Rank outsider Graeme Dott stunned Ronnie O’Sullivan by winning the opening four frames of the Embassy World Championship final at The Crucible Theatre.
O’Sullivan was 12-1 on at the start of the best-of-35 frame marathon to lift his second world crown.
But Dott produced a stunning display against an out-of-sorts O’Sullivan with a series of decisive breaks.
Dott, 6-1 to win the title, had claimed on Saturday that he can “just go out there and have a laugh” after writing off his own chances of defeating O’Sullivan.
But he made a dream start after O’Sullivan had missed an attempted cut on the brown and the 26-year-old from Larkhall took full advantage with a 71-break to the final red.
Dott pounced again in the next after O’Sullivan had missed a long red with a fine 77 and was certainly showing no signs of nerves in the biggest match of his career.
It was a similar story in frame three with runs of 43 and 64 enabling Dott to move into a 3-0 lead.
And a disbelieving O’Sullivan found himself falling another frame behind as breaks of 38 and 36 enabled Dott to complete the pre-interval whitewash.
Dott is looking to cause the biggest upset in the competition since Joe Johnson toppled Steve Davis 18-12 in the 1986 final.
Johnson was the competition’s rank outsider at 150-1 and he can see comparisons with Dott who has never won a tournament in his 10-year professional career and only two matches at Sheffield before 2004.
He said: “There is no pressure on Graeme, he has won lots of money and no-one expects him to win the title.
“He has achieved everything he could have dreamed about. It was the same with me. I was playing Steve Davis who was our snooker God at the time.
“If I had lost I would still have been highly delighted with the money and the ranking points. I would have been on a high for weeks by just getting to the final.”
Ironically, Dott is being given a helping hand from highly-respected snooker coach Derek Hill who was in the opposite corner when O’Sullivan won his only world crown to date three years ago.
He parted company with O’Sullivan after eight years at the start of this season and arrived in Sheffield last night to be in Dott’s corner for the final.