Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to secure a record-equalling fifth Welsh Open title at the expense of first-time finalist Jordan Brown at the Celtic Manor Resort on Sunday.
O’Sullivan first claimed Welsh Open glory back in 2004 and is now bidding to equal John Higgins’ record tally of triumphs in the prestigious ranking event.
The reigning and six-time World Champion has been beaten in two ranking finals this season but enters his latest decider as overwhelming favourite to open his account for the 2020/21 campaign.
The Rocket has dropped just two frames en route to the final, though he did receive a bye into the Semis as a result of Ali Carter’s late withdrawal through illness.
O’Sullivan appears to be going through the gears as the season nears its Crucible crescendo and has been in unstoppable form this week, whitewashing Robbie Williams, Jimmy White and Martin Gould in the early rounds.
He then saw off Zhou Yuelong 4-1 in the Last 16 before thrashing fellow ‘Class of 92’ graduate Mark Williams 6-1 in Saturday’s Semi-Finals.
The 45-year-old has lost in just one of his five previous Welsh Open finals and comes up against a player ranked 78 places below him in a true David versus Goliath clash.
Northern Ireland’s Brown had reached just one ranking Quarter-Final in his three seasons as a professional but has broken new ground in sensational style.
The 33-year-old, a 750/1 outsider at the beginning of the week, kick-started his run by whitewashing Luo Honghao 4-0 before going on to prevail in three consecutive last-frame deciders against Sam Craigie, Alexander Ursenbacher and Mark King.
That soon became four as the Antrim ace edged out 2008 champion Mark Selby 5-4 in a nail-biting contest which went down to the final black.
Brown then produced one of the most emphatic performances of his career to thrash 2013 champion Stephen Maguire 6-1 in the Semi-Finals with high breaks of 113 and 135.
Brown’s exploits this week have already secured him a minimum of £30,000, as well as a place in next week’s Players Championship as a member of the top 16 on the one-year list.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two players and gets underway from 1pm GMT for a total of eight frames before being played to a finish over the best of 17 from 7pm.
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jordan Brown – Players’ View:
O’Sullivan: “It would be nice to win any tournament. The memories I had with Ray Reardon are far more important than any trophy, but it would be nice to pick the trophy up and say hi to Ray. I’m sure he will be watching at home.
“Jordan is a really good player, he has a good temperament and is a good match player.
“He’s done well against a lot of very good opponents. I’ve watched his matches in the past and he gave Selby a good game, that is always very difficult. I’m impressed with how he plays.”
Brown: “All the hard work and dedication is finally paying off.
“Three years ago I was working in a petrol station serving customers getting up at half five, half six every morning.
“It’s crazy to think since then the journey that I’ve had and being in a ranking tournament final is just incredible.”