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Devastating O’Sullivan Defends Coventry Title

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Ronnie O’Sullivan has tonight completed the successful defence of the Champion of Champions title in Coventry with a 10-7 victory against Judd Trump, who fought admirably in the face of a devastating performance from the five-time world champion…

  • Click here to view all of the results from the Champion of Champions (snookerorg)

Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7 Judd Trump

137-0 (137), 82-0 (78), 25-100, 63-73, 137-0 (50,87), 80-0 (80), 34-89 (58), 139-0 (139), 134-0 (134), 70-61 (JT 56), 114-23 (70), 9-113 (102), 0-100 (100), 0-70 (69), 0-90 (90), 82-46 (63), 109-0 (109)

Last year’s final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham proved to be a tense, nervy affair throughout, but this year proved to be anything but as both players produced a masterclass at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

From the very first frame the signs looked to be ominous for Judd Trump, O’Sullivan opening with a total clearance of 137 before doubling his advantage with a break of 78 in the second. As would become a theme during the day’s 17 frames however, Judd was to respond well and draw level at the mid-session interval.

The session was to be O’Sullivan’s however, as having moved back ahead at 4-3, he then hit breaks of 139 and 134 to open up a three frame lead after nine frames.

On their resumption this evening, Ronnie was able to pick up from where he left off, a clearance of 70 in the first frame seeing him move further clear at 7-3, before a break of 70 left him just two frames away from victory.

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Despite being in a seemingly hopeless position however, Judd did not give up and kept himself in the match with back to back centuries to split the first mini-session of the evening, before further breaks of 69 and 90 saw him right back into the match at 7-8, in a way that strangely enough reminded me of the way that Mark Allen had come back at Judd in the final of the 2011 UK Championship.

The decisive frame though would prove to be the 16th, as having seen Ronnie move 71 ahead with just 67 remaining, following a brilliant break with the reds awkward and blue and black balls unavailable, Judd then fought back well to get the snooker that he needed and pot his way to the green.

Unfortunately for the world number 11 however, an in-off on potting the green proved to be his last shot of the frame and from there the outcome was only going to be a victory for O’Sullivan, as he rounded off a sublime performance with a run of 109.

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Right from the off this week, O’Sullivan has looked ‘up for it’ in Coventry, but perhaps the most revealing insight was the way that he reacted following his victory this evening, clenching his fist and visibly enjoying the celebrations following the trophy presentation.

Now while a player enjoying a tournament success is hardly breaking news, we have all seen Ronnie win several titles down the years and sometimes not looking to be as happy with his success as some might expect. Tonight however was a different story, he was clearly thrilled both to have won and with the way that he played, which I am sure is something that all of his fans would have been pleased to see.

Otherwise, his form looks to be ominous for the rest of the field ahead of the UK Championship in York later in the month and judging by the various reactions on Twitter, was both inspiring and terrifying for some of his fellow professionals in equal measure. He is the undisputed king of the Matchroom Sport tournaments and perhaps given the success that he has enjoyed at the Premier League over the last decade, it should be no surprise to see him walk away with the trophy once again.

As an aside, his efforts this week have also seen him move to within just 11 centuries of Stephen Hendry’s all-time record of 775, as you can see on my page here.

Credit though to Judd, who could easily have found himself on the wrong end of a hammering today (the Masters and Welsh Open finals spring to mind earlier this year), given the performance of his opponent, but showed impressive resilience to fight back at various stages of the match, in particular this evening.

Though he couldn’t complete a famous comeback from 8-3 down, he spoke very well to presenter Jill Douglas following the match and for me is looking as good on the table as he has since 2011. He has spoken earlier in the week of how he has stepped up his level of practice during the past six months and slowly but surely, he is now getting back to his best.

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On the subject of of ITV4’s Jill Douglas, it has been another excellent week for the broadcaster, which has seen their coverage of the tournament earn near universal praise from the reaction that I have seen on social media.

With the authoritative lead commentary provided by Clive Everton, supported by the insightful analysis of both Alan McManus and Neal Foulds, the coverage has been highly enjoyable to watch and I look forward to seeing the team back in action at the World Grand Prix in 2015.

The tournament as a whole has been extremely well received, with the poignant return of Ali Carter and the return of Steve Davis to our screens, standing out as particular highlights from the week. I was lucky enough to be able to pay the tournament a flying visit on semi-final day and it was nice to catch-up with the usual faces behind the scenes. It is hard to explain, but having been to the Premier League and several ranking tournaments before, there is somehow a different feel about the Matchroom Sport events.

It was my first visit to the venue and being easy to access and with all the facilities nearby that you could ask for at a snooker tournament, earned the thumbs up from me.

Looking forwards, we now have 11 days without professional snooker, before the action returns at the ET4 event in Germany ahead of the UK Championship.