Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-8 Mark Selby
Having played some careless shots to lose the final frame before the interval, it was deja vu in the first tonight as again Ronnie O’Sullivan came back from needing a snooker to snatch it on the black. He must have been painfully disappointed and his break-off shot in frame ten seemed to confirm that as he left Ronnie a red to the middle-pocket.
What was to follow though for the three frames before the interval was an amazing run of the ball for Selby as despite looking out of sorts and missing a few chances, lady luck came to his rescue and left nothing on for his opponent each time. Having made it 5-5 he then went on to take the next two frames for good measure, the first with a workmanlike break of 89 and frame 12 with a much more fluent 114.
O’Sullivan just looked bemused by the whole situation and it is safe to say that the interval came at the right time for him. The first frame back was pretty much a must-win for him I think and win it he did, largely thanks to a break of 53.
Frame 14 seemed to follow the pattern of the rest of the match as it was Selby who worked himself a sizeable lead before breaking down and allowing O’Sullivan back into it. Having at one point led by 42 points with just 43 on though, Selby slowly let it slip and a tremendous clearance from O’Sullivan brought them level at 7-7 and prompted a rare fist pump from him.
He looked to have all the momentum now as he turned on the style with a century break in the next to go back into the lead at 8-7, but Selby kept on fighting and when I probably expected him to fade, he notched a break of 69 to level things up once again.
Again though his Achilles heel today of losing frames from a commanding position was to strike again and having missed a tough frame-ball brown rather than play a snooker behind the green, the chance fell to Ronnie who duly made it 9-8.
As the clock struck midnight the tension continued to mount in a bizarre 18th frame which saw not one but two re-racks! After a long safety exchange though it was Mark who cracked first, overhitting a long red and leaving O’Sullivan with a clear opportunity to take Masters title number four which he duly did.
For O’Sullivan it is yet another great title to add to his CV, particularly when you consider that he has done so with the aid of a new cue having smashed his old one to bits last Friday during practice. He did not play at his best today but he held his nerve when he had to which ultimately proved to be the difference.
Mark on the other hand will be gutted to lose in the manner that he did, having seen at least three frames slip by when he could and should have won all of them.