Shaun Murphy is the 2015 dafabet Masters champion after a comprehensive 10-2 victory over Neil Robertson in today's final at the Alexandra Palace.
This victory completed a career triple crown for the Murphy following on from his wins in the World Championship (2005) & UK Championship (2008),but more than that it shows just what a remarkable turnaround we've seen over the last twelve months from a player who threatened retirement following his semi final defeat in this tournament last year.
What we saw here this week was a man playing with the confidence that collecting four titles since that faithful day brings,as his natural free flowing game rose to every challenge that faced him along the way.
For all that though it was Robertson who started this final as favourite,following his stand out performances in beating Carter & O'Sullivan.
It was then perhaps a shock to see him struggling so much early on as Murphy powered away to a 4-0 lead with runs of 64,127 & 76..that became 5-0 in the next and although Robertson did manage to take two of the last three of the session to give himself a slight chance going into the night session at 6-2 behind.
Into the night session then and any chance we were going to see one of the great comebacks when Murphy somehow managed to win an opening frame he always looked second best in to make it 7-2.This was the final nail in the coffin for Robertson's chances as Murphy pulled away to win the three more frames he needed to claim the title.
For Robertson he will be bitterly disappointed that he couldn't finish the job following his dominant display in seeing off Ronnie yesterday,but this was a case of "after the Lord Mayors show" for the Aussie world no.1.Still in the form he did show in those earlier matches he will be a force to be reckoned with over the rest of the season.
That said though,noone will enter this busy period of the season feeling better about things than our champion Shaun Murphy. When you see him play well,he looks so natural around the table,that you just wonder why he hasn't won more titles in his career.Perhaps the reason for this has been a tendency to over complicate things and this new stripped back approach is the secret to his success
He will be hoping that this can prove the catalyst to more of the big tournament successes he has always felt he should be having,He certainly possesses all the talent required.