Sunday, 22 January 2012

Robertson thunders to Masters title

Neil Robertson continued his imperious record on the big stage to claim his first Masters title.

The flying Australian was just too strong as he sent Shaun Murphy down under with an impressive 10-6 win at Alexandra Palace, as he kept his 100 per cent winning record at finals in tact.

This goes down as his seventh consecutive major final win, and you can even make that outstanding total up to 10 if you include his two PTC wins in Warsaw and Killarney this season plus his 2003 triumph at the Masters qualifying event.

Picture by Steve Kent
This phenomenal statistic just goes to prove what we already know about Robertson: he's the man for the big occasion.

It may be obvious but there really is no easy match by the time you get to a final. You can guarantee you'll be playing someone with both bundles of talent and on a healthy run of form.

This has never distracted Robertson though. He is a player who lives for the big stage and has so much mental strength, he always delivers when the pressure is on.

Neil is fast becoming one of the great champions of the game but I imagine this Masters title will rank among one of his best performances of his career.

That's because not only did he go out and prove what a great player he is, but he proved what a complete player he has become.

He showed he's got it all. The tactical game, the long-potting ability, the killer break-building instincts and an abundance of bottle.

To beat Murphy, who recaptured some of his best play this week too, speaks volumes about his own level of performance.

All week long, he put on a masterclass of hard match snooker.

Looking at the bigger picture, Neil now populates a list of only four overseas players to have won the Masters and picks up his first major title since the World Open back in 2010. But I guess the wait for his next will be considerably shorter.

Robertson has come on leaps and bounds in recent months.

He is currently ranked at number four in the world but has been the most consistent player on the circuit this season. He's made more century breaks than anyone else and sits pretty at the top of the one-year ranking list.

This Masters win will be the jewel in the crown of what has been an outstanding season for him so far but he'll have his eyes set on more big prizes before taking his summer break.

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