"The Rocket" Ronnie O'Sullivan has always shown a talent for break building and knocking in one big break after another in the early stages of his career, but nobody would of imagined him getting anywhere close to 950 century breaks in the 1990's!
Yesterday at the Shanghai Masters event in China, which this season is an invitational event just like the grand national 2019, O'Sullivan further cemented his place as one of the sports greatest by extending his record tally of century breaks to 950 in his quarter-final match against fellow Essexman Stuart Bingham.
The five-time world snooker champion seems to be in control in the opening exchanges, with top breaks of 50 and 93 from O'Sullivan helping him establish a strong 3-1 lead at their mid-session interval.
When they resumed both players were on fire as they traded century breaks with O'Sullivan hitting a quick 111 (century break #949) before Bingham responded with an excellent 134 of his own to close the gap at 4-2, before O'Sullivan made his landmark 950th career century break, a smooth 140, to go one away from victory at 5-2. He then quickly took the match in the next thanks to a break of 72 to finish a 6-2 winner.
After the match O'Sullivan joked with a World Snooker reporter saying that he might leave us all waiting for the historic 1000th century!
“I’m just going to get to 999 and keep everyone waiting for as long as I want," O'Sullivan said. "You can sit here and talk about century breaks all day, but I will decide when you get the 1000th one."
“It is more of a buzz for everyone to write about it and less of a buzz for me. I get more enjoyment out of keeping you all sweating!"
O'Sullivan has often teased the media and his fans before, showing us a side of his cheeky personality. Most famously in recent years he almost refused to pot the final black in a 147 maximum break against Mark King in the World Open (before being convinced by referee Jan Verhaas!), and at the Welsh Open a few years ago he purposefully went for a pink in a maximum attempt, leaving his final break as 146.
Despite occasional grumbles over recent seasons, O'Sullivan hasn't shown any signs of slowing down or stopping his attendance at bigger snooker events, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him reach that magical 1000th career century break later this season, perhaps even at the Crucible Theatre for the World Snooker Championship?