Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2024

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Luca Brecel TV pundit sneaks fan into venue to watch final | Other | Sport

Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Luca Brecel 5-2 in Wednesday’s final to triumph in the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in Saudi Arabia. After the one-sided battle on the table, Ken Doherty, on punditry duty in the Middle East, revealed that he had made one lucky fan’s day by sneaking him into the event.

Brecel – who beat Mark Allen 4-2 in the semi-finals – held his own at the start of the match, with the pair heading into the interval level at 2-2.

O’Sullivan made breaks of 95 and 94 before turning up the tempo and producing a 121 to move 3-2 ahead and a 124 to wrap up the maiden title.

The world No. 1 pocketed the £250,000 top prize after defeating Judd Trump 4-1 in the semi-finals earlier in the day.

After The Rocket secured his latest career achievement, former world champion Doherty explained that one snooker follower, in particular, would have loved watching “his hero” lift the trophy.

“There was a guy outside, he drove eight hours and he couldn’t get a ticket,” Doherty explained during Eurosport’s coverage.

“He tried to buy a ticket, so I let him in with my ticket. I hope Emily doesn’t mind, but he got in to see Ronnie O’Sullivan, his hero.

“To see him win this, he’ll be so chuffed. His eight-hour journey back home won’t be so bad after all.”

The Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker introduced an eye-catching golden ball – placed on the top cushion throughout a frame for as long as a player could still complete the maximum break and removed when that opportunity was gone.

It was worth 20 points to add to the 147 maximum and would have seen a successful potter pocket a mouth-watering £395,000.

No competitor achieved the feat, with John Higgins coming closest when he sunk 15 reds and blacks but overhit his approach to the yellow during his second-round win against Mark Williams.

The prize money for converting the golden ball is set to be doubled at the next edition of the event, and O’Sullivan vowed to take it home next time around.

He said: “I’ll get the golden ball next year. I didn’t want to take it all at once. I’ll take the tournament this year and then the golden ball next year. It’ll be great.”

The 48-year-old expressed his delight with how the tournament in Saudi Arabia went, paying particular praise to the atmosphere during and in between frames.

“It’s been a fantastic tournament, brilliant venue,” O’Sullivan explained at the end of his successful run.

“These are the tournaments you want to play in—one table, great crowd, great atmosphere, and the music was going in between the frames. It was like we were in some sort of rave.”

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