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Ronnie O’Sullivan sails to a hat-trick of Shanghai Masters titles

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O’Sullivan makes it four Shanghai Masters titles since 2009 (credit:Eurosport)

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed a third consecutive Shanghai Masters title and a fourth in total by defeating Shaun Murphy 11-9 in the final on Sunday.

The world number two, appearing in his first tournament since April, resumed normal service at the first time of asking by scooping the £200,000 top prize in the prestigious invitational.

O’Sullivan had recovered from 5-1 down to defeat Kyren Wilson in a last-frame decider before winning six of the last seven frames to overcome Neil Robertson in the Semi-Finals, and again dug deep to deny Murphy in the final.

Murphy established leads of 3-0, 5-4 and 7-6 but failed to press home those advantages as ‘The Rocket’ ran riot in the second session with two centuries among a string of vintage breaks.

Murphy, who was looking to avert a fifth straight defeat in a televised final, began brightly with breaks of 62 and 68 in opening up a 3-0 lead.

O’Sullivan got off the mark in the fourth thanks to a break of 61 and went on to clinch a further three unanswered frames with notable breaks of 54 an 78 to hit the front.

Murphy replied with a 61 break before edging a close-run ninth frame to retake the lead, but only for O’Sullivan to respond with a 53 to square it up at the close of play in the first session.

Murphy came out firing with a break of 66 after the restart to move 6-5 up, but an unfortunate miscue in the following frame on 61 allowed O’Sullivan the chance to clear – which he seized with a superb 66 to level once again.

Murphy, though, bounced back quickly a stunning break of 111, only for O’Sullivan to cancel it out with a majestic 130 clearance to make it seven apiece.

O’Sullivan quickly began to stamp his authority on the match, following up a 51 break in frame 15 by stretching his foothold to 9-7.

He then made it four on the spin courtesy of a mesmerising 124 clearance to move to the verge of victory.

Murphy, however, hit back with a fine break of 82 and followed in with a swift break of 90 to close the back to just 10-9 behind.

O’Sullivan, though, averted the possibility of a decider as he powered in a break of 86 to retain the crown and capture his 72nd career title.