Snooker: O'Sullivan destroys below-par Doherty

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan took the UK Championship crown for the third time last night with a 10-1 demolition of Ken Doherty in York. The world champion effectively guaranteed victory by building an 8-1 lead in the opening session and needed less than 20 minutes on his return to the arena to wrap up his first title of the season.

It was a mesmerising display by the world No 2, who maintained his superb semi-final form against Mark Williams, which he had described as the best of his career. "It was an unbelievable match to play in ­ there are electric waves going through me," O'Sullivan had said of that match. "Mark played out of his skin. I scored heavily and didn't miss a long pot all day, but I couldn't shake him off."

O'Sullivan's cause was also helped greatly by a woefully below-par performance from Doherty, who accumulated only 43 points in the last eight frames of the match. The Irishman committed a series of elementary mistakes which made O'Sullivan's attempt to become only the fifth man to claim the world and UK titles in the same year much easier than he could have imagined.

There was little sign of what was to come when, after O'Sullivan had taken the first frame following a straightforward miss on the green by his opponent, Doherty hit a superb break of 95 to make it 1-1.

But the "Essex Exocet" edged ahead again by knocking in a 72 break after Doherty had failed to pot a red along the cushion, and then carved out his own opportunity in the next to compile a magical 106.

After the interval, the Dubliner again O'Sullivan to make a decisive 41, and soon it was 5-1 as the 25-year-old from Chigwell sunk a devastating long red and rattled in a run of 72.

The fourth seed's misery continued when O'Sullivan went further ahead thanks to a dashing 62, starting with another amazing pot, and then pounced on another loose shot by Doherty to go up 7-1 up with a break of 49.

Doherty had a chance to pull one back in the final frame of the afternoon, but was so demoralised he could not take it, and O'Sullivan compiled a 59 break with typical aplomb to put himself within touching distance of the crown.

The match continued in the same vein at the start of the evening session with another Doherty error leading to an O'Sullivan break of 66. By now, the 1997 world champion knew it was all over and inevitably another O'Sullivan half-century wrapped things up, a 58 break putting the trophy beyond the Doherty's reach.

The margin of success was the greatest in the UK final since it reverted to a best-of-19 format in 1995. Previously, Steve Davis had beaten Terry Griffiths 16-3 in 1981.

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