Snooker: O'Sullivan clinches: Youngest ever UK champion

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The Independent Online
A NEW star of the sport was born in Preston Guild Hall last night as Ronnie O'Sullivan beat the world champion Stephen Hendry 10-6 to win the UK Championship.

O'Sullivan, who turns 18 in seven days' time, became the youngest winner of the game's second greatest prize. 'I've got a taste for winning and I want more of it,' O'Sullivan said.

The Essex teenager never looked back after winning the opening frame with a 78 clearance. While Hendry did not perform as well as O'Sullivan expected, Hendry too was surprised. 'I thought he would miss more balls,' Hendry said.

O'Sullivan, who also knocked out the top-ranked Alan McManus and Ken Doherty on his way to the final, established a 6-2 first-session lead as Hendry made a series of uncharacteristic errors.

After the break Hendry tried his best to stage a mini-revival, getting back to 7-4 and 8-5, but O'Sullivan was not to be denied and a final break of 85 gave him the trophy. 'Ronnie's a legend in the making,' his manager Barry Hearn said. 'It reminds me of coming here with Steve Davis 13 years ago when it all started for us.'

ROYAL LIVER ASSURANCE UK CHAMPIONSHIP (Preston) Semi-finals: S Hendry (Sco) bt J Parrott (Eng) 9-3; R O'Sullivan (Eng) bt D Morgan (Wal) 9-5. Final: O'Sullivan bt Hendry 10-6.