Ronnie O’Sullivan created history as he sealed a record seventh Dafabet Masters title after coming back to defeat Joe Perry in a 10-7 triumph at Alexandra Palace.
O’Sullivan’s victory means he has surpassed Stephen Hendry’s tally of six Masters trophies as the 41-year-old fought back from 4-1 down to retain the crown that he won in emphatic fashion in last year’s final against Barry Hawkins.
But it did not start well for the ‘The Rocket’ as Perry won the opening two frames, with an out-of-sorts O’Sullivan struggling before he eventually got on the board with the aid of a 58 break in the third.
Perry moved further ahead to 3-1 courtesy of a 74 clearance and continued his fine form to take the fifth frame when he put together a 115 break but O’Sullivan hit back.
‘The Gentleman’ started to miss crucial balls and that helped the five-time world champion take the next frame courtesy of a 42 clearance before breaks of 44 and 55 ended the afternoon session at four frames apiece.
The evening session kicked off with O’Sullivan coming out on top in a lengthy tactical battle to go ahead for the first time in the match.
He took the next with scores of 68 and 56 in two visits, despite a break in play as a spectator needed medical attention, with ‘The Rocket’ needing a blue for frame ball in his first visit – which he missed, but to no ill effects.
The Essex cueman took the 11th frame and then won his seventh successive frame in the 12th with a clearance of 85 as O’Sullivan powered into a 8-4 advantage at the mid-session interval in the best-of-19 contest.
Perry managed to stop the rot in the next to get on the scoreboard for the first time in the evening session courtesy of a 117 clearance – the highest of the match – with the Wisbech potter supporting that by closing O’Sullivan’s advantage to two frames with a break of 92.
O’Sullivan capitalised on a missed red by Perry to take frame 15 with a clearance of 112, leaving him just one frame away from making history. He missed a straightforward black to gift Perry the frame before O’Sullivan clinched victory 10-7.