Ronnie O'Sullivan came from behind to claim a record eighth Masters title with a brilliant 10-7 victory over Ali Carter at Alexandra Palace on Sunday; O'Sullivan has a chance to win all three Triple Crown events in the same season for the first time
11:22 UK Monday 15 January 2024
Ronnie O'Sullivan admits he is still not sure his game is good enough to win an eighth world title later this year, despite recording a record Masters victory.
O'Sullivan recovered from 6-3 down to beat Ali Carter 10-7 to claim a record eighth Masters title at Alexandra Palace, 29 years since he first won the event, making him the oldest winner in the tournament's history.
The 48-year-old won seven of the last eight frames to secure victory and the £250,000 top prize, a month after winning the UK Championship for the eighth time, with O'Sullivan now in position to win all three snooker tournaments. 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 opportunity for that when he heads to Sheffield in April.
Asked if he could win an eighth World Cup, which starts at the Crucible on April 20, O'Sullivan said: “I always have a good idea in February and March if my game is in good enough shape to win the Championship of the world.
“Right now I'd probably say it's not good enough to feel confident about winning. I can still win it, but I'd like to go in there with a bit of confidence with my game.”
“You have to learn to drive longer practices, just win most of your games in second gear, but at the moment I feel like I have to squeeze everything out of me just to get a result.”
O'Sullivan: “I don't know how I won!”
Carter was looking for a first Triple Crown title when he opened up a 5-3 lead after the first meeting 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 hit his ninth century of the tournament in the 13th frame, equaling O'Sullivan's record of 2007 and 2009.
But Carter scored just 51 points in the final four frames as O'Sullivan ruthlessly punished any mistake to win back-to-back Triple Crown events for the first time in his career.
“To be honest, I don't know how I won this tournament,” O'Sullivan admitted. “I just dug in deep.
“I tried to play with a little bit of freedom and then tonight I thought, 'Try to keep Ali.' [Carter] honest and he's going to have to scratch me off the table if he's going to win it'.
“I just wanted to see if he had it on his end. Ali didn't play great tonight, he played better this afternoon but he let me down a couple of times tonight.”
“He was aggressive today, but he didn't take some of the balls tonight that I thought he might have and he gave me a little bit of room to breathe.”
Carter said: “Obviously I'm gutted to lose, it's all about winning at the end of the day, but before I rocked here last week I would have been in the final so there's a lot of good things ahead of me.
“I'm going in the right direction. Ronnie played really well there in the end. I tried my best and it just wasn't enough today.”
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