The final of the Betfair Masters 2013 will be a clash between two of the games hardest match players when Neil Robertson plays Mark Selby for the much coveted title.
Robertson reached the final for a second consecutive year with what looks on the face of it a comfortable 6-2 win over Shaun Murphy but that doesn't tell the whole story.
When Murphy first appeared on our radar as a teenager it was clear that this was a kid with tonnes of natural talent and a rolls royce cue action who could go on to have a long career winning many trophies.Look at him now and yes he has won both the World and UK titles but he probably still hasn't lived up fully to that early potential.One of the main reasons for this was evident in todays match as time and time again he got in first in frames but failed to see the job through,often breaking down in the 40's.This has been something that has dogged him throughout his career and whether it is down to concentration or what it has without doubt cost him dear.
Robertson on the other hand has grown from someone who looked in his early days to be purely an out and out potter into someone who is among the best allround players in the game. This coupled with a keen killer instinct when the line is in sight has made him a formidable opponent for anyone.
It was fairly clear from early on in todays match that Robertson was the most likely winner and when he recovered from a 68 point deficit getting the snooker he required to lead 3-1 at the interval the writing was on the wall.The pattern of the match continued as it was after they resumed with Murphy again spurning some good chances and Robertson clinically taking his chance when it came.The end came in the eighth frame when Robertson mopped up the colours to reach the final and he now stands one win away from becoming the first player to defend the Masters title since the late great Paul Hunter did it in 2002.
His opponent in the final will be Mark Selby after what can only be called a war of attrition in the second semi final which and all this after what had been a free flowing opening four frames to the interval. At that stage Dott was zipping around the table.scoring heavy and taking a 3-1 lead to the break.It was here where things took a turn for the worse though as the fames became disjointed and slow.Dott managed to win a lengthy fifth frame to go 4-1 and looked set to win the 37 minute sixth and make it 5-1 only for him to miss the final black.Selby potted it to make it 4-2 and won a 50 minute next to close to 4-3.
Dott was clearly beginning to feel it now and played what can only be described as a reckless shot that sent reds everywhere in the next allowing Selby to draw level at 4-4.The momentum was now with Selby as Dott cut a thoroughly dejected figure in his seat.and it looked a certainty that Selby would win the frame when he left Dott needing a snooker on the brown.Dott though is a fighter and not only did he get his snooker but won the frame on a respot to take the lead again 5-4.Suddenly he had his sparkle back and potted a superb plant to get in in the next only to wobble a brown in the middle. Selby duly capitalised to force the the decider that it seemed this match was always destined for at and as the time approached half past midnight he won it to clinch the 6-5 victory.
So ontl the final itself and I say it is a battle between two of our hardest match players I don't mean it as an insult to either player. I just mean they are two men who give everything on every shot and no quarter is ever asked for or given by them.Looking at the week as a whole Robertson has to go in as a strong favourite on his general play not to mention the fact that he has had an evenings rest when the other two battled past midnight.Selby though is not world no.1 by accident and will give his all. I think Robertson will be too strong though and I feel he will defend his title possibly 10-7.
Regardless of the result though lets hope this tournament gets the final it deserves.