Neil Robertson ends ten-year wait to regain Masters title
Neil Robertson secured his second Masters title with an emphatic 10-4 victory over Barry Hawkins in the final at Alexandra Palace.
The Australian star set a new record of the longest period between Masters titles as he finally followed up his initial 2012 triumph to reclaim the Paul Hunter Trophy.
Robertson established a 5-3 lead following the first session and asserted his dominance when the pair returned in the evening, reeling off five of the next six frames to seal victory.
The 39-year-old becomes the tenth multiple Masters champion in the 48-year history of the event and pockets a cheque for £250,000.
“With the players I’ve had to beat, it has to be right up there,” said Robertson. “Every match has thrown up a lot of challenges.
“Coming here, when it was announced we were having the crowds back I was so excited. It was fantastic to hear the London crowd cheer again.
“I got about 300 text messages tell me I have never seen anything like it [the semi-final] and coming in everyone was saying ‘what about yesterday?’
“I think Barry was a little bit unlucky being in the second semi-final where he wins 6-5. Roles reversed, he could have won today.
“I’m so happy to win this wonderful title again.”
Robertson recovered from needing two snookers against Mark Williams in an epic Semi-Final on Saturday, having also defeated seven-time Masters Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan en route.
A cagey opening frame went the way of Hawkins, but Robertson replied with breaks of 50 and 105 to hit the front.
Hawkins levelled up prior to the interval, but a break of 60 proved insufficient in frame five as a foul on the green handed Robertson a free ball and a chance to clear – which he grasped to make it 3-2.
A brace of 54 breaks saw the Aussie move two clear, but Hawkins sealed the seventh frame to remain in close order.
A break of 73, however, saw Robertson regain a two-frame cushion at the halfway stage, and a half century made it 6-3 after the duo had returned to a standing ovation from a packed Ally Pally crowd.
Hawkins, who was thrashed 10-1 by O’Sullivan in the 2016 Masters final, kept his hopes alive by compiling a 69 break in frame ten, but that would prove to be his final meaningful contribution.
Robertson responded with a break of 68 to make it 7-4, and after dominating the 12th frame, a second century of the match followed as the left-hander added a break of 114 to go within one of victory.
Hawkins took on a risky long red in frame 14, and Robertson applied the finishing touches to capture his sixth Triple Crown title.
Hawkins, who had defeated Judd Trump in a thrilling late-night decider on Saturday, failed to produce his best form in the final, but reflected: “I’m not too disappointed because I’ve had a great week – one of the best of my life.
“There’s been an unbelievable atmosphere and I’ve played some unbelievable matches.
“I made too many mistakes today and you can’t do that against someone like Neil because he’s a wonderful player.”
Ronnie O'Sullivan 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Stephen Hendry 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Mark Selby 🏆🏆🏆
Cliff Thorburn 🏆🏆🏆
Steve Davis 🏆🏆🏆
Paul Hunter 🏆🏆🏆
Alex Higgins 🏆🏆
John Higgins 🏆🏆
Mark Williams 🏆🏆
Neil Robertson becomes the tenth multiple Masters champion 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/Rm1l1joYIm
— Live Snooker (@Livesnooker) January 16, 2022