Masters snooker LIVE: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Shaun Murphy to reach final

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s pursuit of an eighth Masters crown rolls on after he demolished Shaun Murphy 6-2 to reach the final.

O’Sullivan hit the headlines after describing the Alexandra Palace venue as “disgusting” after his quarter-final win over Barry Hawkins but that didn’t stop him producing a supreme show of snooker might to down Murphy and reach a remarkable 14th Masters final.

The 48-year-old can become the oldest player in history to win the Masters by triumphing in Sunday showpiece and that would add to his exisitng record of being the youngest-ever winner of the tournament. His victory at the UK Championship in December ensured he is now the oldest and youngest man to win that event.

O’Sullivan will play either Ali Carter or Mark Allen, who meet later on Saturday, in Sunday’s final.

Relive the semi-final below:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy - live updates

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Shaun Murphy 6-2 in the Masters semi-final

  • O’Sullivan is now just one win away from a record-extending eighth Masters title

  • REPORT: Ronnie O’Sullivan calls out younger players after cruising into Masters final

  • ‘The Rocket’ criticised ‘disgusting’ Alexandra Palace ahead of the semi-final

  • Final score: Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy

Ronnie O’Sullivan calls out younger players for being unable to beat him after cruising into Masters final

17:22 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan stormed into a 14th Masters final with a 6-2 win over Shaun Murphy and then called on snooker’s young pretenders to up their game.

The 48-year-old moved one victory away from becoming the oldest winner of this Triple Crown event with four half-century breaks enough to down old rival Murphy in their first meeting for five years.

Murphy reeled off two superb three-figure breaks, including 131 in the third frame, but O’Sullivan’s cavalier approach paid dividends with reds aplenty potted in this semi-final to delight a packed Alexandra Palace crowd.

“I don’t feel that old,” O’Sullivan, the youngest ever Masters winner, told BBC. “I know my age but I feel young in my mind and I feel young when I am around the table.

“I feel a lot younger round the table than I do when I play these young players. They look old! Their brains are quite slow so for me, I feel like my brain is pretty quick around the snooker table, which is enough.

“Yeah, they need to get their act together because I am going blind, I have a dodgy arm and bad knees. And they still can’t beat me!”

Ronnie O’Sullivan calls out younger players after cruising into Masters final

Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts to reaching Masters final

16:15 , Luke Baker

Here’s some flash reaction form Ronnie O’Sullivan after beating Shaun Murphy 6-2 to reach another Masters final

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy

15:55 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan into a 14th Masters final in 30 years of coming to the tournament, which is a frankly ridiculous record. He’ll face either Mark Allen or Ali Carter, who square off in the other semi-final later this evening.

O’Sullivan can become the oldest man to win the Masters with victory - much like the UK Championship, he’s already the youngest-ever winner. That final will be over two sessions at 1pm and 7pm.

FRAME AND MATCH! Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy

15:46 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan finishes it off with a break of 19 to win the final frame 81-8. An unbelievable performance! Incredible from The Rocket.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Shaun Murphy

15:45 , Luke Baker

Murphy might have thought he was out of the tournament but needs to compose himself. Lovely red up into the green pocket to get him going but then the mistake.

Over-cuts a red to the right corner and leaves it for O’Sullivan. This will be match over.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Shaun Murphy

15:44 , Luke Baker

This is curtains for Murphy now, surely? A pink to the corner moves O’Sullivan beyond 50 and he just needs one final split of the pack off the black.

Again, not perfect and he misses the pot to right middle! It was tough, across the nap of the cloth but the way he is playing you fancied him for it. Murphy trails 62-0 but at least he’s alive in the frame.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Shaun Murphy

15:42 , Luke Baker

Oof! O’Sullivan crunches a red into the pocket across the table to get himself in among the balls again. Six loose reds easily potted and once he reaches 34, he goes into the pack.

The black makes it 41 but the split isn’t quite right. But it doesn’t matter! Pulls out a double to right middle - absolutely incredible!

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Shaun Murphy

15:38 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan is now three frames ahead with four to play. HArd to see a way back into it for Murphy but he has to keep believing.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Shaun Murphy

15:37 , Luke Baker

And there is no mistake from O’Sullivan. A drama-free break and moves beyond the snookers-required stage. He reaches 71 and tries a long red up into the green pocket but it misses.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Shaun Murphy

15:34 , Luke Baker

It feels like O’Sullivan has kicked up a gear and this is looking a bit ominous for Murphy. The Rocket moves beyond 20 and although a positional shot is slightly raggedy, he calmly pots the blue to right middle and lands nicely on the next red.

