Neil Robertson strolled to a second Masters title (Picture: Zhai Zheng)
Neil Robertson powered to a second Masters title, dismantling Barry Hawkins in Sunday’s final and claiming a 10-4 victory at Alexandra Palace.
The Australian claims the £250,000 top prize and lifts the Paul Hunter Trophy for the second time after first winning the prestigious event back in 2012.
After a string of memorable matches over the tournament the final was something of a damp squid as Hawkins struggled to find his best form, while Robertson grew stronger and stronger as he got towards the finishing line.
The contest was level at 2-2, but the Englishman won just two of the next 10 frames with the Thunder from Down Under winning his sixth Triple Crown title in the process.
On where this win ranks among his many triumphs, Robertson said: ‘With the players that I’ve had to beat, it certainly has to be right up there. Every match has thrown up a lot of challenges.
‘It’s so fantastic to hear London cheer again for a snooker tournament.’
Hawkins said: ‘I’m not too disappointed, I’ve had a great week, one of the best weeks of my life. Unbelievable atmosphere all week, played some unbelviebale matches but today wasn’t meant to be. I made too many mistakes.’
Robertson certainly had a tough run to the final, battling past Anthony McGill in round one, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarters and then fighting back against Mark Williams in the semis, winning the deciding frame despite needing two snookers.
The Hawk took the first frame before Robertson settled some nerves with breaks of 50 and 105 to go ahead, although Hawkins levelled up again to go into the interval at 2-2.
The Englishman looked to be moving into the lead again in the fifth, with Robertson needing a snooker, but then things went horribly wrong.
Hawkins missed a tough shot on the final red, which wouldn’t have been disastrous, but touching the green ball with his sleeve certainly was a disaster. Giving away four points and leaving a free ball which Robertson took advantage of and cleared up to pinch the frame.
The Australian then made two breaks of 54 in the sixth to go 4-2 up, but Hawkins’ pain continued as he had a decent chance himself in that frame as well.
The underdog could have crumbled a bit here, after a demoralising spell, but he held himself together and eventually got over the line in the seventh, albeit via a hefty fluke on the final brown.
That was as good as it got in the afternoon for the Hawk, though, with Robertson making 73 to take a 5-3 lead.
Barry Hawkins could not find his best form in the final (Picture: Zhai Zheng)
It felt like Hawkins really needed a great start to the evening session and it was possible when the players shared the first two frames, the Hawk making a break of 69 to take the score to 6-4.
However, it went quite badly downhill from there, with Robertson getting stronger as the Englishman failed to cut out errors in his game.
A sixth half-century made it 7-4, and then there was a morale-crusher for Hawkins in the next as he had a great chance and missed a black off the spot to allow Robertson to step in and take the frame, before the Aussie made 114 to move just one away from victory.
Hawkins was pretty much gone by this point, missing a couple of long reds in the final frame and Robertson was happy to accept the invitation to cross the finishing line and claim the 10-4 win.
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