Tag: Alexandra Palace

Snooker: Murphy stuns Robertson in Masters final

Shaun Murphy thrashed world No.1 Neil Robertson 10-2 in the final of the Masters at Alexandra Palace to become just the 10th man to win snooker’s triple crown.

Robertson came into the final in imperious form after 6-1 wins over Ali Carter and Ronnie O’Sullivan but found himself 5-0 down as Murphy came firing out of the blocks.

The Australian won two of the next three frames as he threatened a comeback but Murphy held firm to complete the biggest winning margin in a Masters final since Steve Davis’s 9-0 whitewash of Mike Hallett 27 years ago.

“The first time I came to this great event, I would have been 11 or 12 and to finally get the win and the crown is unbelievable,” Murphy told the BBC.

“When I won the World Championship 10 years ago I thought I was going to blitz through these events but I’ve had to wait a long time and go through some ups and downs.

“This time last year I considered going away from snooker a bit but I’ve turned it around. I’ve got some great support, some great friends and family around me, and they all know who they are.”

Murphy won several scrappy frames as he avenged his 10-6 defeat to the same man in the 2012 final, including the first of the evening session, when the Australian was first in with 51.

“I remember a few years ago he nicked a few of those tight frames and they really hurt,” added Murphy. “I had a bit of luck throughout the match but in all I’ve played well this week.”

Murphy recorded two 127 breaks as he added the Masters crown to his World Championship from 2005 and 2008 UK Championship.

“The first session was very tough, being 6-2 down. It was probably a couple of shots that made the difference between being 4-4 and being 6-2 down,” said Robertson.

“Shaun played very well today, he played fantastically all week. I just couldn’t produce the snooker that got me to the final but you have to put a lot of that down to the way Shaun played.

“He was brilliant in all departments and I’d just like to say, welcome to the triple crown club.

“This is our second Masters final and hopefully, the way we’ve both played the last few weeks, we’ll have a few more.”

Murphy quipped in reply: “I’ve got to disagree with Neil, I don’t want to play him ever again! If that’s what it takes to be world No.1, I’ll stay as number 11!”

Murphy now joins Robertson, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Terry Griffiths, Alex and John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby in having claimed the World, UK and Masters titles.

Read more at ESPN

Snooker: Robertson thrashes O’Sullivan to reach final

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Masters defence ended with a whimper as Neil Robertson stormed into the final with a 6-1 victory at the Alexandra Palace.

The world No.1 snapped O’Sullivan’s 15-match wining streak in all competitions and will now face Shaun Murphy in a repeat of the 2012 final after the Englishman beat Mark Allen 6-2.

“Beating Ronnie here is a really special achievement for me,” said Robertson.

“It was an amazing atmosphere. That’s why I wanted to have a crack at him in the World Championship final last year, because he’s the only player who can create that kind of atmosphere.

“If you put pressure on someone in any sport they will make mistakes. You have to keep your foot down, you can’t let them back into the match.”

O’Sullivan was in trouble from the off with Robertson securing the opening frame with a 100 break, before the five-time champion missed a frame-ball black to allow the Australian in for a 2-0 lead.

That lead soon stretched to 3-0 before O’Sullivan made a 101 break in the fourth frame, a record 777th century of his career.

But the world No.1 went 4-1 up with a 58 break before reeling off the final two frames to complete the drubbing as he looks to seal a second Masters triumph.

“Neil played a great game and had me in lots of trouble,” said O’Sullivan. “I missed a lot of balls and made a lot of mistakes. I knew it was coming eventually because I’ve been scraping through matches.

“The last time I played good consistent stuff was here and at the Welsh Open last season. Since then I’ve probably only played two good matches – the rest of the time I’ve just been digging in. Neil played well enough to expose my weaknesses – he took me apart.

“I’m not the player I was 18 months ago, but I think I can get it back by playing in more tournaments. You can’t go missing for five or six frames, as I am doing. I had years of that, and it makes things tough.”

With his victory over Allen in the evening session, Murphy kept alive his hopes of securing a career ‘triple crown’, coming back from 2-0 down to win six frames in a row.

“A lot has been said and written about me needing this to complete the triple crown. As much as you try and ignore it, you can’t,” Murphy told the BBC.

“It does mean so much to have another crack in the final. When Neil plays like he has done this week, he is almost unbeatable. It is my job to try and find a nick somewhere.”

Read more at ESPN

Darts: Brilliant Anderson claims dramatic first world title

Gary Anderson defeated Phil Taylor 7-6 to clinch his first ever PDC World Championship title after a dramatic final.

Anderson, who lost his only other world championship final appearance against Adrian Lewis in 2011, defied bad luck and numerous bounce-outs to deny Taylor a 17th world crown and collect the £250,000 top prize.

Taylor won the bullseye and decided to let Anderson throw first, but it did not faze the Scot as he took a tight opening set with composed finishes of 120 and 121.

It didn’t take long for Anderson to strike again either as he immediately broke the Taylor throw with a 76-finish and held for a two-leg lead. However, Taylor replied with a 13-dart leg and broke back with an 11-darter, before overcoming some nervous finishing to level the match.

An under-pressure Anderson held the opening leg of the third but a superb 127-finish from Taylor quickly levelled proceedings. Anderson restored his lead with a 76-finish before hitting the 604th tournament maximum – a new PDC World Championship record – and landing double top for the set.

Nine missed darts at a double from Taylor allowed Anderson to break throw early in the fourth and he held for a two-leg lead. Taylor hit back with double eight but couldn’t stop Anderson taking a 3-1 advantage, as another fine 72-finish put him further ahead.

However, Taylor suddenly turned it on and, after winning six consecutive legs without reply, the match was level at 3-3. Anderson’s form dipped and Taylor, despite suffering trouble on double eight and 16, eased the seventh set to lead 4-3 and move ahead for the first time in the match.

Anderson, who endured rotten luck with bounce-outs all evening, landed two double-tops to break throw but an 82-finish drew Taylor level before he narrowly held with a scintillating 141 checkout. Anderson landed three rapid 180s and, after Taylor missed three darts at double 12 to lead 5-3, he took out double eight for a level match.

Taylor broke immediately thanks to more bad luck for Anderson: having landed two treble 20’s, Anderson’s third dart knocked all three out of the board and he was left with no score. Anderson was left fuming after an ill-timed shout from the crowd but he recovered from two legs down to take the set and lead 5-4.

Despite watching Taylor take the opening leg of the 10th set, Anderson responded with two maximums and his finishing touch returned to give him a 6-4 lead and move him within one of the title.

Taylor missed double 12 for a nine-dart leg but it was enough for him to break throw in set 11 and, with Anderson struggling to land darts in the board, closed the deficit to 6-5. Anderson missed a dart at double-top to break in the 12th and Taylor held his nerve to send a glorious final into a deciding set.

Anderson landed double top with his last dart to hold the opening leg of the last set and, after a superbly-timed 180, broke with double 16. There was no stopping the Scotsman, who hit his 19th 180 of the match to take control and finally claim the first world title of his career.

Read more at ESPN