Ronnie O'Sullivan survived a stirring comeback from Judd Trump to win his fifth UK Championship title with a 10-9 victory at the Barbican Centre in York.
Trump fought back from 9-4 down, winning five in a row, to force a deciding frame before O'Sullivan finally managed to snatch the victory after just under five hours of play, after his opponent fouled when attempting to get out of a snooker.
"That is the hardest match I have ever played," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport. "I was going through the motions and accepted I was going to get beaten.
"I didn't know what day it was but I found something towards the end and was able to hold my position."
The win secured O'Sullivan's fifth Triple Crown with five triumphs in the World Championship, the UK Championship, and the Masters - snooker's three flagship events.
The Rocket's £150,000 prize moves him up to third in the world rankings, just £25,000 behind new world number one Ding Junhui, while Trump goes up four places to seventh, courtesy of his £70,000 runner-up cheque.
O'SULLIVAN PUNISHED TO TAKE COMMAND
Seemingly hungover from his evening semi-final with Stephen Maguire the night before, Trump struggled in the first session of the final, allowing O'Sullivan to seize control. From one-all the five-time world champion registered breaks of 82 and 81, as he consistently punished Trump's errors, to open a 5-1 advantage.
However, the 2011 champion dug in for the final two frames of the afternoon, pinching both to ensure he trailed only 5-3 going into the evening session.
Trump had further opportunities to claw the deficit back further, but was punished severely by O'Sullivan, whilst holding 48 and 56-point leads in frames nine and 10, to restore his four frame cushion.
A run of 48 from Trump helped close the gap to 7-4, but a magnificent 133 total clearance by his opponent, followed by another poached frame in the next, took O'Sullivan to within one of victory, as Trump became visibly agitated by his play.
ROUSING TRUMP FIGHTBACK THRILLS CROWD
With Trump reeling, victory for O'Sullivan looked to be more of a matter of when, than if, but when presented with an opportunity to wrap up the contest 10-4, he missed a red with the rest, and then potted the white to allow Trump to win a fifth frame.
Inspired from the let off, the Bristolian knocked in back-to-back centuries of 120 and 127 at a brisk pace, narrowly failing to complete total clearances, and an equally impressive 86 in the 17th, reduced O'Sullivan's advantage to a single frame as he went almost 40 minutes without potting a ball.
Evidently rattled, O'Sullivan missed a black off it's spot and ran out of position when just two or three shots from victory, as a nerveless Trump cleared the table with a remarkable 67 clearance to force a deciding frame.
O'SULLIVAN CLINGS ON TO TRIUMPH
Despite Trump's late surge, the match will mainly be remembered for its mistakes rather than breaks, and the final frame encapsulated the contest fittingly.
After both failed to make the most of their initial chances, a poor Trump safety allowed O'Sullivan to lay a tough snooker behind the green. An ungainly effort to nestle into the split bunch of reds proved fatal, as The Rocket struck a composed break of 51 in the cauldron of the Barbican to claim the title.
O'Sullivan's 27th ranking triumph moves him closer to Steve Davis' second place target of 28. Stephen Hendry holds the record at 36. Hendry's all-time professional centuries record is also under threat, as O'Sullivan's 133 in the final marked his 770th ton, just five behind the Scot's record of 775.
The Masters is the next major tournament on the snooker calendar - made up of the world's top 16 players - it begins at the Alexandra Palace in London on January 11.
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