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Ronnie O'Sullivan v Joe Perry: Masters Snooker 2017 Final preview - Rocket targeting record triumph

Jamie Shaw 22 Jan 2017
O'Sullivan celebrates beating Perry at The Crucible in 2014 (credit:Credit by bettingpro)

Reigning champion Ronnie O'Sullivan bids to secure a record seventh Masters title when he takes on an inspired Joe Perry in the final at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

Watch and bet on O'Sullivan vs Perry live at Bet365 > Sports > Live streaming Snooker


Victory would see O'Sullivan eclipse Stephen Hendry's joint tally of six Masters crowns and become the first player to retain this trophy since the late Paul Hunter back in 2002.

Fans' favourite O'Sullivan has had a dramatic route to his twelfth Masters final, notably battling back from the brink to edge out Liang Wenbo in a last-frame decider and overcoming tip trouble to deny an in-form Marco Fu in the Semi-Finals.

The 41-year-old has finished runner-up in the European Masters, Champion of Champions and UK Championship this season and will be determined to go one step further and return to the winner's circle.

He starts out as the huge odds-on favourite against Perry - a player entering uncharted territory in his first Triple Crown final in 26 years as a professional.

Defending champion O'Sullivan enters the arena (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
The ninth seed recorded back-to-back 6-1 routs of Stuart Bingham and Ding Junhui before mounting a magnificent comeback from 5-2 down to deny Barry Hawkins in a latenight thriller on Saturday.

The Cambridge cueist had previously progressed beyond the First Round of this prestigious invitational just once in eight attempts but now finds himself on the brink of a historic success and what would surely be the pinnacle of his career.

Perry, though, will need to draw upon every ounce of mental strength and ability if he is to defy the odds and brush himself down from last night's gruelling battle with the 2016 runner-up. 

The head-to-head record between the two players makes for grim reading for Perry - who has won just two of his 15 previous meetings with 'The Rocket' dating back to 1999.

O'Sullivan has won the last seven encounters between the two, including their 2016 Welsh Open Semi-Final and 2014 World Championship classic in which Perry battled all the way before going down 13-11.

The final gets underway at 1pm GMT, resuming to a finish from 7pm, and will be contested over the best of 19 frames at the Alexandra Palace in London.

Player's view:

O'Sullivan: "I'm just relieved to have got through, so for me, I've already done something I wasn't expecting.

"Just to be involved on the final Sunday is amazing."

Perry: "I'm going to be second favourite, but that won't be my attitude. I've got to go out there, play to the very best of my ability, try my absolute hardest and you just never know what might happen.

"I've played Hendry, Davis and Jimmy, but Ronnie's that one player against whom it is that much harder to just play the table." 


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Ronnie O'Sullivan v Joe Perry: Masters Snooker 2017 Final preview - Rocket targeting record triumph

Reigning champion Ronnie O'Sullivan bids to secure a record seventh Masters title when he takes on an inspired Joe Perry in the final at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.

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