The 2017 Masters final will see six times champion Ronnie O'Sullivan take on Joe Perry for the £200,000 top prize after a dramatci day of semi final action.
This will be Ronnies twelfth Masters final,but he only got there by coming through a dramatic and high quality semi final against his in form opponent,Marco Fu.
Fu has been in the form of his life recently and his intentions here were clear from early on,as with runs of 89 & 110 he took an early 2-1 lead.Then drama as the tip on Ronnies cue needed replacing and the interval was taken a frame early to accommodate Paul Colllier in his efforts to fit a new one.
Well it certainly seemed to do the trick as a on resumption a quickfire 95 drew things level at 95 & from here things only got better.A 141 from Fu put him ahead again at 3-2,but not for long as Ronnie produced a 122 to level things up 3-3.
Into the next and it was Ronnie who got in first before breaking down on 47 allowing Fu to clear with 83 to go 4-3. History looked to be repeating itself in the next,but this time with a potentially match winning lead on his mind,Fu missed a red with the rest and Ronnie cleared to go 4-4.
From here Ronnie finally took control to go on and seal his 6-4 win with runs of 83 & 69.
The second semi final was not the line up we may have expected,but Joe Perry and Barry Hawkins were certainly there on merit,having each produced some fine form in beating their more fancied opponents.
This was a far more tentative affair with the opening four frames shared to go to the interval at 2-2.The occasion seemed to be getting to both players as they both missed uncharacteristic balls,but it was Hawkins who slowly started to open a lead.Three frames in a row put him on the brink of the final at 5-2,but just when it looked as though Perry was dead in the water back he started to come back.
Perry nicked the next from needing a snooker to trail 5-3 & by now starting to cue more smoothly,his confidence grew.He took the next to get back with one an then the tenth to force the decider.
Hawkins by now must have been thinking not again in a career blighted by letting big leads slip.,but slipping away it was.
In the decider Hawkins even managed to get in first and build a 50 point lead,but there was no stopping Perry now & he produced a wonderful 70 to the blue to clinch a famous win.
So what of the final?Well I suppose it boils down to just how much Perry has left in the tank after that extraordinary win..Ronnie will rightly start a warm favourite and if I'm honest I don't see anything other than a record seventh masters title going the way of "The Rocket".by a margin of maybe 10-4 or 10-5.