Finals

Masterful Murphy Captures Triple Crown

Shaun Murphy has won the 2015 Masters title after a comprehensive 10-2 victory over Neil Robertson in London.

Murphy avenges his 2012 final defeat to Robertson - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Murphy avenges his 2012 final defeat to Robertson – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The Englishman adds to his previous triumphs in the World and UK Championship to become the tenth player to complete snooker’s Triple Crown.

The final was billed as a showdown between two of the tournament’s most attacking competitors but only one proved themselves in a dominant one-sided affair.

For a long time Murphy had expressed his desire to add the Masters crown to his CV, idly watching as his contemporaries Robertson and Mark Selby completed the hat-trick of majors before him despite the fact he was the first to claim the Crucible crown.

Last weekend he stated that he was giving himself until 2025 to add the Masters trophy to his cabinet but it took only a matter of days to achieve the feat.

Australia’s Robertson entered the final as the favourite having thumped defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-final on Saturday.

However, the 32 year-old ran empty in front of a packed Alexandra Palace crowd on Sunday as his opponent racked up a big lead early on.

Breaks of 64, 127 and 76 helped the ‘Magician’ into a 5-0 lead and even though Robertson, who beat Murphy 10-6 to win the 2012 edition, claimed two out of the next three it was never going to be enough against a relentless performance.

As the players returned for the evening session, Robertson knew that he needed a confident start to upset his opponent’s form.

And he really should have taken the opening frame to reduce the gap to three but missed plenty of chances to gift his opponent a five-frame advantage once again.

Murphy, who would have been forgiven to be feeling the pressure as his major moment approached, knocked in a second 127 in the next to go 8-2 in front and duly surged ahead to complete the rout.

World no.1 Robertson will be disappointed to have not turned in a better display after the scintillating standard he produced earlier in the event.

Yet, Murphy, who had impressive victories over world champion Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen to get to this point, was in determined mood to make his own snooker history and was firmly not to be denied.

It caps off what has been a fantastic 12 months for Murphy following a hat-trick of European Tour titles, three 147 breaks and success in the World Open at the tail end of the last campaign.

The 32 year-old claimed this time last year that he was considering quitting the game, such was his disappointment in his results, but a player of his class was never going to be in the doldrums for long.

The final was a disappointing climax but the tournament as a whole was a memorable affair.

Five-time champion O’Sullivan surpassed Stephen Hendry’s long-term career centuries record amid a media frenzy.

Hong Kong’s Marco Fu compiled only the third Masters maximum 147 break in fantastic fashion.

Enthusiastic crowds of 1700 people packed the Ally Pally auditorium for eight successive days.

But it’s Shaun Murphy who’ll take all the plaudits, as he walks away with the £200,000 winner’s cheque and the coveted Masters trophy.

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