King comeback rocks Ronnie at German Masters
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Romford potter rallies to reach last 16
Mark King channelled the spirit of Belfast as a remarkable comeback saw him win four consecutive frames and knock five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan out of the F66.com German Masters last night.
The Romford potter was on the cusp of elimination in the first round in Berlin, but recovered impressively from 4-1 down to take his place in Thursday’s last 16, where Tom Ford awaits.
It was a manner of victory King has become accustomed to in recent months, after taking his first ranking title in 25 years as a professional by recovering from 5-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins to the Coral Northern Ireland Open crown in November.
And the world number 21 admitted his ability to launch a comeback has given him a massive amount of confidence on the table as breaks of 93 and 71 assisted his charge.
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“That’s up there as one of my better comebacks,” said King. “I never give in, we saw that against Barry, and at 4-1 I told myself I’ve been there and done this before.
“Ronnie is a different kettle of fish – the best player that’s ever played – but I knew I could do it and I played really aggressively, really positively and went for my shots.
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“I felt comfortable, he missed a few and the rest is history. I wasn’t playing badly early on, so I wasn’t too disheartened, and when I got in the balls I was able to open up as quickly as possible.”
Victory over last month’s Dafabet Masters champion was a fifth in nine meetings for King, one of the few men in the game to have a strong record against O’Sullivan.
But it seemed unlikely to go his way when, at 1-1, O’Sullivan reeled off some excellent snooker, with breaks of 74, 69 and 81 doing the damage to see him one frame away from going through.
Yet with plenty of intriguing battles between the two in the past, it was King who held his nerve to take the bragging rights, despite missing a potentially vital pink in the last frame.
“We’ve got plenty of history that people don’t really know about since we were kids,” he added.
“It’s not a needle match, but it’s always nice to beat each other, he’d have been over the moon if he’d won this one.
“That’s rivalry, it’s good and you’ve got to have it.
“I’ve had some great time to reflect on Belfast, the UK Championships came a bit too quickly for me, but I’ve got the chance to put my head down and practice hard.”
*Watch the German Masters LIVE and Exclusive on Eurosport 1, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.