The goes into the 30s and then the 40s. Hard to see where a mistake will come from.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Shaun Murphy

15:31 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan wins the safety exchange and gets in with a red to middle but misses the subsequent yellow. But Murphy responds in kind. Pots a good red with the rest but misses the blue up into the green pocket.

It’s left O’Sullivan among the balls and he can build a lead.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Shaun Murphy

15:25 , Luke Baker

A few pics from the afternoon so far. Ronnie O’Sullivan is just two frames away from victory now.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Shaun Murphy

15:23 , Luke Baker

Sublime from O’Sullivan. He misses out on a century as he’s forced into a double when he reaches 90 and misses. But no damage done - in the blink of an eye he extends his lead.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-2 Shaun Murphy

15:22 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan doesn’t hang around when he’s in stroke. In barely four minutes, the break is up to 67 and he faces a long red up into the green pocket to leave Murphy needing snookers. Lines it up and slides it perfectly into the centre of the pocket. Great pot.

This has been a ruthless break and O’Sullivan will go 4-2 up.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-2 Shaun Murphy

15:18 , Luke Baker

Frame six underway and O’Sullivan pots a red to get in. When he reaches 12, he goes into the pack off the black. It’s ok but doesn’t work out perfectly.

A tricky red across the table, into the right middle and he nails it! Rolls it right into the heart of the pocket. Superb from The Rocket and he’s in control here, looking in full flow.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-2 Shaun Murphy

15:15 , Luke Baker

The break ends soon after as he misses a pot but it matters not. Another frame on the board and another century for good measure.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

15:13 , Luke Baker

And fancy another century he does! The penultimate red, followed by the black brings up another ton for The Magician! His second of the match.

A break of 135 is possible here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

15:12 , Luke Baker

All about Murphy keeping his concentration now as the balls are there for the taking. He looks calm and composed and has the cueball on a string.

Pots a black off the spot to move to 71 with only 67 points remaining, leaving O’Sullivan needing snookers. Fancy another century, Shaun?

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

15:11 , Luke Baker

Here was that Murphy century from the one frame he has won so far. Can he make another here. He’s up beyond 50 now and nicely splits the reds. The frame is at his mercy, you feel.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

15:09 , Luke Baker

Murphy in first in frame five with a good, long red. Winning frames at one visit is so important against Ronnie O’Sullivan and the reds look decently set here.

He takes the break beyond 30 with minimal fuss.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

15:08 , Luke Baker

Right, the players are back after the mid-session interval. Shaun Murphy needs to find a way to turn this match around

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Shaun Murphy

14:55 , Luke Baker

It’s O’Sullivan who eventually makes the decisive pot to get back in and from there he holds his nerve to clear up and restore his two-frame advantage.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Shaun Murphy

14:42 , Luke Baker

Both men give away four penalty points apiece and then Murphy misses a yellow as a free ball to left middle It’s 44-35 to The Rocket as the safety battle continues.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Shaun Murphy

14:34 , Luke Baker

Ooh that’s an unexpected miss from O’Sullivan! The red to right middle seems pretty straightforward but he’s focusing too much on splitting the pack and misses the pot!

He leads by nine points, at 40-31 but this frame is up for grabs with two reds left.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Shaun Murphy

14:30 , Luke Baker

Murphy eradicates O’Sullivan’s lead but a cannon goes wrong and so he leaves the table 19-18 ahead.

But he gets back in shortly after with a nice safety shot and can build his lead further.

Actually, no he can’t! He tries to power a red into the right corner to screw back for the colour but misses the red. 31-19 to Muprhy but O’Sullivan back at the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Shaun Murphy

14:25 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan straight in among the balls in frame four with a nice pot but he can only make 18 before missing a red tot he corner as it flicks off another red.

Murphy then pots a red to right middle to get himself in a scoring position.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Shaun Murphy

14:23 , Luke Baker

Wow what a break that is from Shaun Murphy! He looks sublime as he strides round the table and racks up pot after pot. The frame is quickly taken away from O’Sullivan and then it’s just whether Murphy can make the century.

He looks like falling just short when he tries a double off the final red and misses but it careens up the table and flicks in off the green to the corner pocket. What a fluke! He takes full advantage and makes a total clearance of 131 to get a frame on the board.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Shaun Murphy

14:13 , Luke Baker

Stunning pot by Shaun Murphy and then a brave brown to the left middle to follow. Great start to frame three for him and can he make a substantial contribution now and keep O’Sullivan in his seat?

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Shaun Murphy

14:08 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan snuffs the second frame out though. Plays a double ont he final red, with safety in mind, and it finds the pocket. Pots a nice green to ensure Murphy won’t return to the table and then clears up to the black.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Shaun Murphy

14:05 , Luke Baker

A good break by O’Sullivan as he makes 56 but eventually runs out of position and is unable to dislodge the final red from the bottom cushion. Just a safety.

