Neil Robertson has won the 2012 Masters after seeing off the challenge of Shaun Murphy in the final at Alexandra Palace.
In a final that perhaps didn’t live up to all of the expectations, the Australian took control of the encounter early in the second session and eventually prevailed 10-6 to add to his glittering trophy collection.
The success means that Robertson maintains his incredible record of never having tasted defeat in a final – now at nine out of nine spanning the Masters, six ranking events and two PTCs.
Indeed, the 30 year-old was never really tested by Murphy, who himself was bidding to become only the eighth ever player to win the career triple crown of the world, UK and Masters titles.
The match didn’t really take off with the odd big break adding gloss to a contest that was patchy throughout but always engrossing in an arena that was packed to the rafters with a boisterous London crowd.
At 9-4 it looked like the challenge of Murphy was at an end but the Englishman gallantly battled on further with two single-scoring visits to close the gap to within three.
However, that was where it was going to end as Robertson, who scored two centuries to Murphy’s one in the final, steeled himself with his first real attempt at a match winning contribution to the delight of his wife and young boy who were both cheering him on from the sidelines.
Judd Trump, Ding Junhui and Mark Allen may lay claim to being the stars of the future – granted, they enjoy stardom statuses now – but Robertson is, in many people’s opinion, the best player in the world at the moment.
The former world number one struggled a little in the immediate aftermath of winning his first world crown in 2010 but has been the bastion of consistency this season and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
Not only that, but he is a genuinely nice man and an honest sportsman while still boasting the gutsy, never-be-a-defeatist attitude that typifies the Aussie spirit.
Overall then, a successful first year at the Ally Pally for one of snooker’s most prestigious tournaments.
It wasn’t a classic week – there wasn’t even a single deciding frame clash – but plenty of excellent snooker was demonstrated in front of daily packed crowds.
And so the rollercoaster moves on to Blackpool next week and the Sky Shoot-Out. Keep it coming!