Ronnie O’Sullivan earns ninth Premier League Snooker crown at Potters
Ronnie O'Sullivan took sweet revenge over Shaun Murphy with a sublime performance to regain his Premier League Snooker crown at Potters on Sunday night.
Twelve months ago Murphy ended O'Sullivan's run of five successive Premier League titles in the final at Hopton-on-Sea – but the Rocket set the record straight this time with a comprehensive 7-1 demolition of the Magician in front of a buzzing 1,000 crowd.
'I must congratulate Shaun, he won it last year and got to the final this year and I was just glad to get in among the balls and make some breaks,' said O'Sullivan.
Murphy accepted defeat gracefully, but admitted he was disappointed not to take his chances – some of which bordered on routine.
'What a difference a day makes,' said Murphy, who was in top form during his semi-final on Saturday. 'It just didn't happen and Ronnie played the best snooker all through the tournament.
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'I said last night about how one ball, even in the first frame, can set the scene and it happened tonight. I can't remember missing a pink like that first one, but there we are.
'Ronnie is not world number one, but we all know he is the one to beat, when he is on it. He sets the benchmark.'
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Eight-time champion O'Sullivan looked in the mood from the start – while the nerves of defending champion Murphy were being betrayed by his shots.
A poor miss on the pink let O'Sullivan in for an encouraging 74 to take the opening frame, and one became two within minutes as a superb long plant kicked off a sublime break of 123.
A routine red went awry as Murphy's unsettled start continued – something of a conundrum given his sparkling turn in his semi-final victory over Marco Fu on the same table just 24 hours earlier. A knock of 59 made it 3-0 to O'Sullivan, who by now was looking thoroughly in the mood.
The Magician was in need of a frame, but even a scrappy fourth went the way of the Rocket after he laid on a brilliant snooker and Murphy's chances came and went in an intriguing fifth as a fully focused O'Sullivan showed little sign of relenting.
The Sale star did at least head into the break having avoided a whitewash, with O'Sullivan failing to get the snooker he required – despite Murphy giving him two bites of the cherry.
But the break did not change the flow of the match and a quickfire break of 68 restored O'Sullivan's five-frame lead, before easily grinding out the matchwinner to cheers from the Potters crowd.
On Saturday evening, O'Sullivan had proven too strong for world number one and reigning world champion Neil Robertson, stepping up a gear after the pair shared the opening two frames to triumph 5-1 against a luckless opponent who got little opportunity to shine.
O'Sullivan's win was witnessed by his father, Ronnie senior, who was released from prison after 18 years earlier in the week.
Saturday's opening semi-final had seen Murphy tear through Marco Fu after losing the first two frames – the Sale player showed some truly blistering form to rack up 103, 81, 97, 69 and 68, and earn a 5-2 triumph.