The Rocket also match Stephen Hendry’s record of 18 titles at the Triple Crown events following his 10-5 victory
Ronnie O’Sullivan grabbed a share of two of snooker’s great records as he landed his sixth UK Championship title in stunning fashion. The 42-year-old crushed the 2008 champion Shaun Murphy’s hopes of a second success at the tournament as he pulled away in the evening to clinch a 10-5 victory at the York Barbican.
O’Sullivan racked up breaks of 75, 104, 76, 103, 86 and 59 in a session where he produced a performance of the highest quality, swiftly and majestically tying up victory and pocketing the £170,000 top prize.
In winning for a sixth time, he matched Steve Davis for the most triumphs at this event. And O’Sullivan also pulled himself level with Stephen Hendry’s all-time record haul of 18 titles at the sport’s Triple Crown majors, which are made up of the UK Championship, World Championship and Masters.
There is no sign of the Rocket slowing down, unlike Hendry and Davis who had entered a steep decline by this stage in their careers.
And there is little doubt the man who first landed the UK title as a 17-year-old in 1993 could claim both records outright and others to boot before his career winds down. That is despite hinting he could sit out next year’s UK Championship in favour of a stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.
O’Sullivan said of his latest big-stage victory: “The records are great. To equal it… I tried my best all week and there’s nothing left. I’m over the moon to win any tournament, let alone the UK Championship. I just love playing and love competing and I can’t believe I’m still playing at 42, with all these grey hairs.”
Murphy praised O’Sullivan for taking his sixth UK title, saying: “It’s an absolute phenomenal achievement.” He added: “It’s not the end I wanted to the fortnight I’ve had.”
Murphy had high hopes heading into the evening, after pulling back from 4-2 to 4-4 by the end of the afternoon session, and having beaten O’Sullivan over best-of-19 in the recent Champion of Champions tournament. But despite making an 80 to level at 5-5, he was reduced to the role of spectator for agonisingly long stretches.
Murphy missed the seventh black in a 147 maximum break attempt in the 14th frame, and O’Sullivan made his 86, each ball dropping into the pocket a dagger to the heart of his opponent. There was no stopping O’Sullivan, who finished the match with a break of 49 before Murphy stepped forward to offer warm congratulations.