that interest in the game in that part of the world remains as high as ever.

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Jay Brannon

    Quite remarkable to see a snooker event resemble a big indoor tennis event or a Premier League darts night. The atmosphere sounded electric, although I was watching through a Chinese website so did mute the sound a lot as couldn’t understand the commentary.

    My only concern is that crowds like this only add further fuel to the tiresome debate of the World Championship leaving the Crucible. The World Championship should stay put as a great atmosphere is feasible regardless of whether it’s 900 or 9000. I would also wonder how good a view it was for those further back in the Coliseum.

    We know the interest is huge in Asia but Chinese events can sometimes look poorly attended. This can only be down to ticket pricing, surely.

    Fu is the third player after Hendry and O’Sullivan to record a 147 in a final frame decider.

    • What helped enable such huge support was that last week was a public holiday in China (“Golden Week” – a combination of various national day celebrations). Plus the fact that Hong Kong has been starved of large-scale events for a long time due to covid. My friends in HK were extremely enthusiastic about the event, and the big-screens above the table worked well, something I was a bit doubtful about.

      But yes, your concerns are well-founded. Venues like Alexandra Palace and the Hong Kong Coliseum do make a stark difference from the 1970’s-style Crucible, in so much as it provides us a glimpse of what snooker could be like with imagination, vision and above all courage. However, I don’t think stadium snooker would scale up to the World Championship, spread over a couple of weeks – it just wouldn’t have the required impact. But we could certainly have more magnificent events such as the Hong Kong Masters.

      Nevertheless, we should be talking about all aspects of snooker’s future. As we emerge the pandemic, we are at a critical crossroads. Players like the great Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be around for so many more years, and the game needs to become more global and inclusive. This is not the time to stifle debate.

  2. Tunnel Rush

    We should be talking about all aspects of snooker’s future.

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