Belfast Telegraph

Ronnie O'Sullivan looks invincible at snooker's summit

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Frank Brownlow

No player is bigger than their sport – apart from Ronnie O'Sullivan. And O'Sullivan's triumph in the Masters at Alexandra Palace has further underlined that. 'The Rocket' has simply steamrollered everyone in his path and gone some way towards making snooker watchable again.

The sport had slumped since the glory days of Alex Higgins and Jimmy White with a succession of faceless champions proving a real turn-off for TV viewers.

O'Sullivan's world title triumph last year was one of the great sporting feats given that he was returning to the game after a year out following his win at the Crucible in 2012.

But his victory in the £600,000 Masters was right up there as well, O'Sullivan dishing out four hammerings – 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 and 10-4 in the final – to take a title rated second only to the World Championship.

O'Sullivan has five world titles to his credit and, on this form, must have a realistic chance of at least equalling Stephen Hendry's record seven crowns.

There are some great players in today's game – the likes of Mark Selby, who O'Sullivan beat in the final, and Neil Robertson – but none grabs the public's imagination like 'The Rocket'.

Ulsterman Mark Allen has the potential to light up the game and has won the World Open twice, but has yet to crack the game's 'Majors' – World Championship, Masters and UK Championship.

And with O'Sullivan on this kind of form, it's difficult to see anyone halting his victory charge any time soon. A third successive world title – and sixth in all – come May is surely O'Sullivan's for the taking. If he puts his mind to it, of course.

Belfast Telegraph


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