Ronnie O’Sullivan came from behind to claim a record-extending eighth Masters title with a brilliant 10-7 victory over Ali Carter on Sunday at Alexandra Palace; O’Sullivan has the chance to win all three Triple Crown events in the same season for the first time
Last Updated: 15/01/24 7:46am
Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he is still unsure whether his game is good enough to win an eighth World Championship title later this year, despite registering a record-extending Masters victory.
O’Sullivan recovered from 6-3 down to beat Ali Carter 10-7 and claim a record-extending eighth Masters title at Alexandra Palace, 29 years on from his maiden victory at the event, making him the oldest winner in the tournament’s history.
The 48-year-old took seven of his last eight frames to secure victory and the £250,000 top prize, a month on from winning the UK Championship for an eighth time, with O’Sullivan now having the opportunity to win all three of snooker’s Triple Crown events in the same season.
Steve Davis (1987/88), Stephen Hendry (1989/90 and 1995/96) and Mark Williams (2002/03) are the only three players to have previously won all Triple Crown events in the same season, although O’Sullivan will have the opportunity to do so when he heads to Sheffield in April.
When asked about whether he could win an eighth World Championship, which begins at the Crucible on April 20, O’Sullivan said: “I always have a good idea round about February, March whether my game’s in good enough shape to win the Worlds.
“At the moment, I’d probably say it’s not good enough to feel confident of winning. I can still win it, but I’d like to go there with a bit of confidence with my game.
“Longer sessions you have to learn to cruise, just win most of your games in second gear, but at the moment I feel like I’m having to squeeze everything out just to get a result.”
O’Sullivan: “I don’t know how I won!”
Carter looked on course for a first Triple Crown title as he opened up a 5-3 lead after the first session and immediately extended his advantage when play resumed.
O’Sullivan reeled off three frames in a row to get back on level terms before Carter made his ninth century of the tournament in the 13th frame, breaking the record set by O’Sullivan in 2007 and 2009.
However, Carter scored just 51 points in the last four frames as O’Sullivan ruthlessly punished any mistake to win back-to-back Triple Crown events for the first time in his career.
“I don’t know how I’ve won this tournament, to be honest with you,” O’Sullivan admitted. “I’ve just dug deep.
“I’ve tried to play with a bit of freedom and then tonight I just thought, ‘try to keep Ali [Carter] honest and if he’s going to win it, he’s going to have to scrape me off the table’.
“I just wanted to see if he had it at the end. Ali didn’t play great tonight, he played better this afternoon, but tonight he let me off the hook a few times.
“He was aggressive today but tonight he didn’t take on some of the balls I thought he might have and gave me a little bit of breathing space.”
Carter said: “Obviously I’m gutted I lost, it’s all about winning at the end of the day, but before I rocked up here last week I’d have taken the final so there’s a lot of good things to come for me.
“I’m heading in the right direction. Ronnie played very well there in the end. I tried my best and it just wasn’t good enough today.”