‘An artist’ – Has Ronnie O’Sullivan made the biggest breakthrough in World Championship history at the Crucible?

Ronnie O’Sullivan marked the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic breaks in World Snooker Championship history with a special break.

O’Sullivan will face Judd Trump in the eighth Crucible final of his stellar 30-year career on Sunday and Monday thanks to a dominating 17-11 win over the four-time world champion. John Higgins in the semi-finals on Saturday evening.

“He was absolutely lethal among the balls,” Higgins told Eurosport. “I don’t think he missed his breaks.

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“He may have broken down when he failed to separate himself from the peloton a few times, but he was absolutely deadly.”

The world no. 1 compiled glorious breaks of 134, 121, 116, 107, 101, 99, 91, 83, 73, 70, 70, 67, 55, 55, 54 and 54 to maintain their quest for a record seventh world title at Sheffield, but the most beautiful run in the semi-final was the 82 achieved in the 18th middle on Saturday morning.

With O’Sullivan just 10-7 clear and trailing 32-22 in a tense tactical conjuncture of the contest, the six-time champion was faced with the prospect of a tricky long red and eight of the seemingly out-of-order reds, clustered at the le right side at the top of the table.

He launched into a utterly remarkable pot streak as he lightened to black with an astonishing run that had to be seen to be believed in restoring his four-frame advantage from a frame over 35 minutes and mired in the security game.

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“There are very few people born on the planet who could do what he just did there,” said the 1991 world champion. Jean Parrot on the BBC.

“Come take a look at this board, put it in your club and see how many points you score from there.”

“Just an artist with that cue ball control,” commented the seven-time winner Stephen Hendry.

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Perhaps it was fitting that O’Sullivan’s miraculous clearance at the 46th World Championship came four decades after ‘The People’s Champion’ Alex “Hurricane” Higgins compiled his iconic 69 in their 16-15 win Jimmy ‘Tourbillon’ White in the 1982 semi-finals.

Higgins had led 15-14 and 59-0 before saving the game with a daring pot-or-die compilation in the penultimate period before a closing 59 allowed the Northern Irishman to s secure a last place before winning a second world title (18 -15) against Ray Redon.

O’Sullivan’s 82 rivals the 92 he produced in the seventh frame of his 18-11 win over Ali Carter in the World Finals a decade ago – an effort he called “the best break ever” en route to a fourth triumph in 2012 – but which was arguably even more impressive for the technical difficulty.

‘It was mental!’ – O’Sullivan talks about his record of 147 at Crucible in 1997

While his 147 built in five minutes and eight seconds at the 1997 World Championship transcends snooker, it was only achievable because all the reds were at the mercy of the icing on the cake.

It’s much harder to discover a winning formula when the odds are stacked against you. Yet somehow O’Sullivan, snooker’s GOAT, lives on.

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