Ronnie O’Sullivan produced some “vintage” snooker as he continued his quest for an eighth UK Championship title with a brilliant break of 108 to open a one-frame advantage over Mark King in their third-round match.
The Rocket made a magical century with the black to final red around the angles to finish, and the positional shot left the commentary team purring.
“What a start!” exclaimed Phil Studd on commentary.
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“What a shot! What a shot!” added Neal Foulds alongside Studd, before adding:
That is a Judd Trump special that, going around all those angles!
“This is early to call it but this is vintage O’Sullivan.”
It was high praise, but does it also represent a changing of the guard at the very top of the game?
Trump had recently said that O'Sullivan "can’t win an event to save his life" because the standard in the sport is so high. O'Sullivan is bidding to end a 15-month wait for a major title in York.
The sport's GOAT lifted a record 37th ranking title when he defeated Kyren Wilson 18-8 to claim his sixth world title in August 2020, but has been forced to endure a title drought despite reaching five finals last season.
O'Sullivan suffered defeats to Trump (9-7) in the Northern Ireland Open final, Mark Selby (9-3) in the Scottish Open and 750-1 outsider Jordan Brown (9-8) at the Welsh Open. He was also swept away by John Higgins (10-3) at the Players Championship and Neil Robertson (10-4) at the Tour Championship.
“You are just happy to win tournaments these days, it is very hard to win any tournament for all the top players, Ronnie O’Sullivan included," Trump told reporters.
Look at Ronnie, he can’t win an event to save his life at the moment. Even the so-called smaller events have all the top players still in them.
"I just think he’s lost a little bit of the belief. When you don’t win you don’t have the belief and people aren’t scared to beat you.
“He’s still getting to finals and he’s always going to breeze through the first few rounds because he’s that good. When he comes up against a top player there’s just not that gulf in class, I don’t think, anymore.
“No one’s that scared to play him, anyone’s game is good enough to beat him on their day, that’s what’s happened over the last year.”
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