2023 UK Championship
Finals, Main News, Ranking

Record man Ronnie O’Sullivan wins 2023 UK Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan, the greatest¬†snooker player of all time, has won the UK Championship for a record-extending eighth time after his 10-7 victory over Ding Junhui in the 2023 final.

In the 30th anniversary since his first UK Championship victory, he is now not only the youngest Triple Crown winner, but the oldest, two days shy of his 48th birthday. 

Both players shared their great appreciation for each other, with O’Sullivan adding how much he still enjoys competing.

“Each tournament I win, I take great pleasure in,” Ronnie O’Sullivan, who also won this season’s Shanghai Masters, said afterwards.

“Tonight I just had to come out with a good head – I thought, if I’m going to lose, make Ding earn it.”

“There was a big crowd and everyone was watching so I wanted to leave blood, sweat, and tears on the table if I didn’t win.

“I gave it my all, I love competing, and I loved competing with Ding tonight.”

After several simple pots were missed by Ding in the first three frames, it looked like O’Sullivan would coast to the winning line.

Two breaks of 71 and a further 91, though, were countered by a strong 89 from Ding to hold on at 3-1 as the players went to the mid-session interval.

Play resumed with the Rocket re-establishing a three-frame buffer, but after a foul using the rest on top of the spider in the sixth frame, the wind began to change.

The Dragon began to breathe fire, and he secured the final three frames of the session to make it 4-4, scoring 241 points without reply including a break of 114.

The 2023 UK Championship finale resumed in the evening, with the players coming out to a feverish crowd at The Barbican in York who had no idea which way the match was going to go.

A clearly focused world number one picked up his pace around the table, taking a 7-5 lead before the final mid-session interval.

With breaks of 84, 87, and 79, O’Sullivan was finding the match rhythm he had discussed & sought all week, quickly giving up on snookers required in the one frame his opponent won.

The Chinese sensation, with no doubt tens of millions watching in the middle of the night back home, retaliated immediately with two sharp frames – including with a century to make it 7-7.

But that ton clearly poked the bear that is Ronnie O’Sullivan, as he reeled off three frames in rapid fashion with breaks of 100, 74, and 129 in the last to secure a 10-7 victory, and continue his astonishing career’s tally of wins.

Ding Junhui will surely be disappointed, but he should take home with him a lot of positives from his seven matches in the last two weeks.

Considering he almost pulled out of the tournament before his last-32 encounter with Mark Allen citing ill health, and the true grit he showed in some very tight matches, he has secured a place back in the top 16 where he belongs.

This, of course, gives him a place in January’s Masters at Ally Pally, where his first-round match will be against? Ronnie O’Sullivan.

As for the latter Рwho now boasts 40 ranking titles and 22 Triple Crown victories Рwho knows how many more the 2023 UK Championship winner can add?

For a player who says he hates talking about his numbers & statistics, it’s up to the rest of us to wonder in awe at the Rocket’s further brilliance in the toughest of sports.


2023 UK Championship draw and results

Last 32 (bo11)

Mark Allen (1) 5-6 Ding Junhui
Tom Ford (16) 6-5 Noppon Saengkham
Mark Williams (9) 6-4 Fan Zhengyi
Kyren Wilson (8) 5-6 Jamie Clarke

Mark Selby (5) 6-0 Mark Joyce
Barry Hawkins (12) 6-4 Ben Woollaston
Jack Lisowski (13) 4-6 Jamie Jones
Judd Trump (4) 6-1 Pang Junxu

Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-2 Anthony McGill
Robert Milkins (14) 6-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
John Higgins (11) 6-3 Joe O’Connor
Neil Robertson (6) 2-6 Zhou Yuelong

Shaun Murphy (7) 4-6 Hossein Vafaei
Ali Carter (10) 3-6 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda (15) 6-5 Elliot Slessor
Luca Brecel (2) 6-4 Yuan Sijun

Last 16 (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-3 Tom Ford (16)
Mark Williams (9) 6-4 Jamie Clarke
Mark Selby (5) 6-5 Barry Hawkins (12)
Jamie Jones 0-6 Judd Trump (4)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-5 Robert Milkins (14)
John Higgins (11) 3-6 Zhou Yuelong
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda (15) 6-4 Luca Brecel (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-5 Mark Williams (9)
Mark Selby (5) 3-6 Judd Trump (4)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-5 Zhou Yuelong
Hossein Vafaei 6-4 Zhang Anda (15)

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ding Junhui 6-4 Judd Trump (4)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-2 Hossein Vafaei

Final (bo19)

Ding Junhui 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (3)

Featured photo credit: WST

5 Comments

  1. It was vintage O’Sullivan during the last session. To reel of two tons and 70 in that style when the pressure is on underlines why he’s the most talented and successful player we’ve ever seen. He had at least a 70 in every frame he won today. It’s the best I’ve seen him play for some time.

    He’s now secured the number one slot for this calendar year and guaranteed his presence in four ITV events in 2024.

    A cracking final to round off a truly great edition of the UK Championship. We saw high quality play, nine deciders, excellent crowds and very few one-sided matches. To say the Shootout is after The Lord Mayor’s Show is an understatement.

    The toughest of sports is a bold claim. On the mental side I’d agree though, as plenty of time to fester on bad play during a game unlike other sports.

  2. Jay Brannon

    One correction: Ronnie had at least a 70 in all but one frame he won. That’s a hugely impressive tally over a best of 19.

    Judd Trump’s win over Mark Selby was his 1,000th win as a pro. He’s the fifth player after John Higgins (1264), Mark Williams (1153), Ronnie O’Sullivan (1119) and Mark Selby (1030) to reach this milestone.

    O’Sullivan has also become the first player to chalk up 100 match wins in a Triple Crown event.

  3. Daniel White

    Ronnie O’Sullivan strengthens his status as the greatest of his sport and boosts his world ranking points to bolster his world number 1 ranking status. Well played in the final, with a brief blip midway through which has been a common pattern for O’Sullivan in this UK Championship.
    Ding grew through the match from timid and error prone to be playing well enough to win the title but this just provoked a rocket O’Sullivan retort.

  4. Great report as usual. Although I’ve been following all the snooker matches for a couple of years now, my understanding of the 17 days at the Crucible still needs some explanation. Anyone out there in the snooker world willing to explain to me how the Crucible event differs so much from the normal ranking event.

    • Jay brannon

      The World Championship has much longer matches, beginning with best of 19 and culminating in a best of 35 final. The opening round takes place over the first six days. On day six the second round (best of 25) begins and the ends on day 10. Quarter-final matches are also best of 25 contests played on day 11 and day 12. The semi-final stage is from day 13-15 and is when the one table setup commences. They’re are best of 33. The final is over the last two days.

      This is much different from other ranking events where generally the final is the only multi-session match of the tournament. The Tour Championship has two session matches every day but never longer than best of 19.

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