56-32 to The Rocket with 35 points remaining. He’s in control but Murphy not out of this as he returns to the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Shaun Murphy

14:02 , Luke Baker

Murphy looks typically fluent around the table but then breaks down inexplicably on 32. He misses a black off the spot to the right corner. It wasn’t completely straightforward but any black off the spot, you expect these players to get. He missed it thick.

A 32-point lead nowhere near enough and O’Sullivan can counter with the reds beautifully placed.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Shaun Murphy

13:58 , Luke Baker

Frame two underway and a surprising miss from O’Sullivan early on. He looks perfectly set with a red to the right corner but tries to crunch it in too hard and it bounces out.

Simple red for Murphy to the middle and he can get among the balls and make the first break in this second frame.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Shaun Murphy

13:55 , Luke Baker

Valiant effort by Murphy as he pots the brown and tries to get the one remaining snooker needed on the blue. But he leaves O’Sullivan a chance at the pot up into the yellow pocket and The Rocket makes no mistake to finish it once and for alL.


Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:54 , Luke Baker

Murphy does put O’Sullivan in a couple of snookers but every time he’s able to come off a cushion and hit the brown. This is a real game of cat and mouse.

Well, well, well. Murphy does get one four-point snooker as the cueball is in tight behind the pink and O’Sullivan misses off the cushion. He still needs another one but the frame isn’t over yet.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:49 , Luke Baker

What a break by Murphy! He takes a brown with the first red, leaving no margin for error but a superb pot down the right cushion and stunning the cueball across to take the black on the other cushion keeps him on track.

Rest of the reds tidied up and he just needs the colours to snatch the frame by a point. But he misses the green! It’s a tricky one along the top cushion and it rattles out after hitting both jaws.

O’Sullivan slams it in and Murphy now needs two snookers at 70-43 behind but only 22 points left. He returns to the table trying to get those.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:45 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan builds his lead up to 67-12 with minimal fuss but a dodgy contact on the blue leaves him a much trickier pot, with the rest, on a red than he wanted. And he misses it, rattling the jaws and staying out.

This frame should really be over and While The Rocket is in complete control, Murphy still has a chance with 59 points remaining and trailing by 55.

In fact, Murphy gets in next when O’Sullivan misses another pot. Can The Magician steal this frame?

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:41 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan wins the safety battle as Murphy leaves the cueball among the reds down the business end of the table from a safety shot gone wrong. It leaves The Rocket a two-ball plant to the left corner to get him started.

Another chance to win this frame now and the reds aren’t too badly spread.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:38 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan can’t keep the white out of the pocket at the moment! He pots a nice red to the middle but is unfortunate to see the cueball drop into the right corner pocket.

He’d come up just short on a roll-up safety a little before, so Murphy now on 12 points without potting a ball. O’Sullivan still leads 30-12 as the players exchange safety shots waiting for an opening.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:35 , Luke Baker

The reds are quite nicely spread here and O’Sullivan might fancy wrapping this frame up in one visit. There’s no drama early in the break as he ticks off reds with blacks but runs slightly out of position on 30 when a cannon goes slightly wrong.

He is left without a pot, so plays safe, dumping the white on the bottom cushion. He’ll be frustrated he didn’t make more there.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:31 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan goes in-off the red to give Murphy four penalty points and an early look at a long red. He misses it by quite a distance though, easy starter for O’Sullivan and he gets the first scoring chance.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Shaun Murphy

13:30 , Luke Baker

Cracking atmosphere at Ally Pally. O’Sullivan breaks and we’re underway in the semi-final - a safety exchange to begin things.

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy

13:27 , Luke Baker

MC Rob Walker gets the boys on the baize. A typically rapturous reception for O’Sullivan, although a nice welcome for Murphy as well.

Let’s get this going - remember, it’s best of 11, so whoever is first to six frames books a place in the final.

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy

13:25 , Luke Baker

This is a bit of a grudge match - Ronnie and Shaun don’t really like each other. They’re always sniping away in the press, so it will be interesting to see if that gives one of other of them added motivation.

It’s also worth noting that Shaun Murphy was on punditry duty until gone midnight for the BBC last night - covering the Mark Allen v Mark Selby quarter-final that went all the way. Surely not ideal preparation to face the greatest snooker player of all time...?

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy

13:09 , Luke Baker

We’re probably about 15 minutes away from this afternoon’s semi-final getting underway. Shaun Murphy has arguably been in better form than Ronnie O’Sullivan this week but the head-to-head overwhelmingly favours The Rocket.

He leads it 14-4 and Murphy hasn’t beaten the seven-time Masters winners since the 2017 Champion of Champions final, where he triumphed 10-8. Seven years is a long time to wait!

