O’Sullivan notches 1,000th century in Players Championship victory
Ronnie O’Sullivan potted the 1,000th century of his illustrious career in the final frame of his 10-4 victory over Neil Robertson in the final of the Players Championship on Sunday evening.
O’Sullivan, a five times champion of the world, knocked in two centuries in the first session of the final to take him to 999 total career centuries.
It looked as if he was going to do it in the second frame of the evening session but he was halted at 90 as he couldn’t free up a red on the side cushion.
However in the deciding frame 'The Rocket' knocked in a trademark century break of 134, full of fantastic cannons, expert cue control and even switching to his left hand for the sealing red having already teased the crowd a couple of times.
He is the first man to ever reach the historic figure of 1,000 centuries and he thrilled the crowd at the Preston Guild Hall.
“I just played really, really well. I played well all week, but I played brilliantly today and to cap it off with 1,000 centuries is great." O'Sullivan said during the trophy presentation.
“I suppose to me, it’s just what I do since I was seven or eight, playing snooker, potting balls – I love the game. But to share it with the fans in Preston and any snooker fans, Preston are just lucky that it was here tonight.
“This should be the base for what venues should be because you will get better matches. Players love playing here. It’s one of the best venues and it’s great.
“When you put top-quality players in top-quality venues then you will get top-quality snooker and that is what the Guild Hall is.
“To me, snooker is just a sport, it’s a game and everyone here loves to watch the game. But as far as human beings go, he’s (Robertson) one of the nicest human beings on the circuit so for me that means more.
“It was nice that I have done it with an opponent I have a lot of respect for.”
He began the tournament on 994 centuries and in the first round knocked in a ton against Barry Hawkins.
Two more centuries followed during his 6-4 victory over close friend John Higgins in the quarter-finals to move him to 997 yet none came during his 6-0 whitewash of Mark Allen in the semi-finals.
In beating Robertson, who had opened the late session with a very impressive break of 120, O’Sullivan defends his title from last season and continues his impressive form ahead of the World Championships.
Robertson, who had moments but was unable to contain O'Sullivan, was quick to pay tribute to his opponent after the historic milestone.
"Incredible atmosphere in the end during the 1000th century. Obviously gutted to lose but I have no problems holding my hands up today. Thanks for all the support during the week and a pleasure being a part of a special moment of our great game at the end. Well done Ronnie O'Sullivan."
His victory also comes 26 years after he defeated Stephen Hendry in the final of the UK Championship at Preston for his first ranking title.