Gracious O'Sullivan reacts to shock Welsh Open final defeat

·3-min read
Ronnie O'Sullivan is bidding for a record-equalling fifth Welsh Open title at Celtic Manor
Ronnie O'Sullivan was stunned by Jordan Brown in the Welsh Open final at Celtic Manor

A GRACIOUS Ronnie O’Sullivan showered Jordan Brown with praise after being denied a record-equalling fifth Welsh Open title by the world No.81 in one of snooker’s biggest ever upsets, writes Paul Martin.

The Rocket began the final as the overwhelming favourite against a player who arrived in Newport as a 750-1 shot having never made it past the last eight in a ranking event.

But Brown has been in inspired form throughout the week at Celtic Manor and provided a fitting end to his fairytale run by taking the deciding frame to win 9-8.

The Northern Irishman has flown up to 45th in the world as a result of his victory, which has also earned him £70,000, and the Rocket was quick to pay tribute to the surprise victor.

"I've enjoyed every minute of that," O’Sullivan said. "I loved playing Jordan and I'm so happy for him to win.

“I fluked a red in that last frame and I could see the disappointment in his face. What a horrible way if I had won it (like that). I'm so happy for him.

“He's such a lovely guy and a fantastic player as well. You don't beat guys like Selby (if you're not).

"And I played alright today. Not many people beat me when I play alright so he's a proper player. It's fantastic for Jordan. It's his night and you couldn't be happier for him. It's been great."

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The Rocket dropped just two frames on his way to the final but that tally was quickly matched within the afternoon session as Brown settled any nerves to take a 2-0 lead.

Aided by consecutive visits of 78 and 107, the Antrim Ferrari took a 5-3 advantage into the evening and kept his composure when the inevitable fightback arrived.

The Rocket showed his frustration by banging the table when he missed a presentable pink with the score at 7-7 and Brown seized his chance to move one frame away from glory.

An O’Sullivan century set up a decider but the Portrush-based potter – who had come through four such situations on his way to the final – held his nerve once more to become the fourth Northern Irishman to win a ranking title after Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Mark Allen.

The Rocket remains without a trophy since winning his sixth World Championship title last summer and goes into this week’s Players Championship having lost his last three ranking finals.

“If I hadn’t won 37 ranking titles and 20 majors, it might have had a little dent in me,” he said.

“But when you’ve been the most successful snooker player of all time, you take disappointments like that in your stride.

“I can’t be too disappointed – I’ve got to play again in a couple of days.

“I just look at it like one continuous tournament these days, you can’t separate them anymore. It’s like having 30 children and trying to remember all their names.”

The Welsh Open was live on Eurosport, Eurosport app and streamed on discovery+

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