LONDON (AFP) – Ronnie O’Sullivan equalled Stephen Hendry’s all-time record of 775 century breaks en- route to a 6-4 victory over Ricky Walden at the Masters in London on Tuesday.
O’Sullivan, the reigning champion, cruised into a 5-1 lead in the first-round match at Alexandra Palace, only for Walden to hit back and win three frames in a row.
But O’Sullivan completed victory by taking the 10th frame, with a fluke on a yellow allowing him to make a 116 clearance and equal Hendry’s record on the Scot’s 46th birthday.
“You go chasing records and you end up doing it on a fluke!” O’Sullivan said. “I’d had a bit of run through the match and thought ‘I could fluke this one.’”
Hendry, analysing the game for the BBC, said: “It was a matter of time.”
O’Sullivan will now play Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, who recorded a 147 clearance in his first-round win over Stuart Bingham.
Meanwhile, the evening session saw Ali Carter secure an emotional 6-1 victory over Barry Hawkins in his first competitive match since being given the all-clear from lung cancer.
“The reception I got was awesome,” Carter said. “It was as if the crowd had been through the dark days with me.
“To be out there in the arena reminded me that I am one of the best players in the world.”