Judd Trump hammered seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-4 with a brilliant performance to win his first Masters title.
A closely fought classic was expected between two of snooker’s biggest draws, but the match turned into a comprehensive rout for Trump.
The world number five’s blistering start saw him open up 4-0 and 7-1 advantages in a stunning first session.
Despite O’Sullivan responding in the evening with two centuries as he clawed three frames back, Trump was not to be denied.
He becomes the 23rd different name on the Paul Hunter Trophy and collects £200,000 prize money.
“I have waited a long time for this. It has been seven or eight years since I last won a big one [the 2011 UK Championship],” Trump told BBC Sport.
“This is like my local tournament and it is a dream come true.
“You are always surprised when you have a lead against Ronnie at any point. He looked sharp tonight. I had to be at my best to just get to 3-3 in the last session.”
Trump finally comes of age?
When Trump won the UK Championship in 2011, it was anticipated that he would go on to become a leading force in snooker and maybe even rule the sport for years to come.
Instead it has taken him eight years to claim only his second trophy at a Triple Crown event.
The Bristolian has reapplied himself this season, practising with more dedication, and that has paid dividends at the most prestigious invitational event on the calendar.
He did it the hard way in London by seeing off bitter rival Kyren Wilson, world number one Mark Selby, 2012 winner Neil Robertson and O’Sullivan, over whom he now seems to have a hold.
Trump said before the final he would “not be scared like other players” and was true to his word, taking the game to O’Sullivan and the perfect start laid the platform for a highly impressive victory.
He now possesses a complete, all-round game – his safety play has improved significantly, something that was on display throughout the tournament – and with the ability to take his chances in the reds and pull off tremendous recovery shots, Trump may finally be coming of age.
O’Sullivan’s impressive season stutters
The result marks a disappointing start to 2019 for O’Sullivan, who has lost just three of the 32 matches he has played this season – two of those coming against Trump and one against Mark Davis in the English Open semi-final.
The 43-year-old’s desire to pick and choose when he plays has seen him enter only six tournaments, but his record has been superb, reaching five finals and winning three.
His record seventh UK Championship title in York last month took him to 19 Triple Crown wins – including five World Championships – but he has now suffered defeat six times in Masters finals.
O’Sullivan’s shocking start saw him collect just 45 points from the first four frames and, despite a brief revival in the evening session, the deficit proved insurmountable.
“I want to congratulate Judd – he played fantastically well,” said O’Sullivan. “Seven-one down against him was nigh on impossible. I tried to have a go but it just wasn’t enough.
“Overall this year has been OK, but you are naturally disappointed when you lose in a final. Judd deserved his victory and it has been a pleasure to be here.”
How the match unfolded
The meeting between the two attacking Englishmen was tipped to be a memorable one, which it was – but not for the reasons anticipated.
Trump signalled his intent with a scintillating first session, making frame-winning contributions of 89, 87 and 56 to take the first four frames.
O’Sullivan, under severe pressure managed a frame-winning 69 of his own, but Trump was unrelenting and opened up a six-frame advantage at 7-1.
Needing to make an extraordinary comeback, O’Sullivan was raucously cheered on by the partisan London crowd and made the ideal start by taking the first frame of the evening session, but Trump made 88 and 68 to move a frame from victory.
Trump could have sealed it in the 13th but potted the cue ball into the middle pocket allowing O’Sullivan to make 109 – the 991st century of his career – but he clinched the match in the next with a cool 53 break.
Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two: It’s put the cat among the pigeons for the World Championship because all of a sudden he is a credible winner. A superb performance from Trump – he’s been very clinical this week.
He plays a modern-day game. It’s no-compromise snooker; he doesn’t shirk his responsibilities on the table. He can play safe, he knows how to mix it up but he’s happiest among the balls the same as Ronnie O’Sullivan is. Some of the modern players coming through, they’re changing the equation for what are the right and wrong shots.
1991 world champion John Parrott: The opening session broke him. Ronnie was a little bit flat when he played today but Judd was excellent right from the start. What’s impressed me is he’s had a very even keel all week – there haven’t been peaks and troughs like we’ve seen before.
He’s matured. He’s 29 and he finally looks like the all-round snooker player we all thought he would be.