Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed his fourth Champion of Champions title after a 10-6 victory over maximum man Judd Trump in the final on Sunday.
The Rocket extended his record as the most successful player in the prestigious invitational event, hitting three centuries as he added to his triumphs in 2013, 2014 and 2018, while pocketing the top prize of £150,000.
O’Sullivan withstood a gritty fightback from reigning champion Trump, who compiled a magical 147 break as he recovered from 6-1 down to only trail by a single frame at 7-6.
The seven-time Crucible king, who overcame the Ace in the Sheffield showpiece six months ago, reeled off the last three frames to reign supreme at the Bolton Whites Hotel.
When asked what it was about the tournament that brought the best out of him, he told ITV: “It’s just full of good players and you get full crowds, so you’re going to play your best.
“Most the tournaments these days, you’re playing in front of 30 or 40 people and playing lower-ranked players.
“At my age, I need to be playing in front of an audience like this, otherwise I’m going to be flat. I tend to do better in this type of tournament.
“I just had to graft and graft. I never left anything out there today – my temperament, my attitude – I was just trying to stay as professional as I could.
“Even when I was 6-1 up, never once did I think about the lead because I know what Judd’s like. I dug in at the end and kept it going.”
Playing his sixth Champion of Champions final in nine appearances, O’Sullivan made a fast start. Breaks of 96 and 103 established an early 2-0 lead with his opponent failing to score a single point.
The Rocket looked good for 3-0, but broke down on 52 after missing a red to the left corner. Trump pounced with a morale-boosting 51 clearance to snatch his first frame on the pink.
A seesaw fourth frame went down to the green. Despite initially rattling it in the jaw, O’Sullivan eventually cleared for breathing space at the interval after his opponent was unfortunate to go in-off with the rest.
The three-time champion looked well in control as runs of 88 and 52 put him 6-1 to the good, but he could only watch in awe as Trump responded with a magical maximum, before reducing the deficit to 6-3 with a wonderful 96 clearance from 32-0 down.
O’Sullivan launched the evening session with a magnificent break of 106, but then went 40 minutes without potting a ball as his opponent rallied with breaks of 82 and 100 to cut the gap to a single frame at 7-6.
The Rocket had seen an 8-3 advantage reduced to 8-7 before pulling away once again to prevail 10-7 when the pair met in the 2014 showpiece.
Once again, he withstood the pressure; stopping the rot by pouncing on loose safety shots by Trump, who was appearing in his fourth Champion of Champions final. Breaks of 124 and 85 moved him to the brink of victory, which he secured with a run of 81.
Trump added: “I’m disappointed with how I played really. I thought Ronnie scored very heavy the whole day, so it puts you under pressure; any time you get a chance, you have to clear up in one visit. I obviously didn’t do that enough.
“I don’t take anything from coming second; it’s not good enough. I think Ronnie scored the heaviest all week, played the best.
“Once again, he showed that he’s the benchmark. I just need to get back on the practise table and, hopefully, give him a better game next time.”
On his maximum, he admitted: “At that point, I had nothing to lose, so I just thought I’d go for a max and see what happens.
“It’s always special to make them, and even more special in a final against Ronnie. It’s another thing ticked off the CV.”
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