Congratulations to Shaun!
Ronnie was the favourite going into the Final, based on their previous head to head, but Shaun had other ideas. He beat Ronnie by 10-8, having been the strongest player on the day. Shaun managed to win the close frames and his potting from distance was scary; those were two big factors in the match. Ronnie looked edgy and couldn’t reproduce the form he showed in earlier rounds, he didn’t have the best of run either, but he had no complaints. Shaun totally deserved the win. One thing though to Ronnie’s credit is the attitude he showed, the way he fought back especially from 9-5 down. He was clearly frustrated with his own mistakes but, again and again, refocused, tried his hardest and battled to the very end, which earned his appreciative comments from both Stephen Hendry and Clive Everton.
Magic Murphy is 188BET Champion of Champions
Shaun Murphy 8-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan
31-103 (O’Sullivan 97), 27-98 (O’Sullivan 98), 66-63, 70-1 (Murphy 70), 92-27 (Murphy 85), 82-7 (Murphy 53), 0-134 (O’Sullivan 65, 61), 32-105 (O’Sullivan 72), 57-54, 92-39 (Murphy 86), 83-37, 134-0 (Murphy 56, 74), 46-83, 83-17 (Murphy 71), 31-76 (O’Sullivan 54), 0-132 (O’Sullivan 108), 1-106 (68, 38), 74-71
Shaun Murphy survived an almighty Ronnie O’Sullivan fightback to win the 188BET Champion of Champions at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
Murphy had led the best of 19 final 9-5 before an O’Sullivan surge took the score to 9-8, and he looked set to level until he missed the green, allowing Murphy to finally complete his victory, and claim the title and £100,000 winner’s prize.
O’Sullivan led early in the match at 0-2 but four consecutive frames saw Murphy gain a two-frame advantage. The Rocket fought back but, with the scores tied at 4-4, the final frame of the afternoon session saw a dramatic conclusion.
Murphy, four points behind, missed the black to the bottom right pocket, seemingly setting up the five-time World Champion to take a lead into the evening session. But he also missed to the same pocket allowing Murphy to make a long but straight-forward pocket to lead 5-4.
The Magician then came out firing in the evening, taking the first three frames for a commanding 8-4 advantage and he looked set to move to within one of the title before he went in off with just the colours remaining. O’Sullivan made no mistake in punishing the Gibraltar Masters champion.
Murphy moved a step closer to the title with a 71 clearance for 9-5, but then O’Sullivan mounted his comeback. First, he took a scrappy 15th frame 31-76 and then the final’s only century, a 108, put The Rocket just two behind Murphy. An outrageous fluke helped O’Sullivan to 9-8, but the fluked red aside he was now playing much more confident snooker.
O’Sullivan looked set to force the decider until be missed the green at, allowing Murphy to the table to finish the match.
“These are the moments you live for as a snooker player,” said Murphy. “Ronnie is the best player of all time, the best player we have seen and the ultimate test. To play him in a big, big final and get to ten first – because I very nearly didn’t – is an amazing feeling.
“We call it dead-man syndrome – people play like they have got nothing to lose and he started going for shots which we all know he can get, and they started going in.
“I don’t feel that I did a great deal wrong to be honest and had the match gone to a deciding frame I wouldn’t have been banging my head against a wall. But against somebody like Ronnie it can happen and the match can turn like that. Fortunately, he missed the green at the end and I was able to clear up.”
O’Sullivan, who takes home £50,000 as runner-up, said: “He deserved the victory, he played better than me all day. I am off to Shanghai tomorrow and I will go out there, try my best and enjoy it.”
Murphy becomes the first player to qualify for the next Champion of Champions, which will be staged at Ricoh Arena, Coventry from November 5-11 2018 with tickets on sale Monday, November 13.
Videos of interest:
Stephen Hendry interviews Ronnie – part 3
The Shanghai Masters has already begun. Ronnie is traveling there today. His first match has been pushed to Wednesday morning, that will be around 3:30 am UK time and still middle of the night according to his body clock. And, should he win, he will probably have to play again on the same day… if he wins just one match, he’ll do well. I’m not too hopeful.