O'Sullivan triumphs once again

 Ronnie O’Sullivan outclassed Barry Hawkins 18-12 on Monday to win his fifth world snooker championship and become only the third man to claim back-to-back titles at the Crucible Theatre.

The 37-year-old Englishman, returning to the sport after a year-long absence, showed no signs of rustiness over the two weeks of competition, culminating in a comfortable win over world number 14 Hawkins.

“I thought it was a brilliant final,” O’Sullivan told reporters after making a final-record six century breaks. “Overall, the snooker was really good.

“I do appreciate what snooker has done for me and what it’s given me but it’s the build-up I struggle with. It’s hard to keep a lid on what I go through sometimes.”
O’Sullivan, 10-7 up overnight, watched his opponent win the opening frame of the day. Breaks of 76 and 55 lifted O’Sullivan to a four-frame lead at 12-8 but the gritty Hawkins produced a break of 90 to take the following frame before O’Sullivan responded with a 133.

Hawkins reduced the deficit to four frames at 14-10 before O’Sullivan produced a clearance of 124. The unfancied Hawkins compiled a century of his own with a 127 and then made it 15-12 with a break of 66.

Hawkins threatened to move to within two frames of O’Sullivan in frame 28 before a missed red on the cushion proved costly and O’Sullivan punished the error with a break of 77 to lead 16-12.

A run of 88 enabled O’Sullivan to claim the following frame and he clinched the title with a fine break of 86.

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