Ronnie O’Sullivan became the first snooker player to make 1,000 career century breaks after successfully defending his Players Championship title with a convincing 10-4 victory over Neil Robertson.
The five-time world champion started the week in Preston on 994 career centuries and rolled in a 101 break in the opening frame of his first-round win over Barry Hawkins.
Nos 996 and 997 soon followed during his 6-4 quarter-final triumph over John Higgins but he could not add to his total in his 6-0 whitewash of Mark Allen in the last four.
O’Sullivan moved to 999 after two centuries in the afternoon session
of the final gave him a 7-2 lead, which he quickly extended to 9-4 at
the mid-session interval in the evening. Within one frame of his 35th
career ranking title, O’Sullivan went about securing the ton that would
earn him another place in history.
He teased the fans by stopping his approach while on 99 before
potting the red left-handed and recording a 134 break – even though he
potted the white after sinking the final black to deny him a superb 141
O’Sullivan’s attempt at snooker history was not the only talking
point of the week as the 43-year-old maverick has bizarrely adopted an
Australian accent in post-match interviews and also claimed to have set
up an all-Australian final against Robertson.
In Sunday’s final ‘The Rocket’ rattled in a 67 break during the
opening frame before there was controversy in the next as he complained
to the referee, Terry Camilleri, over the re-spotting of the black. That
did not stop him from registering runs of 66 and 52 to claim a 2-0 lead
before breaks of 70 and 65 saw O’Sullivan take a 4-0 advantage into the
Robertson got on the scoreboard with a well-worked 65 in the fifth
set before a brilliant 116 break saw O’Sullivan regain his four-frame
initiative. The duo traded the next two frames before O’Sullivan added a
wonderful 105 for a 7-2 lead.
Robertson responded to reduce the score to 8-4 but O’Sullivan eased to
the 13th frame to put himself within one of victory, and he ended the
match in style as the crowd gave him a standing ovation once he had
passed the magical 100-point mark.