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O'Sullivan downs Carter to win fourth snooker championship

SHEFFIELD, England -- Ronnie O'Sullivan won the 2012 World Snooker Championship after beating Ali Carter 18-11 in the final at the Crucible Theatre on Monday.

Victory gave O'Sullivan his fourth world title while defeat meant Carter had lost in his second final appearance after going down 18-8 to his fellow Englishman in the 2008 edition.

It also meant “The Rocket,” as O'Sullivan is known to his fans, maintained his record of never losing in a World Championship final and this year, at the age of 36, he became the oldest player to lift the trophy since Dennis Taylor triumphed in 1985.

O'Sullivan, who earlier in the tournament had, not for the first time in his career, threatened retirement beat several former champions in Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams, Neil Robertson, as well as two-time runner-up Matthew Stevens on his way to the final.

But after this convincing victory, O'Sullivan insisted he was not about to quit the sport.

“A few people doubted me but I'll let them know when I'm not ready,” he told the BBC. “I certainly haven't gone yet.

“It's been very hard to come here and stand it for 17 days,” O'Sullivan, who has been working with a sports psychologist, added.

“It's an endurance test, the equivalent of doing an ironman. It isn't so much the snooker, it's about controlling your emotions and holding it together.”

Carter joined Jimmy White (six times) and Stevens as players who have appeared in more than one World Championship final without claiming the coveted title, snooker's ultimate prize.

But getting to this year's final was an achievement in itself for Carter.

He had been suffering so badly with Crohn's disease, the bowel condition he was diagnosed with nine years ago, he considered quitting the professional snooker circuit.

However, he knocked out Judd Trump, last year's losing finalist, and in the semifinals Carter defeated Stephen Maguire, the man who ended the career of seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry with a quarter-final thrashing of his fellow Scot.

Carter, paying tribute to O'Sullivan, said: “Maybe if he retires I might win it, who knows.”

He added: “I just kept punching, I was disappointed I was outplayed in the final. Ronnie put me under pressure, his safety was better and when he gets in he's just a genius.

“I've come back to playing half decent and feeling better in myself so I'll keep playing for a bit. I've been to two finals so I believe I can win it one day ... if Ronnie retires.”

O'Sullivan was rarely troubled in the final — making three century breaks including a best of 141 — and resumed Monday with a 10-7 overnight lead.

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England's Ronnie O'Sullivan holds the trophy as he celebrates his victory with his son Ronnie after the final of the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, England on Monday, May 7. O'Sullivan defeated Ali Carter 18 frames to 11.

(AP)

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