|Dates: 15-21 February Place : Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.|
|Cover: Watch live on Two Wales, iPlayer, Red Button, website and sports app. Highlights on Two Wales, online and on Red Button.|
Jordan Brown has won the 2021 Welsh Open by beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final in Newport.
The final at Celtic Manor was close, but it was 33-year-old Brown from Northern Ireland who surprisingly won 9-8 over 45-year-old O’Sullivan.
Brown built on a 5 v 3 afternoon stretch to win the Ray Reardon Trophy and claim the £70,000 winner’s cheque.
I knew if I stopped watching Ronnie, I wouldn’t win, so I focused on my game, Brown said.
It was a privilege to play against Ronnie in the finals.
I’ve always believed in myself, I’ve had a few dark days, but that makes you stronger as a player and as a person.
Five years ago I thought I should get straight into snooker and now it’s paying off.
Brown becomes the first Northern Irishman and the lowest ranked player to win the Welsh Open title.
He is also the lowest ranked player since Dave Harold won the Asia Open in 1993.
It’s a story of hard work and determination for the world number 81, who was just one match away from leaving the tour a few months ago to work in a gas station three years ago.
He continued his remarkable form in this tournament, taking a 4-1 lead over Celtic Manor this afternoon.
Brown, nicknamed Antrim Ferrari, got off to a good start in his first special stage, winning the first two frames.
He looked relaxed and determined after winning the first frame, in which both players made mistakes.
O’Sullivan posted a 74 in the third frame for a 2-1 lead, but Brown answered with a 78 for a 3-1 halftime lead.
Brown won the fifth frame with a break of 107, but O’Sullivan’s snooker followed with breaks of 135 and 121 to win the sixth and seventh frames and reduce the deficit to 4-3.
However, the Northern Irishman took a 5-3 lead at the end of the afternoon session at no. 8.
O’Sullivan went into the evening session focused and narrowed the gap in the ninth frame.
He equalized at 5-5 just after halftime with 68, but then took the lead and won the next frame with a 61 break after Brown missed a red in the left center pocket.
Frame 12 was an exciting battle, but Brown held on and equalized before halftime for 6-6.
A quiet Brown took advantage of a frustrated O’Sullivan and scored 13 points. The frame went over, but the experienced Englishman answered with an elegant 57, including nine blue and one yellow, to bring the game to 7-7.
O’Sullivan missed the pink with 25 points on the board to give Brown a chance to steal the next frame, which he did with a 56 break.
However, the world champion fought back with a break of 116 to make it 8-8 and force a countdown in the final frame.
Brown kept his cool in the deciding round despite early luck from O’Sullivan and was crowned Welsh Open champion.
I enjoyed every minute of it, O’Sullivan said.
Jordan is a great guy and I’m really glad he won.
I slipped into the red on the last shot and saw the disappointment in his eyes, and that would have been a terrible way to win.
I played well, and not many people beat me when I play well – but I couldn’t have been happier for him.