The 2014 dafabet Masters final will once again see Mark Selby face off against Ronnie O'Sullivan after both eased through their respective semi finals today.
In the first semi final Mark Selby continued his love affair with this tournament,reaching his 5th final here in seven years with a commanding 6-1 victory over Shaun Murphy
Selby of course very nearly went out of this tournament on Thursday night when he trailed John Higgins 5-3 and perhaps it was the freedom sometime felt by the reprieved man that spurred him into action today,as he started like a man possessed,winning the opening two frames with breaks of 86 & 104,without Murphy evenpotting a ball.
That trend seemed to be continuing in the next until,with a 50 point lead,he did miss one,unfortunatly for \Murphy he was unable to counter and Selby made it 3-0.Into the next and Murphy had his first real chance to get off the mark.until he missed a pink when in the balls and Selby pounced again to lead 4-0 at the interval..
By now Selby was no longer producing the flawless snooker he had in the early part of the match,but despite a few misses he was still in complete control winning a scrappy fifth to move to within one of the final at 5-0.Murphy at least avoided the whitewash,claiming the next,but the end was not far away as Selby won the next to close out the match 6-1.
This was as impressive a display as we have seen from Selby in quite a while,but he will know he will need to produce a performance of equal,if not higher quality if he is to get the better of the Rocket in tomorrows final.I say this despite the fact that Ronnie did not produce the same fireworks in his semi final tonight,as he had against Walden yesterday.
Over the years Ronnie has rightly gotten the reputation as a superb front runner so Stephen Maguire would have known coming out tonight that to have a chance,he needed to get off to a good start.
That is exactly what he did,knocking in a fabulous long red on his way to a 98 break to take the opening frame. The second frame looked as though it might also be going his as he controlled a long safety battle only for Ronnie to fluke an opening and do enough to level things up at 1-1.
Into the third frame Maguire once again found himself at the table,but a series of badly struck shots eventually led to a mistake and Ronnie took advantage to go ahead 2-1
.From here on there only going to be one winner of this match,as Maguire's early touch deserted him and Ronnie,started to win frames at his ease without been put under any kind of pressure by the Scot.In no time at the all the score moved to 5-1 and it should have ended there and then,but Ronnie missed a simple blue to the centre,allowing Maguire to step to make it 5-2.
Any thoughts of a shock turnaround disappeared in the next as Ronnie knocked in his highest break of the match,a 129,to close out the 6-2 win.
So we have the final that most snooker fans would have wished to see as Selby & O'Sullivan clash in a Masters final for the third time with the score currently one each.This has the potential to be a real classic,but I feel that Ronnie has the extra gears that will see him be just too strong for Selby on this occasion.That said,as we know Selby doesn't roll over easily & anything could happen.The only thing I can say for sure is that by tomorrow night we will have had a match that will have every snooker fan buzzing about what a wonderful sport we follow.