Recently, the Snooker Masters occurred, and with the tournament contested between the highest ranked players on the tour, it seemed any player possessed the capabilities to emerge with the trophy. Reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan may have been the favourite, perhaps predominantly due to his six previous victories in the competition, yet other players, such as world number one Mark Selby, seemed to be motivated to highlight the reasons he is ranked at the pinnacle. Yet, it was indeed O’Sullivan who claimed the title, resulting in the Englishman winning his seventh title, surpassing Steven Hendry’s previous record. As such, O’Sullivan seemed to gain the plaudits with his victory, and may have showcased the reasoning as to why he may be regarded as amongst the most proficient players in the world.
The opening match of the tournament was contested between O’Sullivan and number 12 seed Liang Wenbo, and with O’Sullivan boasting the number one seeding, it may have seemed he possessed the superior credentials to advance to the quarter-finals. Yet, Wenbo seemed to be motivated by his maiden victory in the English Open, and as such seemed to play at a high standard. Ultimately, it was indeed O’Sullivan who advanced, yet the match seemed to suggest the tournament may produce intriguing encounters due to the high rankings of the players. With the first round also seeing victories versus the third, fourth, and fifth seeds, this suggestion may have been amplified, and after Barry Hawkins’ victory versus world number one Mark Selby, it seemed any player may emerge with the trophy. Yet, after O’Sullivan’s semi-final victory versus Marco Fu, it seemed he was indeed the favourite in his quest for the title.
As such, the final was contested between O’Sullivan and Joe Perry and, although O’Sullivan gained the top ranking, it seemed Perry may have played at a higher standard in the earlier rounds, amassing higher scores than his opposing number. In the opening session, Perry seemed to continue his seemingly consistent form, with three totals of 90 or more resulting in a 4-1 advantage. Yet, O’Sullivan, perhaps motivated by the desire to surpass Hendry’s record, equalled the score, and victory in seven consecutive frames seemed to enable him to emerge victorious via a 10-7 score-line. O’Sullivan may be able to utilise this tournament in a productive manner, as victory, coupled with amassing three century scores in a single visit to the table, may suggest he is playing at his peak ability. Perry may be able to utilise the tournament also, as recording a superior number of both century and 50 breaks in the final may place him in good stead for the rest of the year.
O’Sullivan’s victory may have enabled him to continue his quest to regain the number one ranking, perhaps in turn motivating him to expand his trophy cabinet to elevate this quest further. Whilst his aforementioned victory is his first of the season, he has reached three ranking finals in this period; this may motivate him to strive for further successes this season, and add to his ever-expanding repertoire. It is indeed this trophy cabinet, which may be his crowning glory, as victory in 28 ranking tournaments, his first in 1993, may showcase his ability. It may be this longevity, and consistency, at the pinnacle of the sport, which may enable his legacy to be considered alongside Hendry and Higgins’, and achieving further accomplishments may ensure this.
With the German Masters approaching, the players who competed in this tournament may look to utilise their experiences in their attempts to gain silverware. Whilst O’Sullivan’s aforementioned victory may result in him being deemed the favourite, as he seems to be an accomplished player capable of victory versus any rival, the scoring of 26 centuries in the tournament, cumulated between twelve players, may suggest multiple players possess similar high credentials. Ultimately, whilst the Masters seemed to showcase the quality the tour possesses, the plaudits seem to have been won by O’Sullivan, as his continuous achievement of feats may suggest he is the most dexterous player in the world, and as such may motivate other players to attempt to replicate his accomplishments.
How might other players utilise O’Sullivan’s career accomplishments in order to replicate his achievements?