O'Sullivan does it again in style

Ronnie O’Sullivan… a remarkable run.-AP

The quick-fire win confirms that O'Sullivan is in a class of his own. By Clive Everton.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's third world title has restored his pre-eminence at the top of the world rankings by a huge margin. His defeat of Allister Carter (18-8) has pocketed a first prize of �250,000 and a half share of the �157,000 bonus available for a 147. Carter's �125,000 as runner-up also brought him by far the biggest payday of his 12-year professional career.

"I'm happy to have won it but it was tough" said O'Sullivan. "Even when I had a big lead I was thinking in the back of my mind that it would be a killer if I lost. When you've got 1,000 people here and millions watching on TV the pressure can make it hard to think straight."

In comparison with his 17-6 semi-final trouncing of Stephen Hendry, O'Sullivan's performance in the final was no more than average - below it in the penultimate session earlier - but it was sufficient to pull away from the mentally exhausted Carter, extending his overnight 11-5 lead to 16-8, leaving him needing only two of the scheduled 11 frames in the evening. O'Sullivan polished it off in two.

O'Sullivan's triumph makes him only the third player, after Steve Davis with six and Hendry with seven, to win more than two world titles since the Crucible became the home of the championship in 1977.

Carter had never previously gone beyond the world championship quarter-finals and failed to capitalise on a 40-0 lead in the opening frame, which was enlivened by a bizarre black which hit the corner jaws at speed, leapt into the air and descended vertically from a height of nine inches into the pocket.

When O'Sullivan, who had led 11-5, secured that frame with his late 52 and added two of the next three, it seemed conceivable he might win with a session to spare as had Steve Davis, over Cliff Thorburn in 1983 and John Parrott six years later, and Stephen Hendry, against Jimmy White in 1993.

Carter's pride, though, helped him to breaks of 84 and 71 as he won two of the next three frames. O'Sullivan never gave way to impatience but there was insufficient threat to stimulate him.

On the resumption, O'Sullivan's 68 left Carter fruitlessly pursuing a snooker so the following frame seemed almost like the last rites to a disappointingly one-sided final in what was otherwise one of the liveliest and highest-quality championships for several years.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008