Ronnie O'Sullivan sealed his sixth UK Championship and 18th 'Triple Crown' victory as he cruised past Shaun Murphy with a 10-5 win.
All square in the first session
Both players had produced some thrilling form in the later stages of the competition and they showed their class right from the outset of the final. Murphy opened proceedings with a break of 128 before O'Sullivan won two frames on the bounce with contributions of 103 and 62. However, Murphy was able to draw level before the mid-session interval.
Two tactical battles transpired after the players returned to the table with the Rocket victorious in both contests as Murphy struggled with his safety play. Yet the 2005 World champion delved deep to produce breaks of 69 and 52 to lock the score at 4-4 at the end of the session. The close nature of the contest was underpinned by two of those eight frames being decided on the final black.
O'Sullivan pulls away
Chasing down Steve Davis' (pictured above) record of six UK Championships, O'Sullivan took the lead again in the opening frame of the evening session, producing a break of 75 on his way to a 5-4 lead. However, Murphy was determined not to let the Rocket ignite and responded with a contribution of 80.
Yet if the number five seed was in any doubt of how much of a challenge he was up against, Murphy was reminded in frame 11. O'Sullivan racked up a thrilling century in less than seven minutes. He then followed that feat with a break of 76 as Murphy failed to pot for the second frame running.
No way back for Murphy
Murphy missed a couple of straightforward pots after the mid-session interval and O'Sullivan pounced with a measured 103 to extend his lead to three. It was deja-vu again in the next frame as a Murphy break fell short before the Rocket cleared up with another contribution over 50.
Two separate half-centuries, the seventh and eighth in the last eight frames, saw the fan favourite over the line for his 31st ranking title. O'Sullivan's success means he draws level with Steve Davis on six UK Championship titles and ties Stephen Hendry with 18 'Triple Crown' victories.