RONNIE O’Sullivan clinched the Welsh Open title in the best possible fashion as a sublime 147 maximum wrapped up a dominant 9-3 win over Ding Junhui.
Leading 7-1 from a one-sided opening session, majestic O’Sullivan completed the job in style with a maximum of such stunning quality and without the need of a mid-session interval.
The maximum was O’Sullivan’s 12th in his career – now breaking the record of eleven which was jointly held by the world champion and seven times world champion Stephen Hendry before the concluding fireworks were set alight in Newport.
The victory, which gifted O’Sullivan his third Welsh Open title after previous triumphs in 2004 and 2005, is an alarming note to the rest of the world given his dominance over Ding – a player who has enjoyed his best season yet having won four major titles and considered to be one of the world’s best.
With the World Championship approaching, O’Sullivan – in this form – will undoubtedly be a huge favourite to secure his third straight world crown at the Crucible in Sheffield following his dominance in the competition in 2012 and 2013 and his sixth in his career.
Trailing by a huge 7-1 deficit, it was always going to be a huge ask for Ding to turn it around but breaks of 109 and 121 certainly gave him a chance as he reduced his arrears to 7-3.
But O’Sullivan got back on track by dominating the eleventh frame before he wowed the Newport Centre crowd with a stunning range of shots in his 147 – one of them a superb left-handed screw shot on the final red to get back to the final black.
Doubts remain whether the Welsh Open will remain in Newport in future years to come with snooker bosses looking at a possible bigger venue to stage the event. But if O’Sullivan’s 147 break was to be the final chapter at the venue, then what a way to finish and close the book.