Shaun Murphy raced away from Kyren Wilson to complete a 9-1 demolition and win the 2020 Welsh Open title in Cardiff on Sunday.
A close affair between the pair of Englishmen had been expected but Wilson offered little in the way of a serious challenge.
Both players had emerged from dramatic semi-final encounters on Saturday at the Motorpoint Arena – Wilson overcoming Ronnie O’Sullivan in a decider before Murphy repeated the trick against Yan Bingtao.
As the latter’s victory had been wrapped up after midnight, the “Magician” would have been forgiven for starting sluggishly in the final.
However, Murphy looked focussed from the outset and a terrific 108 set the tone for the remainder of the tie as he hit his opponent with a barrage of sizable contributions.
The 37 year-old followed it up with a run of 84 and, although Wilson was finally given opportunities in the third and fourth frames, Murphy ended up leading 4-0 at the mid-session interval.
Any hopes of a revival from Wilson were seemingly dashed upon the restart some 20 minutes later during the opening session.
A break of 64 looked like settling the nerves but Murphy forced the penalty points he needed to keep the frame alive before clearing from the last red to pinch it on the black.
After a break of 76 made it 6-0, Wilson eventually got on the board to avoid what would have been the second whitewash final of 2020 – and duly acknowledged the ironic cheers from the crowd.
Murphy was in no mood to take his foot off the gas, however, and finished the session with a magnificent 134.
Any slim hopes of a fight back were dashed at the beginning of the evening’s play when Murphy added a third ton to make it 8-1, and he finished the job with a break of 73.
Success for the former world champion represents his ninth career ranking title and a second of this season.
After losing six ranking event finals in succession between 2017 and 2019, Murphy has now won two on the bounce.
His consistency this season is underlined by the fact that he’s second on one-year rankings list, with only world champion Judd Trump outperforming Murphy this term.
“I knew you were a slow learner but it took you a long time to take on board the things that I said!”
Tonight, @Magician147 received the Ray Reardon trophy from the man himself, a former mentor.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) February 16, 2020
Murphy pockets £70,000 for capturing a maiden Welsh Open title and a first Home Nations crown to boot.
Wilson will be disappointed not to have offered a greater challenge, but he was second best right from the opening frame and didn’t seem to have any energy left after a gruelling battle with O’Sullivan.
It was a memorable week in more ways than one for the Kettering Cueist, who also compiled a 147 break en route to reaching the final.
Yet, it’s Murphy’s name that’s on the Ray Reardon Trophy, presented by the six-time world champion himself, and in that kind of form he will have aspirations of challenging at the Crucible again in a few months time.