Massive thanks to Monique Limbos for all her photos this week at the Dafabet Masters. All of the results from the tournament can be found here.
Ronnie O'Sullivan is now only one away from matching Stephen Hendry's record of six Masters titles after the Rocket triumphed in today's final at Alexandra Palace, comfortably seeing off defending champion Mark Selby 10-4 in a rather one-sided encounter.
The World Champion was in imperious form coming in to the final, dropping only three frames in his victories over Robert Milkins, Ricky Walden and Stephen Maguire. In contrast, Selby came through tough battles against Mark Davis and John Higgins, winning both 6-5, before comfortably seeing off Shaun Murphy 6-1 in the semifinals.
From the very outset of the final it looked as if O'Sullivan was going to run away with the match, winning frame one with a break of 97 and making further runs of 70 and 96 to go 3-0 up. The mid-session interval did nothing to help Selby as O'Sullivan raced to a 5-0 lead, winning the fifth with breaks of 37 and 47.
Selby finally got a frame on the board, winning the sixth with the help of a 37 after O'Sullivan missed a long red. The three-time Masters champion had a huge chance to pull another frame back in the next, but allowed the Rocket to clear the final red and colours to force a respotted black, which O'Sullivan won by slotting the black in the middle pocket to go 6-1 ahead.
O'Sullivan finished 7-1 at the end of the first session, winning yet another close frame. When they resumed in the evening he once again raced out the blocks, extending his lead with a classy 90 break. Selby won the next, tight frame after O'Sullivan missed the final black attempting the clearance.
The Jester then won another, making a 67 to keep his hopes up at 8-3. He then had another chance in the next frame, but broke down on 23, allowing O'Sullivan to go one away from victory at the interval.
Selby gave his fans something to cheer at, making a 67 break to win the 13th frame, but it was too little, too late for Mark as the five-time World Champion finished with a fantastic break of 72 to win his fifth Masters title in London, to the delight of his son and daughter who were watching in the audience.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Chigwell's O'Sullivan. "I expected it to be a much closer match, 10-8 or 10-9 either eay, because Mark is a such a strong competitor. He always seems to play better when he's behind in matches and you are never over the line when you play him until the last ball is potted.
"I've got five World, five Masters and four UK titles now and I couldn't even believe that I could achieve that. I'm just happy to be playing and competing so well at the age of 38, as so many of the other top players are in their late 20's or early 30's. My next big target is to win the world title when I'm in my 40's."
Selby said: "There's no one quite like Ronnie when it comes to winning frames in one visit, he makes it look so simple. I should have won the fourth frame and it might have been different if it went 3-1. I'm annoyed to have lost in both the UK and Masters finals, but if I keep working and improving hopefully I will be back to winning ways soon."
Overall this year's Masters at Alexandra Palace has been fantastic, there were several close matches and thrilling encounters with plenty of drama throughout. One negative was that several of the boys weren't playing anywhere near their best, with the likes of Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham failing to reach the dizzy heights that they have shown in recent seasons.
The next event for pros is the invitational Snooker Shoot Out event at Blackpool's Tower Circus Arena, where the top 64 players compete in one-frame matches against the shot clock for a grand prize of £32,000. Check out the draw here.
Article by Stephen Kent.
Dafabet Masters Champion 2014 - Ronnie O'Sullivan