Sunday, 9 October 2011

Record-breaking Ronnie wins Pink PTC

Ronnie O'Sullivan became the first player to win two PTC titles in the same season tonight.

His 4-2 victory against Matthew Stevens in the PTC7 final in Gloucester - renamed the Pink PTC for its support of Breast Cancer Care - also means he joins Judd Trump and Mark Selby as the only multiple PTC winners.

That in itself is no easy task.

The reason only three players have managed to lift the trophy twice out of the 19 events so far is because it's such an unforgiving format.

They're short matches played intensely over a few days with no seeding priority for any of the top players. For the professionals, it takes seven straight wins to come out on top.

But Ronnie has managed it twice this season - and fully deserved his win this weekend.

From the very first ball of this tournament, he was 100 per cent focused on the job in hand. And unfortunately, this isn't something you can always say with confidence about Ronnie.

It's been widely publicised that O'Sullivan dislikes the PTC format. He'd much rather be playing the big tournaments. But if he doesn't apply himself to these pro-am tournaments, he'll lose the right to compete in the majors.

The first part of this season for Ronnie has been all about fighting to preserve his top 16 status. Victory at the PTC1 in Sheffield went a long way to staving off the chasing pack, but it looks as if he faces the same challenge again up until the second rankings revisions.

That's the harsh reality for a player who still stakes a massive claim as the best in the business. But judging by Ronnie's attitude in Gloucester this weekend, he's prepared to face up to it and graft out matches in these smaller events.

That's because despite his bravado, snooker still means everything to Ronnie.

If it didn't, he wouldn't be playing like he did this weekend. He showed great application, fighting tooth and nail in every match and as a result, came out the victor. That's no huge surprise. When Ronnie gets in the zone like he did this weekend, he'll always be in with a great shout of taking home the trophy.

And that's exactly what he did. He made some glorious breaks along the way and even showed his will to win frames that looked beyond him. For the first time in ages, he continued into the snookers required stages of frames, showing fantastic resolve.

That heart for the fight along with his devastating  break-building skills is only going to make a recipe for success.

If he continues to show both, he will retain his top 16 status with ease and will start challenging for the major honours again. There's no doubt about that.

The other fantastic success story of this tournament was Stevens' trip to the final. He became the first Welshman to make a PTC final this season, and came mighty to close to what would have been a fairytale win.

On the same day as the fifth anniversary of Paul Hunter's death, it would have been a fitting tribute for his best friend, Matthew, to win the tournament.

It wasn't quite to be, but Ronnie cannot be denied his win.

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