The Rocket won his eighth Masters title thanks to a 10-7 victory over the Captain, having to battle back from behind to get his hands on the trophy.
The 48-year-old was 3-5 behind to Carter after the first session and the Captain looked great as he knocked in his ninth century of the tournament to win the 14th frame and level up at 7-7.
However, he struggled a bit late on as he hunted down his first Triple Crown title, while O’Sullivan won the last three frames to yet more glory, despite not feeling like he is near his best.
‘I feel relaxed, my cueing is just not great,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport. ‘I’m not confident, that’s the bottom line, I’m not a confident snooker player at the moment. I’m just someone who’s having to battle it out and I don’t like not playing with confidence. I know I can battle it out, but it’s tough sometimes.’
The world number one played with reckless abandon in the first session, but was much more sensible in the evening, saying he really wanted to see if Carter could put him away and win the tournament.
‘The balls went in and I got the result. I just had to keep Ali honest, I thought let’s see if he had the bottle to get over the line,’ said the champion.
‘That was the only thing that turned me on tonight. Let’s just get him to that point. I want to see if he twitches. I love seeing it when their bottle goes. I love it.
‘You can play terrible and still get them in that position and it’s like, let’s see if you can do it? That’s what was driving me on tonight, get him to that point to go, come on, let’s see if you’ve got it?
‘Not many people have. It’s a good place to find out, when you’re out there. Most of them do [feel it] there’s very few that don’t. That’s my main asset really now, I just get them to that point and go, okay it’s about potting big balls and holding yourself together. There’s a few on the tour that can do it but not many, so I always like to get them in that situation and see if they can produce.
‘You know when someone’s bottling it, I’m not saying Ali did, but he let me off the hook tonight, he gave me some breathing space and that gave me a little bit of confidence.’
Carter has now lost three Triple Crown finals to the Rocket after two Crucible showpiece defeats and he used an old Jimmy White line in his runner-up speech.
‘He’s beginning to annoy me,’ joked the Captain. ‘It’s a good week, obviously I’m gutted I lost the final, it’s all about winning at the end of the day. But before I rocked up last week I’d have took the final, so a lot of good things to come for me. I’m heading in the right direction.
‘Ronnie played very well, I know he missed a couple there at the end. I tried my best, it just wasn’t good enough today.’
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