Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Neil Robertson 13-11 in the final of Coral Tour Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan became world number one for the first time since 2010 after beating Neil Robertson 13-11 to win the inaugural Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

The Rocket ends Mark Selby's six-year reign at the top and, at the age of 43, becomes the oldest player to reach the summit since Ray Reardon managed it at 50 in 1983.

Success for O'Sullivan also bagged him his 36th career ranking title - 26 years after his first at the 1993 UK Championship - which is the joint most alongside Stephen Hendry.

He told ITV4: "I've never been driven by being number one in the world but to get there after only playing half the tournaments is probably one of my best achievements."

A frustrating afternoon session for O'Sullivan had left the scores all square at 8-8 heading into Sunday evening's concluding session but The Rocket was much sharper upon the resumption and began with a stunning break of 129 to signal his early intentions.

Robertson wasn't intimidated, though, continuing to snap away at O'Sullivan's heels and he got the better of a tactical 18th frame thanks to a well-taken run of 53.

O'Sullivan edged ahead again when dominating frame 19 but Robertson levelled up once more to leave the pair locked together at 10-10 as the players left the arena for the mid-session interval.

More tactical and tense snooker followed when play got back underway but O'Sullivan was beginning to look the stronger of the two now and put himself within one frame of victory when dictating terms in frame 21 before taking the following frame thanks to a typically fluent run of 55.

Robertson continued to throw his punches, however, and when O'Sullivan missed a tricky black with the white locked to the rails at the beginning of frame 23, the Australian stepped in to keep his hopes alive with a break of 56.

O'Sullivan then missed from distance moments later and Robertson looked well-set to force a deciding frame, building a 35-point advantage before missing a simple black off the spot with the reds perfectly placed.

Like so many times before, O'Sullivan took advantage in ruthless fashion, breezing around the table to finish the match with a flawless break of 89 that made a mockery of the situation and the apparent pressure of trying to get over the winning line.

As was the case at the conclusion of the recent Players Championship, the two players shared a warm embrace at the end of the match, Robertson congratulating O'Sullivan on winning a 36th ranking title and in doing so, reclaiming the world number one ranking from Mark Selby.

As Robertson summed in his post-match interview: "Ronnie came to the table and took them [final break] like the great champion he is."

Robertson edges second session

Neil Robertson produced a battling performance on Sunday afternoon to draw level with Ronnie O'Sullivan at 8-8 in the final of the Coral Tour Championship in Wales.

O'Sullivan had produced a superb display on Saturday evening to lead 5-3 overnight but despite starting the second session with a sublime break of exactly 100, a number of unforced errors began to creep into his game, allowing Robertson to win the final two frames of the afternoon and leave the scores all square ahead of tonight's concluding session.

Despite O'Sullivan's strong start, Robertson reduced his arrears to 6-4 when potting a brilliant long pink from distance to steal a scrappy frame nine and he followed up with a century break of his own (106) to get within one frame of The Rocket.

A break of 55 was enough for O'Sullivan to re-establish his two-frame lead heading into the mid-session interval, but he wasn't at his best upon the resumption despite keeping at Robertson at arms length with a well-taken run of 89 in frame 14 after the Australian had again got back within one by dominating the previous frame.

With two frames of the afternoon session left to play, O'Sullivan was still sitting pretty at 8-6 but Robertson, though looking shaky on occasions himself, won frame 15 with a break of 61 which was brilliantly constructed having come to the table with pink and black both tied up.

When Robertson broke down early in the frame 16, O'Sullivan looked set to inch two frames ahead again but a missed red along with bottom cushion again opened the door for Robertson and he did enough to draw level at 8-8, a couple of tricky pots to middle getting him over the line before the The Rocket refused to play on with only one snooker needed.

That brought an end to proceedings, the two players shaking hands at the end of absorbing afternoon of snooker which leaves the final perfectly poised ahead of tonight's concluding session.

First session recap

Ronnie O'Sullivan's bid for back-to-back final victories over Neil Robertson remains on course after he established a 5-3 lead in the opening session.

O'Sullivan beat Robertson 10-4 at the Players Championship earlier in the month, completing the victory with his 1000th century break, and the Australian is up against it once more in Llandudno.

Robertson in fact took the first two frames of the best-of-25 clash which is played over two days and three sessions, but O'Sullivan responded by rattling off five in a row to take full control.

Breaks of 74, 97, 71 and 67 helped The Rocket pour on the pressure and it was surely vital that Robertson ended the session by taking the eighth frame, potting a thin yellow after a poor safety from his opponent.

While O'Sullivan was not producing the sort of snooker which proved too much for Robertson in Preston a fortnight ago, there were no signs of any hangover following his remarkable victory over Judd Trump on Thursday.

With £150,000 up for grabs for the winner and the World Championship looming, the 43-year-old has so far been all business and while eight frames more are needed, it's clear that Robertson faces a monumental task.

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