Speaking after downing Hawkins on Friday night, O’Sullivan said: “It’d be great to win on Sunday. I’m pleased I’ve got a day off. I don’t know if the nine-mile run had an effect, but I’m not going to stop.
“It’s the best thing in my life at the moment. I was twitching there at the end and Barry should have had me. I got lucky there.”
O’Sullivan is looking to win his third Players Championship having previously triumphed in both 2018 and 2019.
In today’s final, the six-time world champion takes on John Higgins, who has only conceded one frame all tournament and swept past Kyren Wilson in the semis.
The 45-year-old Scot has 30 ranking tournament wins but this is his best ever performance at the Players Championship.
There is a £125,000 prize on the line for the winner, with O’Sullivan looking to improve his 37-30 head-to-head record against Higgins.
Players Championship final LIVE score
Best of 19 frames – afternoon session begins 1pm, evening session 7pm
LIVE: Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-5 John Higgins
Afternoon session: 18-64, 0-103 (92), 21-69 (68), 0-142 (142), 0-138 (138)
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s route to the final
First round: O’Sullivan 6-5 Ding Junhui
Quarter-finals: O’Sullivan 6-1 Jack Lisowski
Semi-finals: O’Sullivan 6-4 Barry Hawkins
John Higgins’ route to the final
First round: Higgins 6-0 Jordan Brown
Quarter-finals: Higgins 6-0 Mark Selby
Semi-finals: Higgins 6-1 Kyren Wilson
O’Sullivan’s Higgins praise
O’Sullivan was full of praise for Higgins after his quarter-final win over Mark Selby, who the Scot thrashed 6-0.
“John just showed what a class player he is because obviously Selby is one of the best in the business at winning those types of matches.
“But Higgins, you could see it was almost like he didn’t want it to end. It was ridiculous snooker really.
“That’s probably the toughest match of snooker I’ve seen in my life. It was bordering on obscenely tough.
“They are very astute around that stuff. It was a real purist’s game of snooker.