Ronnie O’Sullivan racks up 10th Premier League Snooker title
Ronnie O'Sullivan took an incredible 10th Premier League Snooker title with a thrilling performance in front of a sell-out Potters crowd on Sunday night.
The Rocket's 7-1 victory over China's Ding Junhui was his seventh in eight years as Hopton-on-Sea packed out snooker's top non-ranking event.
'Ding didn't play as well as he could but the balls didn't really run for him and I was able to make things count,' said a delighted O'Sullivan. 'I nicked a few frames and Ding got a kick – I was expecting him to keep coming at me and I knew then I needed to raise my game; I needed to find some better form from somewhere.
'Ding started to find some rhythm and he's a dangerous player – 7-1 was well flattering. But I managed to pot a few long ones and sometimes you have to stick in and be patient, and hopefully this can be a springboard for things to come.'
O'Sullivan managed to avoid the late call that almost saw him miss the start of his semi-final on Saturday night – and a tidy break of 52 sewed up the opener despite Ding getting in early.
The Rocket got lucky in the second, almost fouling the pink and not leaving a single red as he tried to develop the pack with a loose shot. But he returned with an ominous 92 to prove his sharpness.
Two became three in quick-fire fashion. O'Sullivan's sweet long red promised much before he missed the black and scattered the reds. The Rocket was lucky not to leave anything on again – and once more Ding was wayward, leaving chances when he missed.
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That was proving to be the difference as O'Sullivan took advantage with 56 and Ding continued to look unsettled, missing a poor red and mucking up his best chance to gain one of the snookers he needed.
A sublime brown opened the fourth as the Rocket's groove deepened, while Ding's failure on a thin blue summed up his troubled start.
The man from China regrouped with a hard-working 42, but O'Sullivan was relentless – a long red punishing a slightly loose safety to pinch the frame from under Ding's nose and make it 4-0.
O'Sullivan's error on a spotted black as he seemingly marched ever closer to a possible whitewash brought gasps from the Hopton crowd, and this time Ding did make the most of his chance on a tricky table, racking up 45 to get on the board heading into the interval.
If Ding thought his luck had changed, the sixth taught him a painful lesson as a huge kick with three reds remaining left O'Sullivan to clear in style.
A lead of 61-0 still was not enough for Ding in the next as O'Sullivan confidently cleared, before a seamless 77 earned him a 7-1 victory to roars from the crowd.
Almost 1,800 snooker fans packed out Potters over the Premier League play-offs weekend – the fourth time Hopton's International Arena has hosted the event and O'Sullivan's third win in Norfolk.