LONDON (AFP) – Shaun Murphy thrashed Australia’s Neil Robertson 10-2 in the final of the Masters at London’s Alexandra Palace on Sunday to complete a career Triple Crown.
The Englishman’s crushing win over Robertson saw him join the world number one in a select group, now comprising 10 players, who have each won snooker’s three most prestigious tournaments — the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters.
Murphy raced into a 5-0 lead during Sunday’s opening session and won four frames in a row at the start of the evening’s play to take the title after coming out on top in a hard-fought ninth frame.
His dominant display saw him compile two breaks of 127 and four more in excess of 60.
Robertson produced arguably the performance of the tournament in cruising past Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 in the semi-finals.
However, he was a spectator for much of the final, with Murphy 6-2 ahead come the end of the first session.
Yet such had been the recent form of Murphy, world champion in 2005 and winner of the UK title in 2008, he considered taking time out from snooker last year.
“When I won the World Championship 10 years ago I thought I was going to blitz through these events but I’ve had to wait a long time and go through some ups and downs,” Murphy told BBC Sport.
“This time last year I considered going away from snooker a bit but I’ve turned it around. I’ve got some great support, some great friends and family around me, and they all know who they are.”
Not since snooker great Steve Davis whitewashed Mike Hallett 9-0 in 1988 had there been a more lopsided Masters final.
Any hope of a stunning recovery by Robertson — who beat Murphy 10-6 in the 2012 Masters final — was ended in the ninth frame, the first of the evening session, which went the Englishman’s way after the Australian made a break of 51.
Murphy, producing some of his best form in years, won the opening two frames and then compiled the first of his 127s to take the third.
Robertson made sure he avoided the embarrassment of a whitewash with 80 in the sixth frame before Murphy responded with 69 to go 6-1 in front.
If he was to have any chance at all of stopping Murphy, Robertson had to win the ninth frame.
He got in first and then fluked a snooker. But Murphy replied with a snooker of his own and cleared to the blue.
Robertson, trying to escape from a safety shot, then pushed the pink over the pocket and Murphy duly potted pink and black. Another 127 made it 9-2 before Murphy sealed victory with a break of 60.