Ronnie O'Sullivan makes 1,000th century break, wins Players Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan defeated Neil Robertson to win the Players Championship in Preston. Tai Chengzhe/VCG via Getty Images

Ronnie O'Sullivan became the first snooker player in history to make 1000 career century breaks as he clinched the Players Championship title in Preston.

Five-time world champion O'Sullivan went into Sunday's final against Neil Robertson with 997 century breaks and made two in the afternoon session against the Australian, to move within one of four figures and establish a commanding 7-2 lead.

And with a 9-4 lead going into the final session, O'Sullivan produced something special to achieve history in style.

On a break of 99, the Essex cueman teased the crowd by pausing and switching to play the landmark red left-handed -- O'Sullivan can famously play with both hands -- before going on to seal his 35th career title with a marvellous 134 break.

"I just played really, really well. I played well all week, but I played brilliantly today and to cap it off with 1,000 centuries is great," O'Sullivan told ITV4.

"I suppose to me, it's just what I do since I was seven or eight, playing snooker, potting balls -- I love the game. But to share it with the fans in Preston and any snooker fans, Preston are just lucky that it was here tonight.

"This should be the base for what venues should be because you will get better matches. Players love playing here. It's one of the best venues and it's great.

"To me, snooker is just a sport, it's a game and everyone here loves to watch the game. But as far as human beings go, he's [Robertson] one of the nicest human beings on the circuit so for me that means more. It was nice that I have done it with an opponent I have a lot of respect for."

O'Sullivan was, however, denied one last prize in what was his 50th career final: after sinking the black for a break of 141, the white ball fell into the middle pocket to deny him the tournament's highest break.

Scottish duo Stephen Hendry (775) and John Higgins (745) are the only other two players with over 700 career century breaks.