Judd Trump produced a near faultless display to hammer Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-4 and win his first Masters title at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
The 29 year-old didn’t flinch from the challenge of facing the seven-time champion and pre-tournament favourite.
Trump, who was featuring in a maiden final in the sport’s most prestigious invitational event, looked assured and composed throughout the contest.
By contrast, O’Sullivan struggled badly early on to replicate the kind of form that had seen him claim three pieces of silverware already this season – including a record 19th Triple Crown title in December’s UK Championship.
An unprecedented eighth success in a single major never looked on after Trump established an early cushion with quick-fire breaks of 89 and 87.
The former world number one had never been behind in the entire tournament and his confidence showed as he established an insurmountable 7-1 advantage at the end of the opening session.
Trump was undoubtedly aided by an uncharacteristically poor performance in such a high-profile occasion from his opponent, but his own measured effort was impressive in what represented one of his biggest career encounters.
That Trump boasted a strong head-to-head record against O’Sullivan probably helped too, with the former now extending his superiority in finals over the “Rocket” to six victories from the nine professional finals they’ve played against one another.
Indeed, it was only a couple of months ago in Belfast that Trump denied the five-time world champion in the final of the Northern Ireland Open with a dramatic 9-7 triumph.
There was to be no drama this time, though, and Trump’s second taste of glory in a Triple Crown event could potentially launch his career into a different gear.
Ever since he was a young teenager, Trump has been considered as one of the most talented players in the game but he hasn’t always been able to translate that into sustained success.
Such is his pedigree that a return of nine ranking titles in his career so far has been credited by some as an underachievement.
Yet, it’s his tally in the majors that has truly been called into question and this victory in the Masters, added to the UK Championship trophy he raised more than seven years ago, will do a lot to silence the doubters.
Not only is his name now etched onto the Paul Hunter Trophy, it was the manner in which he dismantled snooker’s best ever player that will be most remembered.
O’Sullivan finally found a bit of form in the second session – compiling a brace of centuries to take the affair beyond the last mid-session interval – but Trump was never flustered and remained utterly focussed with the winning line in sight.
It was a far cry from this time last year when the Englishman bottled a 5-2 lead over Kyren Wilson at the semi-final stage.
Trump has enlisted his brother Jack into his close entourage since then and it’s certainly paid dividends.
He’ll collect a whopping £200,000 cheque but, more importantly, he’ll receive the recognition as one of the very elite competitors that he feels that he deserves.
“It’s incredible,” Trump said moments after making the crucial break of 53 that sealed the famous win.
“I waited a long time for this, there are times when you’re thinking if you’re going to win a big tournament again. It’s a dream come true.”
It will be hugely interesting to see whether Trump can replicate this level of play at the Crucible, with the World Championship now the standout honour that is missing from his CV.
For O’Sullivan, his 13th Masters final from 25 appearances in the capital city ended in a disappointing defeat but there can’t be too much read into it.
The 43 year-old was beaten by the better player on the day – a rival that increasingly has his number in important fixtures – but he’s certainly allowed an off-day in what has been an otherwise stellar campaign so far.
O’Sullivan will surely increase his Triple Crown record eventually but that’s for another day.
This one belongs to Judd Trump, a deserved and popular winner of the 2019 Masters.
What a feeling!@judd147t wins his first Masters crown, and receives the biggest cheque of his career…
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) January 20, 2019