There are greater tales of triumph and torment in Ronnie O’Sullivan's ongoing opus of snooker opulence, but nobody should underestimate the importance of his landmark victory at the German Masters in 2012.
O’Sullivan had largely been in the doldrums since his 18-8 success against Ali Carter in the final of the World Championship four years earlier.
Still capable on his day – he fairly revelled among the Londoners at the 2009 Masters with an epic 10-8 Wembley win against old foe Mark Selby – but under-performing seemed to be the recurring theme as he careered towards the latter half of his thirties.
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The opening round of the German Masters, then in only its second year as a modern ranking event in Berlin, was a staging post in the Rocket's regeneration against snooker's new generation a decade ago.
The scene of his renaissance period came a year after he began working with celebrated sports psychologist Steve Peters.
Upon reflection, the mindfulness of such a stylish recovery was no coincidence. O'Sullivan tends never to conform to the expected norms.
At the age of 36, he had gone three years without winning a ranking tournament, was 16th in the world and was astonishingly in danger of being forced to qualify for the World Championship in Sheffield.
"I had been thinking about whether I would ever win another ranking title," said O'Sullivan.
His browbeaten mood was further famished when he trailed 4-0 in the first round to an inspired Andrew Higginson – the talented 2007 Welsh Open finalist ferociously dubbed 'The Widnes Warrior' mainly because it sounds good coming from Cheshire – who produced runs of 80 and 67 to move to the cusp of the last 16 and a resounding triumph.
Ronnie O'Sullivan faces Andrew Higginson in 2012.
Image credit: Eurosport
O’Sullivan prevented the whitewash with a rapid break of 86, but was one ball from defeat after his opponent opened with a fine 63 in the sixth frame as the vast Tempodrom tormented his senses.
O'Sullivan went for broke, walloped in a blistering trademark long red and rallied by edging the second frame with a break of 67 enough to sickeningly deny his fellow Englishman on the black.
He won the next three frames with three plus 50 knocks to complete an unlikely great escape in the German capital. In what remains their only professional match, the significance of the occasion remains a key strand of O'Sullivan's trophy-winning DNA outside of Essex.
"Andrew played well and I was lucky to win," said O'Sullivan afterwards. "At 4-0 down I hadn't done a lot wrong. It was a great atmosphere and I enjoyed the comeback. I don't want to comment on the rankings, it would just be nice to win a tournament."
The poignancy of that 5-4 win has gained historical importance as further victories over Joe Perry (5-1), Matthew Stevens (5-3), Stephen Lee (6-4) and Stephen Maguire (9-7) saw him clasp his first ranking prize since the 2009 Shanghai Masters.
Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Maguire in the 2012 German Masters final.
Image credit: Eurosport
Four centuries were made in the opening four frames for the first time in a major final, three flying off the cue of 'on-fire' Scotsman Maguire clearly in the mood, in an absorbing final that provided O'Sullivan with a 23rd ranking victory in his career record haul of 38.
He recovered from 6-3 behind to topple the former UK champion in proving a point to himself and the wider world that he could still deliver under the intense demands of a 2,500 sell-out crowd in the teeming German capital.
When he restored parity at 6-6, there was even an uncharacteristic punch of the air to illustrate his sense of excitement with Maguire professing utter bewilderment in defeat. "At the moment I just want to jump off a bridge."
Within three months, O'Sullivan would bridge the gap between desire and dedication by becoming world champion for a fourth time courtesy of an 18-8 success against Carter ahead of two more swashbuckling Crucible victories in 2013 against Barry Hawkins (18-12) and Kyren Wilson (18-8) in 2020.
"I'm coming to the end of my career so every victory now is nice," said O'Sullivan a decade ago. "If I can nick a tournament here and there now, that is what I want. It would be nice to go out at the top."
Every dog has its day, but for O'Sullivan it has been another decade and counting since his Berlin brilliance.
The snooker GOAT remains at the top with a 38th title secured at the World Grand Prix last month. It is perhaps a pity O'Sullivan is not performing at the Tempodrom on the anniversary of his remarkable green baize rebirth, but he will always have Berlin in 2012.
It remains golden even by his own trend-setting standards.
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