O’Sullivan wins record-equalling seventh world title

Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 1-2 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and mobile app

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed his seventh World Championship title with an 18-13 win over Judd Trump to equal Stephen Hendry’s record in the modern era.

O’Sullivan, 46, becomes the oldest world champion in Crucible history, eclipsing Ray Reardon, who won his sixth title aged 45 in 1978.

Trump won six of Monday afternoon’s eight frames to battle back to 14-11.

But O’Sullivan sealed his victory and the £500,000 top prize as he took four of the evening’s first six frames.

The ‘Rocket’ enjoyed runs of 82, 88, 75, and 85 – and shared an emotional embrace with Trump, which lasted more than a minute, at the end of the match before greeting his children who ran into the arena to share his special moment.

O’Sullivan’s triumph will add more fuel to any debate over who is the greatest snooker player of all time.

The Englishman has now won 39 ranking titles and holds almost every major record in the game.

Asked about emulating Hendry’s record at the Crucible, which was set in 1999, O’Sullivan told BBC Sport: “We can share it for a year. I tried to be as relaxed as I could, but that is probably the greatest result I’ve had against somebody like Judd [Trump].

“I’ve never bothered about records. When you get them, it’s kind of nice. I don’t have targets. I’ve loved every tournament this year, I’ve just loved playing.

“I like to win, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The Crucible brings out the worst in me. It’s probably not the best idea but we’ll probably go again next year.”

Despite having a significant seven-frame lead overnight, O’Sullivan’s success was far from a formality, with Trump staging a superb fightback on Monday afternoon to claw a 12-5 deficit back to 14-11.

It saw O’Sullivan lose his first session of the Championship as Trump, who had toiled badly on Sunday, produced his best form of the final to eye the second biggest turnaround in Crucible history – after Dennis Taylor’s famous revival from 8-0 down to win the 1985 final against Steve Davis.

A wonderful 107 was a highlight as he took five of the day’s first six frames and he applied further pressure with a sublime 105 after benefitting from a fluked red.

But in front of a raucous Crucible crowd, O’Sullivan immediately eased any pressure on himself as play got under way in the evening with several sizeable contributions after errors from Trump, who had adopted a policy of all-out attack.

Trump, however, did deliver another moment of Crucible history with a record-breaking 109th century of the tournament – fittingly, with a clearance of 109 – to close the gap to 17-13, before O’Sullivan clinically rounded off his triumph in style.

“I was just glad to make a match out of it,” Trump said. “It’s been a pleasure to share a table with him.

“It’s an amazing achievement and he’s the best player of all time – he keeps getting better and better. His determination and dedication are clear to see. He’s been the best player in this tournament by quite a distance.”

‘The longevity of his career is incredible’ – analysis

Six-time champion Steve Davis

He’s playing in a field of players far stronger than in previous generations and that’s why he’s needed more years to maybe match Stephen Hendry’s seven titles.

The longevity of his career is incredible because it didn’t happen for me and it didn’t happen for Stephen either.

I think it is remarkable what he has achieved. There have been peaks and troughs along the way, but he has done brilliantly well to cope with everything.

He is the person everyone wants to ask questions of, but he has the talent. The pressure he withstands is astonishing.

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