Q Radio Sport
Antrim man Jordan Brown has pulled off a sensational Welsh Open triumph, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in the final on Sunday night.
Brown had beaten Mark Selby in the quarter-finals and Stephen Maguire in the semis but he was the clear underdog coming into this one.
The 33-year-old’s previous best performance in a ranking event had come at last month’s German Masters where he reached the last eight.
Nonetheless, he produced another remarkably composed performance to outgun the Rocket and become just the fourth Northern Irishman to win a ranking title, after Mark Allen, Denis Taylor and Alex Higgins.
The world number 81, who started the tournament as a 750-1 outsider, held his nerve to clinch a 9-8 win and become the lowest ranked winner of a ranking title in over a quarter of a century.
A brilliant break of 74 in the decider sealed victory and completed a spectacular change in fortunes for a player who almost fell off the tour last year after a string of poor results.
Breaking – dramatic final frame decider & NI’s Jordan Brown has won the #WelshOpen
The world number 81 beats all-time great Ronnie O’Sullivan for his 1st ranking tournament victory. 9-8, a massive upset at Celtic Manor.
— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 21, 2021
Brown had shown a glimpse of the form that would sweep him to the final when he reached his first career quarter-final at the German Masters.
But few could have anticipated his week at Celtic Manor, in which he won four consecutive matches in final-frame deciders, culminating in seeing off Selby in the quarter-finals, before sweeping aside Maguire 6-1 in the last four.
Seemingly impervious to nerves, Brown built a 4-1 lead against O’Sullivan, who only managed to haul back the first session deficit to 5-3 on the back of two consecutive centuries.
Brown, who had scored a century of his own earlier in the match, came under inevitable pressure from the favourite at the start of the concluding session, and breaks of 68 and 61 sent O’Sullivan into the lead for the first time in the match at 6-5.
Unruffled, Brown took the next two to move two frames from victory at 7-6, and although O’Sullivan levelled again, the world champion showed frustration when over-cutting a simple pink in the next, and Brown’s brilliant 56 clearance to blue took him within one frame of the title.
Typically, O’Sullivan responded with a 119 clearance to force a decider, but a long red from Brown gave him the first chance in the decider and he brilliantly executed his opportunity to earn the £70,000 winner’s cheque.