Ugly row mars world snooker final in UK

·2-min read

Ronnie O'Sullivan accused referee Olivier Marteel of "looking for trouble" after an angry exchange marred the opening day of the World Snooker Championship final against fewllow Englishman Judd Trump.

O'Sullivan has one hand on a record-equalling seventh world crown after establishing a 12-5 overnight lead in Sheffield, but the day will be remembered for the 46-year-old's furious response to an admonishment for allegedly making an obscene gesture midway through frame eight.

Marteel gave O'Sullivan what World Snooker Tour later confirmed was a "formal warning" for a "gesture" he made after failing to get out of a snooker, making O'Sullivan visibly annoyed.

O'Sullivan vehemently denied any offence in an unusual interview with Eurosport in his dressing room immediately following the afternoon session, saying: "I just think he (Marteel) seems to be looking for trouble. I just get that vibe from the guy.

"They've got hundreds of cameras out there and they can go and check them all. I'm not going to have any of it because I think he's just trying to create something. He needs to deal with it, not me."

O'Sullivan is already facing an investigation by the WPBSA disciplinary committee for allegedly making a lewd gesture after missing a black in the 13th frame of his 10-5 first-round win over Dave Gilbert.

O'Sullivan had earlier complained to Marteel about a security guard who was moving in his line of sight during the third frame, then the pair became embroiled in a lengthy exchange over the placing of the white following a miss in the fourth frame.

At the end of the session, O'Sullivan neglected to share a customary fist-bump with Marteel, who is officiating in his second world final, although the pair did shake hands prior to the start of the evening session.

The incident marred recognition of a ruthless performance by O'Sullivan, who punished a series of misses by his opponent by winning seven of the nine frames in the evening to surely make Monday's conclusion a formality.

Trump, the 2019 champion, must now win at least two of the eight frames on Monday afternoon to avoid the indignity of becoming the first player to lose a final with a session to spare since Jimmy White, who was beaten 18-5 by Stephen Hendry in 1993.

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