O'Sullivan claims fourth Crucible crown

Ronnie O'Sullivan put the seal on his glorious tournament - and perhaps one of snooker's great careers too - by carrying off the Betfred.com World Championship title for a fourth time with an 18-11 win over Ali Carter.

Snooker's most exhilarating performer feared he would never add to the Crucible crowns he landed in 2001, 2004 and 2008.

Twelve months ago he had decided to pull out of the World Championship until a late change of heart saw him line up.

The 36-year-old Chigwell cueman becomes the oldest champion since Ray Reardon, who at 45 landed his sixth title in 1978.

When O'Sullivan made his entrance it was to a raucous reception, and the crowd's long-time favourite delivered the triumph so many of them craved.

"I'm not going to worry about 900 people shouting for Ronnie," Carter said, heading into the match. "I might have three or four shouting for me, but I'm in the final and I've got a chance."

The 32-year-old from Tiptree was only very briefly even on level terms though, O'Sullivan pulling away from 3-3 to take a lead he would never look like relinquishing.

O'Sullivan made three centuries in the match, including the 141 he registered on Sunday that enters the record books as the highest break in a World Championship final, and the dash to 101 in the opening session on Monday which was sparked by a silky smooth long red.

In the eveneing, 15-10 ahead entering the final session, he began in the manner of a champion with a 70 break that meant Carter required eight of nine frames to achieve his title goal.

And it was soon all over, O'Sullivan polishing off his triumph with a sharp 61 break.