Ronnie O'Sullivan has revealed he felt like the "cue ball was on a piece of string" as he claimed a record-equalling seventh world title at the Crucible Theatre.
The world No. 1 produced some of the best scoring form of his career in Sheffield as he compiled 15 century breaks and 46 over 50 in equalling old foe Stephen Hendry's 1990s haul of titles with an epic 18-13 final win over Judd Trump.
"At times, I felt like the cue ball was on a piece of string," said O'Sullivan. "I was putting it where I wanted. In some ways, it didn’t matter where the balls were.
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"I just knew there were keys shots I had to get to and I was confident I was able to do it.
It is a good feeling winning frames from virtually impossible positions.
O'Sullivan was clinical among the balls during wins over David Gilbert (10-5), Mark Allen (13-4) and Stephen Maguire (13-5) but reserved his very best in a 17-11 win over John Higgins in the semi-finals.
Two key moments of that match illustrated O'Sullivan's brilliance as he forced a re-spotted black in the 16th and final frame of the second session that gave him a 10-6 lead before the final day.
And a miraculous clearance of 82 he made leading 10-7 on the Saturday morning after period of tension-ridden safety play with the Scotsman attempting to turn the match back in his favour.
That knock was one of the best of all time at the Crucible, ranking alongside the 92 he produced in the seventh frame of the 2012 final against Ali Carter in an 18-11 win.
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"I don’t think I’m the best potter or the best in any department. I’m about eight or nine out of 10 in every department and it was that consistency over the 17 days that got me through," said O'Sullivan.
"I was just competing in every area and doing all things pretty well.
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“I remember nicking a frame when I needed two blacks and won it on the re-spotted black against John. I also remember we had a long drawn out safety battle with me and Higgins then potting a long red before clearing up.
“Just lots of frames were big turning points. When you win the close ones against John, you know you’ve got a chance.
"It is alright winning frames with big breaks. That is nice, but at some point in these events you are going to face someone who is scoring as well as you and then it comes down to who can pinch the close ones.
“As I got into the match with John, I started to eke out a few of those close ones. That dented his confidence, gave me more confidence and probably changed the momentum of the match.
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“John is more suited to winning the tactical frames and I’m probably more suited to the open scoring frames, but it was good to compete with him in the ones where he was probably favourite.”
Crucible World Snooker Champions
- Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) 7 – 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2020, 2022
- Stephen Hendry (Sco) 7 – 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999
- Steve Davis (Eng) 6 – 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989
- Ray Reardon (Wal) 6 – 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
- Mark Selby (Eng) 4 – 2014, 2016, 2017, 2021
- John Higgins (Sco) 4 – 1998, 2007, 2009, 2011
- Mark Williams (Wal) 3 – 2000, 2003, 2018
- John Spencer (Eng) 3 – 1969, 1971, 1977
- Alex Higgins (NIre) 2 – 1972, 1982
- Judd Trump (Eng) 1 – 2019
- Stuart Bingham (Eng) 1 – 2015
- Neil Robertson (Aus) 1 – 2010
- Graeme Dott (Sco) 1 – 2005
- Peter Ebdon (Eng) 1 – 2002
- Ken Doherty (Ire) 1 – 1997
- John Parrott (Eng) 1 – 1991
- Joe Johnson (Eng) 1 – 1986
- Dennis Taylor (NIre) 1 – 1985
- Cliff Thorburn (Can) 1 – 1980
- Terry Griffiths (Wal) 1 – 1979
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