Ronnie O’Sullivan became the youngest winner of a ranking tournament at the age of 17.
27 years on and the reigning six times World Champion came up against the rookie from Ireland Aaron Hill, where much has been made of the 18-year-old from Cork who is making his debut season as a Tour professional.
O’Sullivan, 44, who battled his way to a sixth World title faced Hill, and it was clear from the outset of the match that Hill was pumped and eager to take the game to O’Sullivan.
With an early break of 74 in the first, Hill then went 2 – 0 up – showcasing not only some fine safety play but also showing his maturity at such a young age.
O’Sullivan took the next, but it was Hill who took a 3 – 1 lead into the Interval.
It was a very different second half as it was nip and tuck but in the decider Hill showed his composure against the 37 times ranking event winner and booked a place in the next round the last 32.
Much has been made in the media about O’Sullivan’s comments about the lack of talent coming through and the younger ones and their lack of bottle. Hill showed plenty in that match.
Hill told WST after: “That comment was in the back of my head a small bit, but I didn’t worry about it. I just said to myself when he said it, that one day I am going to show him what I can do. I think today was the day.
“I’m speechless at the moment. I didn’t just go out there and be happy to be there. I still wanted to win the match. If I’d lost after being 3-1 up, I’d have been disappointed. I am just so pleased with that victory. Everyone back home, my family and my friends must be buzzing. I just looked at my phone and I think it is going to take until Christmas to reply to everyone.”
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