Ronnie O’Sullivan remained on course for a record-extending eighth MrQ Masters crown, after brushing aside Shaun Murphy 6-2 in the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace.
This afternoon’s showdown was the first time O’Sullivan and Murphy have crossed cues in the Masters, having surprisingly avoided each other in snooker’s biggest invitational event during their storied careers.
O’Sullivan’s win on Saturday enhances his already dominant head-to-head record against Murphy. He now leads his fellow Englishman 14-3 in meetings between the pair.
Despite his remarkable record in the Masters, 40-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan hasn’t lifted the title in North London since 2017, when he defeated Joe Perry in then final. His last trip to the title match saw him suffer defeat at the hands of Judd Trump in 2019.
Either Mark Allen or Ali Carter will now be standing in the Rocket’s way, when the Sunday final takes place with a top prize of £250,000 and the Paul Hunter Trophy on the line.
Defeat ends Murphy’s quest for a second Masters crown, following his victory in 2015. However, the Magician can reflect on a good week, which included fine wins over debutant Zhang Anda and Jack Lisowski.
Both players had chances in an edgy opening frame this afternoon, but it was O’Sullivan who eventually took it, before claiming the second to move 2-0 ahead.
Murphy fired in a sublime 131 to take the third frame and gain a foothold in the match. However, O’Sullivan won a 27-minute third to edge further in front at 3-1 heading into the mid-session.
After the interval, a break of exactly 100 pulled Murphy within a frame at 3-2, before O’Sullivan charged to the line. Runs of 90, 71 and 62 were enough to give him three on the bounce and wrap up a dominant 6-2 victory.
“I’m not going to be out there like Selby and Allen were last night. I’m not that hungry,” added 48-year-old O’Sullivan whilst speaking to BBC Sport.
“If I play Carter it will be a right nightmare, because he wants to get in my face. I can deal with him. Allen is good, solid and strong. Whoever it is, it is going to be tough. If they bring their game and their bottle, both of them should win. You never know I might find another clue tomorrow.”
Murphy said: “He was too good, as simple as that. Sometimes you can look at your own game. I missed a couple of shots here or there, but it felt like from my point of view that I played better in that match than I have in the previous two. I just thought Ronnie was superb. If he plays like that you may as well give him the trophy now.”
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