Ronnie O’Sullivan tried to employ the defensive, yet controversial, break-off style with very poor results in his 13-12 second round loss to Anthony McGill in the 2021 World Championships.
While this can be considered truly shocking, it may have proved that the GOAT may in fact be human after all.
As we all know, the tactic is considered controversial, but it showed that the Essex-native may have run out of ideas having been on the back foot for the majority of the match.
This very approach, which he used a couple of times in the match, most notably in the deciding set, meant that The Rocket’s charge for a seventh Crucible title came to an end that day.
As O’Sullivan rolled the cue into the cushion and into the back of the pack of reds, it knocked one astray, which in turn allowed his Glaswegian opponent to pot into the middle pocket.
O’Sullivan isn’t known for giving his opponents easy chances, normally storming ahead in his signature rapid style after a regulation break, but on this occasion, it was his downfall.
The repeat of the trick brought laughter from inside the Crucible, but alas it would be the speedy O’Sullivan’s opponent who would get the last laugh that day.
The best-of-25 frame match was a corker from start to finish, with O’Sullivan recovering from a 10-5 deficit to burst into a 12-11 lead before McGill would level the scores to 12-12 before the deciding frame.
This led to the Scot smashing a clearance of 85 which saw him win the war 13-12 and clinch a place in the last eight of the World Championship.
This meant that O’Sullivan missed out equalling Stephen Hendry’s record and a new champion would be crowned at the end of this particular edition of the tournament.
The famously outspoken Rocket was humble in defeat and praised the performance of the Scot, but reminded everyone he would be back winning very soon.