Ronnie O’Sullivan has equalled Stephen Hendry’s all-time record of 775 centuries in the final frame of his 6-4 Masters win over Ricky Walden at Alexandra Palace.
He needed an outrageous fluke on the yellow but cleared the table to wrap up victory and match the long-standing record on what is Hendry’s 46th birthday.
O’Sullivan had been cruising at 5-1 in the first-to-six opening round contest in north London but Walden rallied to close the gap to 5-4.
Ronnie O’Sullivan punches the air in celebration after equalling Stephen Hendry’s record of 775 centuries
O’Sullivan matched Hendry’s record in the final frame of his 6-4 Masters win over Ricky Walden
However, the final frame 116, his second century of the afternoon, finally killed off Walden’s spirited challenge and ‘the Rocket’ will now face Marco Fu in the second round.
Sitting next to Hendry in the BBC Sport studio, O’Sullivan said: ‘I could have had it earlier on. You start to make silly mistakes when you are chasing a record. I scraped over the line.’
‘You go chasing records and you end up doing it on a fluke!
‘I’d had a bit of ‘run’ through the match and thought ‘I could fluke this one’.
Hendry reacted by saying: ‘I am not bothered, it was a matter of time.’
There were some anxious moments for the ‘Rocket’ in his first round encounter as Walden rallied from 5-1 down to 5-4 in the first-to-six contest
Stephen Hendry had long held the record for the most centuries at 775
O’Sullivan, currently No 3 in the world, also holds the record for the number of 147 maximum breaks in professional competition (13) and the fastest competitive 147 break (five minutes 20 seconds).
He is aiming for his sixth Masters title. O’Sullivan defeated Mark Selby 10-4 in last year’s final.
Ronnie O’ Sullivan
Frames won: 5639
Average frames per century: 12.1
Most centuries at World Champs: 144
Frames won: 6878
Average frames per century: 15.14
Most centuries at World Champs: 127
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