4th December 2023 – (London) Ronnie O’Sullivan, the renowned British snooker player, added another milestone to his illustrious career on Sunday as he clinched his eighth U.K. Championship title in an enthralling final against China’s Ding Junhui. The intense battle took place in York and culminated in O’Sullivan’s victory with a final score of 10-7.
O’Sullivan, who had already made history as the youngest ever UK champion at the age of 17 back in 1993, now holds the record as the oldest winner of the tournament in 2023, accomplishing this feat just two days before his 48th birthday. His remarkable achievement further solidifies his status as one of the greatest snooker players of all time.
With this triumph, O’Sullivan has extended his lead on the list of players with the most UK Championship victories. His eight titles are followed by Steve Davis with six, Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, John Higgins, and Neil Robertson, each with three.
The victory not only earned O’Sullivan the prestigious UK Championship title but also came with a substantial monetary prize of £250,000. Moreover, his triumph reaffirmed his position as the current world No. 1 snooker player, solidifying his dominance in the sport. Ding Junhui, despite falling short in the final, received £100,000 for his commendable performance and secured a spot in the top 16 of the world rankings, guaranteeing his qualification for the upcoming Masters tournament. Coincidentally, Ding will face O’Sullivan once again in the first round of the Masters, promising another thrilling encounter between these talented players.
The final match showcased an intense battle between the two competitors. In the afternoon session, Ding displayed remarkable resilience, staging a comeback from a 4-1 deficit to level the score at 4-4. However, O’Sullivan’s exceptional snooker skills shone through in the evening session. With a brilliant break of 84, he regained the lead at 5-4. Ding managed to restore parity in the tenth frame, but O’Sullivan then took control of the match with impressive contributions of 87 and 79, establishing a 7-5 lead at the mid-session interval.
Ding, determined to stay in the contest, mounted a strong resurgence. He showcased his prowess with runs of 52 and an impressive 104, claiming two consecutive frames and once again bringing the score to a deadlock at 7-7.
Yet, it was O’Sullivan who ultimately found the composure and skill needed to secure victory. Notable breaks of 100 and 74 propelled him to a commanding 9-7 lead. The atmosphere in the venue reached a crescendo in the 17th frame as O’Sullivan delighted the crowd with a mesmerizing break of 127.
Expressing his joy and satisfaction with the win, O’Sullivan remarked, “I love competing, and I love that I went out there tonight and I used my head. I just wanted to go out there today and try hard to be professional and honest.” He also expressed his admiration for Ding, acknowledging him as a classy player and a gentleman. O’Sullivan recognized the honour of sharing the final table with Ding and appreciated the support from fans in China and around the world.
Ding Junhui graciously acknowledged O’Sullivan’s exceptional performance, stating, “It was a very good week. I knew it was going to be very tough tonight. I missed a couple of shots to win frames in the first session. I tried to get more points and fight to win a frame then get another and see what happens. To be 4-4 was not too bad, but he played better tonight.”