Jordan Brown caused one of the biggest shocks in snooker history when beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 to win the Welsh Open.
O’Sullivan had been in imperious form on his way to the final and was a massive favourite to win the event for a fifth time.
However, world number 81 Brown was unfazed by facing the world champion in what was his first ranking final and he opened up an early lead, withstood a fightback from O’Sullivan and closed out the match in a tense finale.
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Brown’s previous best result was a quarter-final defeat the German Masters, but he now has the Players Championship and Champion of Champions to look forward to; and has the chance to forge a successful career in the game.
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The ninth was a scruffy start to the evening session, with both players having chances.
Brown, who beat Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire on the way to the final, was ahead of O’Sullivan in the safety exchanges in the afternoon session, but the world champion won a battle and he potted an excellent brown with the rest to secure the first frame of the evening session.
O’Sullivan found his range towards the end of the afternoon session, and a brilliant long red at the start of the 10th frame set up a break of 68 - one he had to work hard for as the table was extremely difficult - which restored parity in the contest.
O’Sullivan got his nose in front for the first time in the match when knocking in a 61 break to take the 11th frame.
There was an air of calm, composed, confidence about Brown in the afternoon session, but he was under the pump in the face of an O’Sullivan onslaught at the start of the evening session.
He missed a blue with the rest and dropped his head to the table in disappointment, but to his credit he kept himself in the frame and won a safety battle on the colours to draw level at 6-6.
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O’Sullivan has been the epitome of calm this week, but he appeared to boil over in the 13th frame. He found himself in a snooker and after being called for a miss, the balls went back and he questioned the placement of the white.
The referee confirmed the position was correct, and within seconds O'Sullivan had played a reckless hit and hope that saw him foul the pink.
O’Sullivan was given a lifeline when Brown ran out of position, but he missed a tough red and his Northern Irish opponent stepped in to take the lead once again.
Having looked at boiling points a few minutes earlier, O’Sullivan produced a majestic break of 58 - compiled with reds and blues on account of pink and black being out of commission - to draw level at 7-7.
O’Sullivan had a chance in the 15th, but his fabled cueball skills deserted him as he steadily ran out of position and it cost him as he eventually missed a tough pink. The table facing Brown was not simple, but he showed steely determination to knock in a 56.
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Staring defeat in the face, O’Sullivan produced a breathtaking clearance of 119.
He knocked in a series of pots, the highlight of which was a blue into the green pocket that defied belief, and it set him up to force a deciding frame.
“Which other player would have taken on that blue?” questioned Eurosport’s Joe Johnson. “I can still see his chalk mark parallel to the black.”
O’Sullivan fluked a red at the start of the 17th frame, but he did not drop on a colour and after attempting to force a long blue, he left the table for Brown.
The 33-year-old would likely have been a bag of nerves, but he did not show any outward emotion as he compiled a break of 74 to become the lowest-ranked player to win a ranking event since Dave Harold - then 91 in the world - won the Asian Open in 1993.
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