BELFAST // Ronnie O'Sullivan believes he can reach 30 ranking titles before he retires after taking his 21st at the Northern Ireland Trophy. He saw off Dave Harold 9-3 in the final to win his third ranking tournament within the past nine months. Stephen Hendry's record of 36 crowns may be out of sight but O'Sullivan feels he can surpass Steve Davis's total of 28. "I should be able to improve on that. I have thought about it, and seven more is not that many," he said.
"It would be nice to get to 30 if I play long enough. My form is much more consistent than it has been in the past. I still go missing for a couple of frames, but then I put in four or five good ones." O'Sullivan, 32, revealed his new level of consistency has been achieved through alterations to his cue action which have been ongoing for several years. "It's down to the technical work I've been doing with [the coach] Frank [Adamson] since 2001," said the world champion and world No 1. "There are still things that I'm working on but I'll keep it to myself just what they are.
"I was frustrated for a long time and I've worked with a lot of different coaches so there's a message there somewhere. Sometimes I wanted to give it up, but I stuck in there. Last year I started playing well in practice and enjoying it, I found something that I felt could last. I've showed in winning this tournament that it's no fluke, I've hit the ground running." As for the match against Harold, O'Sullivan said: "It was workmanlike, I played well in patches and I felt strong. From 1-0 down I got on top of him and won a few good frames. For the first four frames in the evening I was disappointed not to nail it. Then in the last frame I started thumping the balls in again.
"I came here just hoping to win a couple of matches, so I'm delighted to have won the tournament. Usually I aim to start playing well around December in time for the UK and the Masters, so it's great to blow the cobwebs away early in the season." firstname.lastname@example.org