HONG KONG: World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan held off home favourite Marco Fu 6-4 to lift the Hong Kong Masters 2022 title in front of a world record audience of 9,000 fans on Sunday.
In an epic final between the two players, the English cueist O’Sullivan emerged victorious as he sealed a comprehensive 6-4 victory over Fu in the Best of 11.
O’Sullivan pulled ahead with an early 1-0 lead over Fu as he sealed the opening frame by crafting a magnificent 52 without conceding a point.
Fu, on the other hand, was quick to respond and he did so in a similar fashion as he made a break of 55 on his way to claim a frame while barring O’Sullivan from troubling the scoreboard and drawing level at 1-1.
O’Sullivan then anted his level up and sealed the next two frames. Breaks of 71 and 59 saw the world champion surging to an ominous 3-1 lead at the mid-session.
Fu had a chance among the balls, but a botched plant allowed O’Sullivan to step up and extend his lead to three.
The home crowd then found a moment to cherish in the sixth frame as Fu fired in a fine break of 98 to make it 4-2.
Fu then failed to carry on the momentum from that break and missed a cut back red; allowing O’Sullivan to punish as the latter pounced with 105 to move a frame within the victory at 5-2.
The home favourite then kept his hopes alive with a gutsy clearance of 35 after O’Sullivan missed pink on the yellow pocket. The three-time ranking event winner, as a result, took the ninth to make it 5-4.
O’Sullivan produced his best snooker just when needed, denying Fu a decisive frame with a remarkable century run of 114 to win 6-4.
It is pertinent to mention that this is O’Sullivan’s first title on the World Snooker Tour (WST) since sealing a historic record-equalling seventh World Championship crown at the end of last season.