Ronnie O'Sullivan showed once again today why he is now regarded by most to be the greatest player we have ever seen,as he powered to a 10-4 victory over Mark Selby to lift the 2014 dafabet Masters title.
This was the fifth time Ronnie has lifted the Masters title & when put alongside his five World & four UK titles it is a mighty impressive haul in a career that,only a few years ago looked as if it would be remembered as been one of underachievement.
It is a real testament to him and the work he has put in,that he has now hit such a purple patch of form at an age where it is widely believed his powers should be in terminal decline.
Into the match itself then and it was Ronnie who flew out of the blocks taking the opening frame with a 97 after Selby had missed an attempt at a long red.1-0 quickly became 2-0 thanks to a break of 70 & then 3-0 with a run of 96.
Ronnie was starting to produce the kind of performance that swept Walden aside in the quarter final,as the normally unflappable Selby seemed like a rabbit in the headlights and things were to get worse for the Leicesterman in the next as he let his first real chance slip and Ronnie cleared to make it 4-0.
On resumption of play the score quickly became 5-0,as thoughts turned to the only time we have had a whitewash in the Masters final(Steve Davis beating MIke Hallett 9-0 in 1988).That at least was avoided in the next when Ronnie missed a blue when looking like making another frame winning break.the score now 5-1
It says a lot about what we have to come to expect from Selby that even at this stage thoughts were there that if he could win the last two of the session that he still would be in with a shout here.Ronnie obviously felt that too as he battled back to force a respot in the next and he took obvious pleasure from knocking it in to go 6-1 before rounding off an almost perfect session,taking the last to lead 7-1.
Coming out tonight Ronnie showed he was in no mood to delay things by taking the first with a 90 to go 8-1,but somehow missed the easiest of frame ball browns in the tenth and Selby also added the next to at least force the interval making it 8-3.
We have seen any great comebacks in the history of this event but Ronnie ensured this wasn't going to be one of them by winning the twelfth to go 9-3 and although Selby managed to pull one more back after the interval Ronnie got the frame he needed to claim the 10-4 win and collect the £200,000 top prize.
For Selby it will be a disappointment that he never really got going at any stage today,but he again showed what a classy individual he is by never giving up and making Ronnie win the frames he needed,rather then merely surrendering them to him.This day though belonged to only one man.
Ronnie has once again shown this week that when he is on it,there is simply not another player in the game who can live with him. Surely now there can't be many people left who don't agree that Ronnie is the greatest player to ever pick up a cue.Just how many more times he can lift the games big prizes you feel is purely dependent on Ronnie himself.
That is a discussion for another day though,for now lets just once again salute a man who we are just so privileged to be able to witness ply his trade, our Master,Ronnie O'Sullivan