Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed his fourth Shanghai Masters title, and his third in a row, with an 11-9 defeat of Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s final.
The two former world champions produced a high-class showpiece that befitted the huge prize money on offer, but having trailed 3-0 in the opening session, O’Sullivan proved the stronger, producing some sublime snooker to take control of the match and run out a deserving winner.
Murphy’s blistering start included breaks of 62 and 68 but O’Sullivan responded in typical fashion, reeling off breaks of 61, 54, 78 and 53 to finish the opening session strongly and ensure the players were all square at 5-5.
Upon the resumption, Murphy was again quickest out of the blocks as he inched back in front at 7-6 thanks to contributions of 66, 61 and 111 as the high standard of play continued.
O’Sullivan struck straight back with a fabulous run of 130 that kicked off a run of four frames on the bounce as Murphy was consigned to his chair, The Rocket growing confidence as he added further breaks of 51 and 124 to put himself within one frame of victory.
More heavy scoring saw Murphy keep his hopes alive, well-taken breaks of 82 and 90 reducing his arrears to 10-9, but when he broken down in frame 20, O’Sullivan stepped in with a trademark match-winning break of 86 to close out the match and add yet another major title to his already glittering CV.
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