Ronnie O’Sullivan Clinches Fourth Consecutive Shanghai Masters Title in Thrilling Final

Photo Credit: World Snooker

In a thrilling final, the reigning world number one in snooker, Ronnie O’Sullivan, secured his fourth consecutive Shanghai Masters title by triumphing over World Champion Luca Brecel with a score of 11-9.

Maintaining an unbeaten streak in the city for an impressive seven years, O’Sullivan’s last loss was against Michael Holt in 2016. His winning streak in this event now stands at an impressive 19 matches.

O’Sullivan had previously clinched the title in consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, defeating top-notch opponents like Judd Trump, Barry Hawkins, and Shaun Murphy in their respective finals. With a total of five Shanghai Masters titles to his name, including the victory in 2009, he undeniably stands as the dominant figure in the tournament’s history.

The final today showcased what could potentially evolve into the defining rivalry in modern snooker. Earlier this year, the 28-year-old Brecel displayed a remarkable performance, staging a remarkable comeback from 10-6 behind to beat O’Sullivan 13-10 at the Crucible, where he went on to clinch his first world title. However, O’Sullivan got his revenge in today’s match, now leading the head-to-head standings 4-2 against Brecel.

This victory earned O’Sullivan a top prize of £210,000, while Brecel received £105,000 as the runner-up. Nonetheless, as the event is an invitational tournament, it doesn’t impact the world rankings, maintaining O’Sullivan’s lead over world number two Brecel by a slender £5,000.

Throughout the week, O’Sullivan had to display his resilience, notably rallying from being 5-2 down to beat John Higgins 6-5 in the quarter-finals. He once again needed to dig deep in today’s afternoon session, emerging 6-4 ahead after initially trailing 4-3.

In the evening’s opening frame, Brecel applied pressure with a break of 65, closing the gap to 6-5. However, O’Sullivan promptly restored his two-frame cushion by winning the 12th frame. Brecel then showcased his skills, crafting breaks of 55 and 56 to head into the mid-session break tied at 7-7.

As play resumed, O’Sullivan displayed a dazzling burst towards the finish line, hitting breaks of 143 and 120 on his way to three consecutive wins, bringing him within one frame of the title at 10-7.

In a dramatic 18th frame, O’Sullivan had chances to seal the victory, but Brecel showcased exceptional skill, extending the tie with a stunning table-length double on the final black, making it 10-8. Brecel’s momentum continued as he strung together a break of 83, closing the gap to just one frame at 10-9. The 20th frame was tense, but O’Sullivan managed to secure the title with a determined performance, clinching the victory.

Reflecting on the challenging tournament, a 47-year-old O’Sullivan shared, “I just tried hard. I mentally thought that plan A was to go out there, dominate and score breaks. Plan B was to keep my focus and emotions in check. I tried not to lose it out of frustration. It was one of those tournaments. I was well below par, but in moments I played alright when I had to. I wasn’t on auto pilot, everything was a bit of a struggle from start to finish.”

He went on to acknowledge Brecel’s talent and the growth of snooker in China, recognizing Brecel as a young player with a promising future in the sport.

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