Rampant Ronnie O’Sullivan claims World Grand Prix glory

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O’Sullivan raises the trophy at the Preston Guild Hall (credit:ITV Sport)

Ronnie O’Sullivan clinched his fourth ranking title of the season at the 2018 World Grand Prix courtesy of a 10-3 rout of Ding Junhui in the final in Preston on Sunday.

The world number two continued his prolific run of form by capturing his 32nd ranking title, 25 years after winning his first at the same venue.

O’Sullivan opened up a commanding 6-3 advantage at the end of the first session and sealed the deal in consecutive frames when the two players returned in the evening.

“I’m very pleased to win this tournament,” O’Sullivan told ITV Sport. “I just want to say well done to Ding, he’s had a fantastic tournament and he’s a great player.

“It’s nice to still be competing and having fun.

“I dedicated myself after last year’s World Championship because for two years I took my eye off the ball.

“I haven’t played since the Masters then I win a tournament, this game doesn’t make sense sometimes.”

Ding had come through a gruelling last-frame decider against Mark Selby beyond the midnight hour on Saturday but showed little sign of fatigue in the early stages of the contest, taking the first frame with a break of 53.

O’Sullivan levelled with a 71 before edging the third to go ahead, but only for Ding to respond with a 68 break for two apiece.

O’Sullivan then turned on the style with back-to-back centuries (124 and 105) as he restored daylight, though Ding dug deep to reain in touch at 4-3 behind.

A 59 break, however, handed ‘The Rocket’ frame eight before a magnificent break of 120 ensured a 6-3 cushion at the close of play in the afternoon.

Ding appeared devoid of energy in the evening session and mustered just 35 points in the remainder of the contest as crowd favourite O’Sullivan ran riot.

Breaks of 46 and 44 handed him the tenth frame before dominating the next two frames in the absence of any high breaks to move one away from the winning line.

He then averted the need for a mid-session interval by powering in a break of 83 to get over the line in style.

Ding was denied his first ranking title since last September’s World Open, and admitted: “I had good chances in the first session and didn’t take them but in the end it doesn’t matter too much.

“I had a few months where I didn’t play well but I felt good in this whole week.”