Victory seals a fifth title of the season for O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Shaun Murphy in the Players Championship to claim a joint-record fifth title of the season.

The 42-year-old five-time world champion won Sunday’s best-of-19 contest 10-4 in Llandudno.

After taking the lead at 2-1 O’Sullivan never looked back, despite fellow Englishman Murphy scoring the game’s highest break of 137 as he briefly rallied to trail 7-4.

It is O’Sullivan’s 33rd ranking title – three short of Stephen Hendry’s record.

Victory for the world number two follows wins at the English Open, the Shanghai Masters, the UK Championship and the World Grand Prix.

Over the 1990-91 campaign, Hendry won five of the eight ranking events, a feat also matched last season by Mark Selby.

Murphy, the 2005 world champion, said it had been a “real honour to share the stage” with O’Sullivan.

“I predicted that if I didn’t play at my very best I wouldn’t win, and I was right,” the 35-year-old said on ITV4.

“On behalf of all the players, I’d like to pay a tribute to Ronnie for the the standard he is playing. While prolonging his career he’s taking the game to new heights.”

O’Sullivan said: “I played pretty decent, I’m pleased.

“I’ve just got to try and prolong my career as Shaun said. I can’t play as much as the other guys because I would just be burned out.

“I’ve played some pretty good stuff over the past years, but this year I really have focused on match snooker and the results have come. I’m delighted to pick up some more silverware.”

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