An Essex lad with an aeronautical nickname and a landmark 147 to his name at this year's World Championship will win the final here today. Ali "the Captain" Carter meets the criteria on all fronts, but so does Ronnie O'Sullivan, and it is the "the Rocket" who will resume their best-of-35 frames match today with a commanding 11-5 overnight lead, and one hand on a third title.
Carter, a qualified pilot, made the first 147 of his career last Tuesday and is hoping to pull off the biggest final shock since Joe Johnson, 22 years ago, beat the mighty Steve Davis 18-12. The 28-year-old world No 14 from Tiptree turned up here yesterday for his first final in any ranking event.
Star turn O'Sullivan, the biggest draw on the circuit, started as the hottest of favourites. His career match record against Carter is 8-0. And after yesterday's 16 frames, the odds on the 2001 and 2004 champion claiming a third title got slimmer by the pot.
The 32-year-old O'Sullivan is looking to become the first man over the age of 31 to lift the title since Johnson. Although he did not play at the awe-inspiring peak which led to a record ninth maximum of his career last Monday, he was comfortably in control from the start and punished a lot of Carter's errors.
Carter scored the first points of the day but then the white, propelled by a cue gripped too tight, jumped clean over the target ball. His opponent did not capitalise straight away but when Carter missed a red after a safety exchange, O'Sullivan made a clearance to the black of 30 to go 1-0 up. Some big hits made it 3-0, but Carter responded with a 104 – his sixth century of the tournament – for 3-1. O'Sullivan won the next to go 4-1 up, but then Carter kept the score decent at 4-2.
O'Sullivan took the next two frames, then the first of the evening, with a 78 break. Carter nicked the next frame, O'Sullivan scored an 86 for 8-3 and Carter knocked a 76 for 8-4.
Carter hit a break of 80 for 8-5, but the favourite reeled off three frames in a row, ending the night with a 106, his 12th century of the tournament.
World Snooker Championship (Sheffield) Final: R O'Sullivan leads A Carter 11-5 (81-56, 127-0, 99-4, 0-104, 86-4, 62-76, 65-18, 73-0, 78-0, 36-60, 86-8, 28-93, 45-80, 126-0, 77-32, 110-5).