Thursday 14 December 2017

Rocket bags fifth Masters after burying Selby jinx

Ronnie O'Sullivan, who picked up a fifth Master's title
Ronnie O'Sullivan, who picked up a fifth Master's title

World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan added a fifth Masters title to his CV as he ended Mark Selby's final hoodoo over him at Alexandra Palace with a 10-4 win.

"Mark loves coming from behind, you never feel you're at the winning line," O'Sullivan said after picking up the £200,000 prize and taking the title Selby won last year off the defending champion.

"Ninety-nine per cent of players would give up; he's made of metal."

The damage for Selby was done in an afternoon session which ended with O'Sullivan 7-1 in front.

Heading into the evening session O'Sullivan picked up where he had left off with a 90 to make it 8-1, before a mini-revival from Selby.

A 67 kept Selby alive in what turned out to be the final frame, but O'Sullivan ensured it was game over, making 72 after Selby blinked first in a safety exchange.

As has now become customary after an O'Sullivan win, he was joined in the arena by his children and he said that a visit to the Masters a year ago had got his hunger for the game back.

He returned in the April to win the world title after a year away from the sport and is now just one Masters trophy behind Stephen Hendry.

O'Sullivan said: "I enjoyed watching better last year because this is hard work! I hadn't been to any tournaments and was enjoying not playing but came down and I knew I missed it. I didn't miss the stress but I missed the lads and being on tour."

O'Sullivan has credited the sports psychologist Steve Peters as the main reason behind his renaissance as a major force, and a final win over Selby -- his long-term nemesis -- was testament to that.

"Whenever he got the chance, he put me under pressure. He's fantastic at taking his chances," said the beaten Selby, who collected £90,000 for his troubles.

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