Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Ali Carter 10-7 to win his eight Masters title at the Alexandra Palace in London.
Already the youngest player to have won the tournament, having triumphed as a 19-year-old in 1995, O’Sullivan is now its oldest ever champion at 48. The win marked the Rocket’s 24th triple crown title, and sets him up for a tilt at an eight World Snooker Championship in April.
O’Sullivan was under the cosh early on, with his opponent Ali Carter having taken a 5-3 lead into the interval.
All the momentum was with the World Number ten at that stage as he extended his advantage to 6-3 in the first frame after the resumption of play, but the threat of defeat seemed to spring O’Sullivan into action.
The World number won the next three frames in a row to level the scores up at 6-6 and while Carter struck back with the 13th frame of the match, knocking in a record ninth century of the tournament in the process, that was as good as it would get for him.
Carter, who has also lost world finals to O’Sullivan in 2008 and 2012, scored just 51 points in the last four frames as O’Sullivan cruised to victory late on. Afterwards, speaking to Eurosport, O’Sullivan said that while he’s not playing his best, all he had to do was keep Carter ‘honest.’
‘I just had to keep Ali honest, I thought let’s see if he had the bottle to get over the line,’ said the eventual champion.
‘That was the only thing that turned me on tonight.
“Let’s just get him to that point. I want to see if he twitches. I love seeing it when their bottle goes. I love it.
“Most of them do [feel it] there’s very few that don’t. That’s my main asset really now, I just get them to that point and go, okay it’s about potting big balls and holding yourself together. There’s a few on the tour that can do it but not many, so I always like to get them in that situation and see if they can produce.”
“You know when someone’s bottling it, I’m not saying Ali did, but he let me off the hook tonight, he gave me some breathing space and that gave me a little bit of confidence.’
“Ali didn’t play great tonight, he played better this afternoon, but tonight he let me off the hook a few times.”
Meanwhile, Carter was critical of the London crowd for ‘saying stupid things at important times.’ The match referee reminded fans not to shout when players were about to take their shot at the start of the match’s 14th frame and afterwards, Carter called the offenders ‘morons.’
“It’s hard enough to beat him,” said Carter. “But when you’ve got people shouting when you are on your shot and saying stupid things at important times because half of them haven’t got enough brains, it’s ridiculous.”
The 44-year-old, who was trying to win the Masters for the first time, added: “There are some morons in the crowd. It is just unbelievable really.”
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