O’Sullivan, who had had a almost a year out of the game, returned in fine form but was several tested by 34-year old Hawkins, who ensured that the unpredictable O’Sullivan needed all four sessions of the final to secure the title.

“That is the hardest anyone has pushed me,” O’Sullivan of his final opposition. “I just couldn’t get rid of him but I hung in there.”

O’Sullivan raced to a 15-10 lead only for Hawkins, an 80-1 outsider for the title at the outset of the competition, to bring the scoreline back to within three frames as he mounted a comeback.

It was to be shortlived though as O’Sullivan, who scored a record six centuries in the process won the next two frames to seal the title.

Photo: Getty.