RONNIE O’SULLIVAN reigned supreme in Wales once again after he delivered an awesome comeback over Neil Robertson to clinch his fourth Welsh Open title.
The five-times world champion secured his latest triumph in emphatic style winning seven frames on the bounce and making a total clearance of 141 to wrap up a 9-5 win against the Australian.
O’Sullivan, who once trailed today’s final 5-2, made record equaling history after joining John Higgins to win the ranking event for a fourth time. No other player in the game has won the event more times.
He also joined Higgins and six-times world champion Steve Davis in notching up his 28th career major ranking title.
After winning the Masters last month, O’Sullivan has continued his brilliant form throughout the week making many century breaks in the process and beating opponents with relative ease.
In this form he will be a major favourite to win this year’s World Championship which gets underway in April at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
O’SULLIVAN’S WELSH OPEN TRIUMPHS
2004 – beat Steve Davis 9-8, 2005 – beat Stephen Hendry 9-8, 2014 – beat Ding Junhui 9-3, 2016 – beat Neil Robertson 9-5
Things did not go all his way in today’s final as Robertson, chasing his second Welsh Open title, made a strong start gaining leads of 3-1 and 5-2 during the first session.
But O’Sullivan won an important eight frame in the afternoon to keep him in contention against the world number three before pulling off an onslaught in the evening.
However Robertson will wonder ‘what if’ after throwing away several great chances in the first few frames of the evening session as O’Sullivan wiped out his interval lead in punishing style before claiming his hands on the trophy and the £60,000 winning cheque.
Leading 5-3 at the halfway stage, Robertson had the first scoring opportunity of the evening session but to many people’s surprise missed a red to the centre pocket ending a break of 39. O’Sullivan responded with a 57 break before dishing the colours to reduce his deficit to 5-4.
And it was a similar story in frame ten when Robertson missed a pink while leading by 25 points early in the frame. O’Sullivan could only make 46 in return but the Australian missed another frame-winning chance failing to pot a blue to the middle and then a long red before O’Sullivan levelled the match at 5-5.
Then the Rocket took the lead for the first time in frame eleven with a break of 67 after Robertson missed a long red.
There was more misery for Robertson in frame 12 when he missed a tricky red along the bottom cushion on a break of 21, which was duly punished by O’Sullivan with a break of 70.
And after the mid-session interval there was no stopping O’Sullivan as he went an extra gear to end any hopes of a Robertson comeback.
Breaks of 61 and a ruthless 141 total clearance gave O’Sullivan the perfect ending to an impressive week.
O’Sullivan’s Route to Welsh Open Glory:
R1 – beat Barry Pinches 4-1
R2 – beat Tian Pengfei 4-0
R3 – beat Jimmy Robertson 4-0
R4 – beat Yu Delu 4-1
QF – beat Mark Selby 5-1
SF – beat Joe Perry 6-3