Ronnie O'Sullivan equals Stephen Hendry's record after handing Barry Hawkins a masterclass

RONNIE O'SULLIVAN eased to a record-equalling sixth Masters title as he outclassed Barry Hawkins in last night's final at London's Alexandra Palace.

Ronnie O'Sullivan.

O’Sullivan had not played in a major tournament since last year’s World Championship in Sheffield, but he needed little time to blow away any cobwebs as he swept Hawkins aside to seal a comfortable 10-1 victory.

This one really went with the form-book as O’Sullivan moved level with Stephen Hendry on six Masters titles by beating a man who has only got the better of him once in their 11 meetings.

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Hawkins had never won a match in this tournament until last week but, although he made it to the final, he never looked like shocking O’Sullivan.

After more than eight months away, O’Sullivan eased straight back into his stride – even if he said his semi-final performance against world champion Stuart Bingham had been “embarrassing”.

But he did not need to be vintage O’Sullivan to win, securing the trophy by the biggest winning margin in 28 years, and he was delighted to return with a victory.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “I watched Barry play in his semi-final and I knew I needed to raise my level and I was able to do that. I managed my emotions well on such a big occasion.

“I’m delighted I’ve been able to play as well as I have done. I’m never normally surprised that I win tournaments, but I’m surprised I’ve won my first one back in eight months.

“But if I can produce some form it doesn’t matter how much time you take out, it is all about producing it and I was able to do that this week.”

For Hawkins, it was a case of what might have been as he was beaten by O’Sullivan for a 10th time in succession.

“I wish he would retire, to be fair,” he joked of his conqueror.

“I’m disappointed with my performancetoday, I didn’t give him a game at all. I didn’t feel like I could pot a ball in the end.

“If someone said to me I would have got to the final at the start of the week and play Ronnie I would have ripped their arm off, but when you get to the final you want to perform.”