Ronnie O’Sullivan has picked out the highlights of his World Snooker Championship win this year, admitting that he has watched back some of the ‘lovely stuff’ he played against Mark Selby in the semi-finals.
The Rocket won his sixth world title at the Crucible in August, beating Kyren Wilson 18-8 in a dominant performance in the final.
The 44-year-old was not at his brilliant best throughout the 17-day tournament, but did produce some superb stuff en route to lifting the trophy once again.
The epic 17-16 victory over Mark Selby in the semi-finals was arguably the most memorable match of the tournament and that is one O’Sullivan takes particular pleasure in, edging out his old foe.
The Rocket was two frames behind with three to play when he made breaks of 138, 71 and 64, although that final break didn’t quite get him over the line and it was his safety play from there that really sticks in his mind.
O’Sullivan speaking to Eurosport for an exclusive documentary said: ‘When it got to 16-14 I thought there’s no way I’m going to fudge my way over the line so I need to find three quick frames, big breaks, go for my shots and I took on a couple of shots that maybe earlier in the match I wouldn’t have taken.
‘But at this moment in time if they go in it could kick-start me into much better things, and it’s only three frames. It’s like the last mile of a 26-mile marathon.
‘I went from thinking I needed two or three chances to win the frame to thinking I need half a sniff and I can clear these balls up.
‘The 138 was a great break, I hardly put a foot wrong, and obviously the last frame I get in – bang – scoring and then I missed a red on 64. I thought “I’ve found the magic but I’ve collapsed, I’ve not finished the frame off” and he managed to get back into it.
‘Towards the end of that frame it was just unbelievable. To win that type of frame against Selby, the final frame after three days. I watch a couple of safety shots back and I just think “that was lovely stuff”.
There were close wins over Ding Junhui and Mark Williams in the second round and quarter-finals, but arguably the Rocket’s best performance was in round one when he swept aside Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1.
It was the shortest match in Crucible history, lasting just 108 minutes, with the Rocket averaging just 14 seconds-per-shot.
‘It felt quite clinical, it felt quite controlled, and when you start telling me the shot time you think it’s ridiculous how I can play that quick yet feel like I’m not speeding round the table,’ said Ronnie.
The final was reasonably close after two sessions with O’Sullivan leading Wilson 10-7, but the Rocket feels his work on the practice table on the final morning won him the game and the title.
‘I must admit, I think that final was won probably at 10am in the morning at the practice table at the Crucible,’ he said.
‘I changed my grip, it had changed my timing, I was playing solid shots, I was able to play blind shots well, they were going in the middle.
‘I just thought “lovely, I’m going to take that into the world final on the final day, I’ve got a cue action, no matter what he throws at me at some point he’s going to make a mistake. I’m confident I’m going to be able to win the frame in one visit and build momentum from there.”‘
Wilson won just one more frame as O’Sullivan claimed the third session 7-1 and needed just one frame of the final session to clinch victory.
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Joy of Six airs this Friday at 10pm on Eurosport 1.
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