World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan added a fifth Masters title to his resume as he ended Mark Selby’s final hoodoo over him.
O’Sullivan is regarded by many as the greatest snooker player of all-time and his trophy cabinet is starting to reflect that, but a failure to get a grip on Selby had been one thing hanging over him.
There is a clear contrast in their style and little love is apparently lost either, with O’Sullivan referring to Selby as ‘The Torturer’ in his recent autobiography.
He has good reason to feel that way with Selby having pipped him in three last-frame deciders in finals over recent years, but barring a flicker of a comeback, he resisted that at Alexandra Palace last night to record a thumping 10-4 win.
“Mark loves coming from behind, you never feel you’re at the winning line,” said O’Sullivan after picking up the £200,000 prize and taking the title Selby won last year off the defending champion. “Ninety-nine per cent of players would give up; he’s made of metal.”
The damage for Selby was done in a catastrophic afternoon session which ended with O’Sullivan 7-1 in front.
As has now become customary after an O’Sullivan win he was joined in the arena by his children and he admitted that a visit to the Masters a year ago – when he was effectively in retirement – had got his hunger for the game back.
He returned in the April to win the world title after a year away from the sport and is now just one Masters trophy behind Stephen Hendry.
O’Sullivan said: “I enjoyed watching better last year!
“I was enjoying not playing but came down and knew I missed it; not the stress, but I missed the lads and being on tour.”
O’Sullivan has credited the renowned sports psychologist Steve Peters as the main reason behind his renaissance as a major force in the game and a final win over Selby – his long-term nemesis – was testament to that.
“Whenever he got the chance he put me under pressure. He’s fantastic at taking his chances,” said the beaten Selby, who collected £90,000 for his troubles.