LONDON (Reuters) – Ronnie O’Sullivan recorded a memorable snooker landmark on Sunday when he became the first player ever to compile 1,000 career century breaks en route to winning the Players Championship final in Preston.
The English five-times world champion, the most gifted and arguably greatest cueman the game has known, recorded the three 100-plus breaks in his 10-4 victory over Australian Neil Robertson that he needed to reach the milestone.
The player known throughout snooker as “the Rocket” made breaks of 116 and 105 as he shot into a 7-2 lead at the end of the first session before achieving the landmark, fittingly, in the final frame with a 134 to retain his title.
A measure of the 43-year-old’s achievement in his 50th career final is that Scottish players Stephen Hendry (775) and John Higgins (745) are the only others in the history of snooker to have passed 700.
“It’s great for snooker fans all over the world, but those in Preston tonight, they’re lucky,” O’Sullivan said afterwards. “It’s a great pleasure for me.”
Typically, the master showman O’Sullivan marked the landmark moment in style.
As he prepared to pot the red ball that would take him to the thousandth century, the ambidextrous player switched to stroke the ball left-handed into the centre of the pocket.
It was his 35th title, achieved at the same Preston Guild Hall venue where he won his first in 1993 when he beat Hendry in the UK Championship final.
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Ian Chadband)