It was his first tournament back after a break of five months – and he certainly meant business.
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the Shanghai Masters for a third time after beating Barry Hawkins 11-9 in a topsy-turvey final.
O’Sullivan was the defending champion after winning the event last year and there was no stopping him here in his pursuit of the new £200,000 top prize marking a new era for the Shanghai Masters as snooker’s most lucrative invitational event in the calendar.
Hawkins, who has previously suffered heavy defeats to O’Sullivan in previous big matches, put on a strong fight and barring some reckless shots, the final could have gone his way.
Trailing 6-4 after the opening session, O’Sullivan began to put his foot on the accelerator at the start of the evening session winning the first four frames to take an 8-6 lead at the mid session interval.
After the restart Hawkins got his first frame on the board of the evening session to make it 8-7 only for the Rocket to extended his lead to 9-7 with a break of 83.
O’Sullivan then edged even closer to glory by making it 10-7, before Hawkins showed his steel to close within one at 10-9 and create a knife-edge finish.
However, 33-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan closed out the win in style with a break of 122.
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