Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter renew their rivalry on Sunday as they go head to head for the right to be crowned the 2024 Masters champion.
The Essex duo lock horns in a Triple Crown final for the third time. Both of their previous such encounters came at the World Championship, with O’Sullivan enjoying commanding 18-8 and 18-11 victories in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
The Rocket is now targeting a record-extending 23rd Triple Crown title, and eighth at the Masters. Not only would it match his UK Championship tally, but the 48-year-old would also become the oldest win at all three majors.
By contrast, Carter looks to bury the ghost of the Crucible and finally land his maiden Triple Crown at the fourth attempt, having been runner-up to Stuart Bingham here four years ago.
The head-to-head record strongly favours O’Sullivan, who has prevailed in 17 of their 18 previous meetings, and will be a heavy favourite to continue that here.
Although, Carter’s sole success came in their most notorious encounter at the 2018 World Championship, in which the two players infamously exchanged a barge and were reprimanded by referee Paul Collier before the Captain eventually came through 13-9.
The five-time ranking event winner has arguably produced the better snooker this week on his return to Alexandra Palace after four years away, leading the way with six centuries in seeing off Mark Williams, Judd Trump and Mark Allen.
Three of those tons came in successive frames against Allen in the semi-finals on Saturday, becoming the first player to achieve that feat at the Masters.
Although O’Sullivan has not been at his brilliant best, he has still had more than enough to get past Ding Junhui, Barry Hawkins and Shaun Murphy to reach his 14th final – 29 years after his first.
Victory here would also keep him on track to become the fourth player to win all three majors in the same season, after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams.
Play gets under way at 1pm GMT on Sunday with the opening eight frames, while resuming at 7pm GMT with a maximum of 11 to determine who will lift the Paul Hunter trophy at Alexandra Palace.
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