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Ronnie O’Sullivan’s is closing in on his most successful season on the professional circuit after winning the Grand Prix.

The 10-3 takedown of Ding Junhui at the Preston Guild Hall, brought back memories for the Essex cueist when taking his first professional title – UK Championship – at the same venue 25 years ago as a 17 year old.

O’Sullivan who played to a high standard all week, haven’t not played since his Masters defeat to eventual winner – Mark Allen, wobbled in his sem-final to Stephen Maguire, before coming through with 3 quick frames, faced China’s number 1, who came through a turgid and titanic battle late on Saturday night with world champion Mark Selby, prevailing 6-5.

The sold-out final, had a scrappy opening with neither player hitting their strides, but Ding with 2 half-century breaks made it 2-2.

O’Sullivan, closing in on a historical 1000 century breaks came closer to achieving this record, when he knocked in 124, 105 and 120 to take a grip on his opponent, having lost to him in last season’s world championship.

At 6-3, O’Sullivan, shut his opponent out in the evening session, as a dejected Ding could only look on and watch the 5 times world champion carry on asserting himself and took the title with an 83.

O’Sullivan, who took his 32nd ranking title, is now 5 behind Stephen Hendry, said afterwards. “I re-dedicated myself to the sport before last year’s worlds and put the work in and I have had a few results.”

This week the tour resumes in Cardiff for the Home Nations – Welsh Open.


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