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Rocket targets world defence after Masters stroll

RONNIE O'Sullivan will spend the coming months readying himself for a tilt at a third successive world title after winning the Masters on Sunday night.

The English cueman beat old nemesis Mark Selby 10-4 to crown a dominant week at Alexandra Palace, in which none of his rivals were able to lay a hand on him.

It was a similar scene to what happened as he won his 2012 and 2013 world crowns in Sheffield, with all the evidence suggesting that the 38-year-old is getting better with age.

That should be a warning to his rivals, especially as he was considered by some to be the greatest player of all time when he was not performing so consistently.

"It's crazy, before everyone was saying 'he's going to win it, he can't lose', but I knew there were some tough matches," he said.

"It will be the same in Sheffield. It's going to be tough. Seventeen days is hard to hold it together, anything can happen."

O'Sullivan won the first of his five Masters titles as a teenager in 1995; a time when his legend with supporters started to form. He remains as popular as ever now, but says the triumphs feel differently to how they did then.

 

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"As you get older, you appreciate it a bit more," he added.

"You're younger, you're fearless and go for shots. If you lose, you're out with the lads. Now, it's home, recover and you probably appreciate it more as you get older."

Few could believe that O'Sullivan managed to see off Selby so easily.

He has labelled the Leicester man as 'The Torturer' over recent months, referencing what he believes to be Selby's style of play.

True or not, Selby has been a thorn in O'Sullivan's side in finals, taking three of them in last-frame deciders.

"I am over the moon to have got through and won.

"I expected a 10-7, 8, 9 and I was up for a hard, gruelling battle to be fair. I just kept my focus and my mind and stayed present."


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