RONNIE O’Sullivan was crowned the first ever winner of the champion of champions event after he earned a hard-fought victory over Stuart Bingham.
In a topsy-turvey match, which saw the lead change hands more than half a dozen times, reigning world champion O’Sullivan dug deep when it mattered to claim a 10-8 and the £100,000 top prize.
Despite not being at his fluent best tonight, O’Sullivan managed to hold an impressive Bingham when it mattered, winning the final two frames to take the title at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Bingham, who reached the final after beating Mark Selby on Saturday, knew a good start was vital in order to compete with a player of five-times world champion O’Sullivan’s calibre.
And he could not have asked for a better start as a break of 109 earned him the first frame.
A break of 66 helped O’Sullivan level matters before he edged the third to take the lead for the first time.
But O’Sullivan was pegged back in the next frame when a brilliant pot on the final brown to the baulk pocket helped draw Bingham level.
After the mid-session interval Bingham regained the advantage with a break of 72 and another break of over 50 increased his lead to 4-2.
O’Sullivan reduced his deficit to 4-3 with a break of 76 before Bingham went two clear again with another break of 109.
But a sublime 130 from O’Sullivan kept him right in the match going into the evening session at just 5-4 behind.
The Rocket continued where he left off at the start of the evening session as a break of 93 levelled the contest before he then won a scrappy eleventh frame to lead 6-5.
Tension began to get the better of both players as they often missed pots of straight forward ease. But two edgy frames saw Bingham move ahead at 7-6 before breaks of 62 and 96 turned the match back O’Sullivan’s way at 8-7.
Bingham then moved level with runs of 38 and 66. But O’Sullivan closed out the game winning the next two frames.