21st Jan, 2022

SNOOKER - O'Sullivan ends trophy drought with comeback win against Robertson in World Grand Prix final

RONNIE O’Sullivan produced a stunning comeback to beat Neil Robertson 10-8 in the Cazoo World Grand Prix final and secure his first title in 16 months.

 

O’Sullivan had lost his previous five ranking finals before rallying from 7-5 down to eventually come away with the trophy at the CBS Arena in Coventry.

 

The afternoon session was level at four apiece before Australian Robertson looked to pull away when a clearance of 88 left him 7-5 ahead.

 

However, The Rocket came roaring back as he blitzed four frames in just 37 minutes, which included a break of 90, to leave him one frame from victory.

 

And O’Sullivan was duly crowned World Grand Prix champion for the second time when he scored 77 in the 18th frame of the match to clinch a 10-8 success.

 

O’Sullivan said: “Neil was playing the best snooker and he’s the younger guy, he’s at his peak and I’m past my peak, so he was favourite, but strange things happen in sport.

 

“Some of the other great players didn’t win much after the age of 30 so it’s good to just be playing at the age of 46.

 

“The difference in the atmosphere when I’m playing well is a different energy, and it’s nice to bring that energy to the people, to a venue and to a game.

 

“Only certain sports people have that – Tiger Woods, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Lionel Messi, they bring something which keeps you intrigued.

 

“I have that when I get going – I suppose that’s why people have gravitated towards me. I’d rather play well and lose, and be involved in a good match, than win and play awful.

 

“Because I got a buzz and Neil played well, it was alright. When you are stinking gaffs out, it’s not a nice feeling. Neil is a lovely guy, a great sportsman, a great ambassador for snooker and Australia.”

 

Beaten finalist Robertson was full of praise for six-time World Champion O’Sullivan but was frustrated he could not force a deciding frame in Coventry.

 

Robertson said: “I could have had a lead after the first session, but Ronnie battled really well to win the last frame and make it 4-4, I felt great throughout the whole final.

 

“At 7-5 I just wanted three more chances, Ronnie came out and played some superb stuff, the only thing that annoyed me was the miscue on the black at 9-8, I would have loved to force a decider.

 

“I know Ronnie lost a few finals last season, so as a fan of the game and a fan of him, it was fantastic to see him play so well tonight.”

 

The World Grand Prix was being staged in Coventry for the first time with the city previously hosting the Champions of Champions event.

 

And there was plenty of drama from day one at the CBS Arena as top seed Zhao Xintong fell in the opening match of the tournament.

 

Mark Williams and John Higgins, seeded three and four respectively, were also beaten in the last 32 with ninth seed Kyren Wilson suffering a shock exit at the same stage.

 

World number one Mark Selby reached the semi-finals before coming up short against Robertson in the final four with Stuart Bingham the other semi-finalist.

 

Scot Stephen Maguire recorded the highest break of the tournament with a 139 in his quarter-final defeat to Bingham whilst a total of 23 century breaks were made over the course of the event.

 

But the tournament belonged to O’Sullivan who claimed the 38th ranking title of his illustrious career and picked up £100,000 in prize money.

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