Shaun Murphy holds off Ronnie O'Sullivan comeback to clinch title
Shaun Murphy defeated a spirited Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-8 in the Champion of Champions tournament in Coventry.
O'Sullivan trailed 8-4 and 9-5 before coming back to 9-8, and looked on course to take it to a decider until he missed a tricky green.
The five-times world champion raced into a 2-0 lead with breaks of 97 and 98 but Murphy was able to fight back to secure a 2-2 scoreline at the interval.
Following the break, Murphy moved 4-2 clear, but O'Sullivan took the seventh frame to trail by one.
O'Sullivan then levelled at four-all with a break of 72, followed by another of 33, before Murphy took the final frame of the session to make it 5-4.
After the restart, Murphy extended his lead, running in 86, and that advantage grew over the course of the evening to 9-5 boosted by further runs of 56, 74 and 71.
But despite toiling, O'Sullivan was not done yet, and after a battle to make it 9-6, a superb 108 break made it 9-7, which he then built on to bring the scores to 8-9 in Murphy's favour.
In a scrappy final frame, O'Sullivan looked to be on the cusp of a famous comeback but he missed frame ball green to level at 9-9 before Murphy sealed a 10-8 win.
The Champion of Champions is an invitational event contested between the winners of the season's major tournaments over the past year starting from world champion Mark Selby's victory at the UK Championship last December.
Murphy's win adds to a trophy cabinet which already includes the sport's "Triple Crown" - the World and UK Championships and the Masters, while his Gibraltar Open win in March was his seventh ranking title.
Murphy jawed a red when on course to win frame 18 and the match, but O'Sullivan's reply came up short. He played a good positional shot onto a difficult yellow and potted it along the cushion, but could only leave the green to the left middle and missed it on the far jaw allowing Murphy to finally finish the job.
While he savoured the £100,000 prize, O'Sullivan was left to reflect on a second successive runner-up finish in Coventry having lost last year's final to John Higgins.
Champion of Champions results/schedule
Group Four fixtures (Thursday November 9)
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-1 Neil Robertson
- John Higgins 4-0 Anthony McGill
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-0 John Higgins
Group Three fixtures (Wednesday November 8)
- Mark Selby 4-3 Liang Wenbo
- Judd Trump 0-4 Luca Brecel
- Mark Selby 4-6 Luca Brecel
Group Two results (Tuesday November 7)
- Marco Fu 3-4 Michael White
- Shaun Murphy 4-2 Mark King
- Final (best of 11 frames)
- Michael White 4-6 Shaun Murphy
Group One results (Monday November 8)
- Ding Junhui 2-4 Anthony Hamilton
- Barry Hawkins 2-4 Ryan Day
- Anthony Hamilton 6-4 Ryan Day
Semi-finals (best of 11 frames)
- Friday November 10
- Anthony Hamilton 2-6 Ronnie O'Sullivan
- Saturday November 11
- Shaun Murphy 6-4 Luca Brecel
Final (best of 19 frames)
- Sunday November 12
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 8-10 Shaun Murphy