O'Sullivan wins World Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan completed a memorable season by winning the 888.com World Championship crown for the third time with a comfortable 18-8 success over Ali Carter at the Crucible Theatre.

And not even a male streaker, who entered the auditorium at the start of the final session and spread-eagled himself under the match table. could knock the Rocket out of his stride.

O’Sullivan was never seriously tested in a low-key affair after his memorable performance against seven-times winner Stephen Hendry in the semi-final.

O’Sullivan may have continued to court controversy as demonstrated by his lewd outburst during the recent China Open which prompted him to issue an apology.

But that will not stop the 32-year-old from viewing the 2007-08 campaign with immense satisfaction after becoming only the fourth player to complete snooker’s most coveted treble.

O’Sullivan joined Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams in winning the UK Championship and the world title in addition to clinching the number one spot in the rankings in the same season.

He has become the first player to be world number one on three separate occasions having previously held the accolade in 2002-03 and then again from 2004-06.

And O’Sullivan, 32, is the first player aged over 31 to lift the world title since rank outsider Joe Johnson disposed of Steve Davis 22 years ago.

O’Sullivan has also topped the prize money list for the fifth season running in earning £638,350 from nine tournaments – including the £250,000 prize for winning the world title.

He also had half a share of the maximum break prize of £157,000 – shared with Carter who also pocketed £125,000 for finishing runners-up in his first ranking final.

The best ever tally in a season is Hendry’s £740,194 in 1994-95 but that came from 15 tournaments.

To cap matters off O’Sullivan has become only the second player – after Hendry - to register 50 centuries in a season.

O’Sullivan led 11-5 going into the second day of the final and no-one has ever recovered from such a heavy overnight deficit in snooker’s most prestigious tournament.

But what will be galling for Carter is that O’Sullivan failed to produce anything like the standard he had shown in demolishing Hendry 17-6 in the semi-finals.

It was almost as if O’Sullivan knew Carter would not be able to provide him with a stiff enough challenge after winning the previous eight meetings between the duo and looked content to revert to his ’B’ game.

He still managed to compile one century and 10 other scores over 50 – a tally most mere snooker mortals would be happy with.

But Carter, a former practice partner of O’Sullivan, will be massively disappointed to have failed to make the most of several decent opportunities which came his way.

It looked like a match too far for Carter who appeared to have little momentum left in his tank to mount any sort of comeback at the end of a gruelling fortnight.

O’Sullivan went into the final session needing to win only two of the remaining 11 frames to secure the title after triumphing 5-3 in the afternoon.

A break of 69 in frame 25 left Carter needing snookers and took O’Sullivan to the verge of the finishing line.

And it was all over in the next after Carter missed a blue into the middle pocket and let in O’Sullivan to seal victory.

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