Ronnie O’Sullivan is our greatest sportsman – and the most devastatingly honest

12:58 , Luke Baker

There is a scene in Edge of Everything, the new documentary about Ronnie O’Sullivan, that provides as sharp an analysis as you will ever see of the pressures of top-level sport. It is from footage taken in his dressing room during the final of the 2022 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

At 46, O’Sullivan is poised to become the oldest winner of the title in history. But as he takes a break in the scrabble to overcome his opponent Judd Trump, he is behaving less like a seasoned veteran and more like a panicked teenager, stomping around the room in total dismay, close to tears in his frustration.

“F*** me Steve,” he tells his resident psychiatrist coach Dr Steve Peters. “I’m bashed up here mate. What do I do?”

The gap between O’Sullivan’s apparently serene progress to gaining his record-breaking seventh world title and what was going on in his head at the time is what makes him such a fascinating character. Even better, such is his garrulous lack of worldly concern, he has long been more than happy to let us, his army of admirers, get a glimpse of what is happening beneath the bonnet. For much of his extraordinary career dominating and defining his sport, it is almost as if, for this complicated, troubled, challenged individual, we are part of the process of therapy. That he needs to share the burden in order to stay one step ahead.

Read Jim White’s analysis of the snooker legend:

In a world of PR sports documentaries, Ronnie O’Sullivan proves he is the real thing

Ronnie O’Sullivan documentary lays bare his snooker addiction and flaws in stark contrast to Beckham series

12:52 , Luke Baker

There are a number of eye-opening moments in the new Ronnie O’Sullivan documentary, The Edge of Everything, which lays bare one of the most complex and compelling characters in sport and a lifelong battle with his own genius. But one scene is particularly striking, when O’Sullivan and his parents remember his father’s arrest and sentencing for murder.

“I don’t want to talk about this because it’s not fair on the people that have lost their son,” says Ronnie O’Sullivan Sr, of the night he stabbed Bruce Bryan to death in a club on Chelsea’s King’s Road and injured Bruce’s brother Kelvin. “I know I took that man’s life and I know I hurt the other one ... I’m still alive, thank God, but if I hadn’t done what I’d done, I’d be dead.”

Read Lawrence Ostlere’s review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan documentary, The Edge of Everything:

Ronnie O’Sullivan documentary lays bare his flaws in stark contrast to Beckham series

Ronnie O’Sullivan criticises ‘disgusting’ Alexandra Palace venue before Masters semi-final

12:47 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan has hit out at iconic London venue Alexandra Palace, saying it is “disgusting” and playing there makes him “feel ill”.

The snooker world number one is playing at the Masters at Alexandra Palace this week, where he is a seven-time champion, but said he “can’t wait to get out of here” after advancing to the semi-finals.

The 159-year-old venue in north London has hosted the Masters tournament since 2012 and has also staged the PDC World Darts Championship since 2008, where Luke Littler stunned the sport with his run to the final last week.

But O’Sullivan is not impressed by playing at Alexandra Palace and said after his 6-3 win over Barry Hawkins on Thursday: “I just don’t like this place. I find it disgusting.

“Everywhere is dirty. It’s cold. It’s freezing, I have to wear my coat everywhere. You go through car parks. There are bins. Honestly, it just makes me feel ill.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan criticises ‘disgusting’ Alexandra Palace venue: ‘Makes me feel ill’

Ronnie O’Sullivan overcomes illness to grind past Barry Hawkins at Masters

12:42 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan relished the prospect of a “massive, dirty curry” after grinding out a 6-3 win over Barry Hawkins in a Masters quarter-final that lacked spice.

The seven-time Masters winner looked under the weather as he wore a thick coat for his post-match TV interview, muttering: “I fancy a curry – a massive, dirty curry. There’s nothing I don’t like.”

In a match awash with errors from both players, O’Sullivan kicked off with a break of 88 but had to wait until the penultimate frame to post his next half-century, a 60 to move one frame from victory, before wrapping it up with a break of 77

O’Sullivan said he had been “lucky to get through” to what will be his 15th appearance in the semi-finals of the Masters.

“I felt bad for Barry, I just dragged him down to my level. It’s a funny old game,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport. “I didn’t feel any pressure at all to be honest, maybe that’s why I played like I did. I think you need that pressure sometimes to get you motivated.

Ronnie O’Sullivan overcomes illness to grind past Barry Hawkins at Masters

Mark Allen produces second maximum of the Masters in narrow win over Mark Selby

12:37 , Luke Baker

Mark Allen registered the second 147 of this year’s Masters as he edged past Mark Selby 6-5 and into the semi-finals.

After losing the first two frames, Allen got off the mark by producing another maximum to add to Ding Junhui’s in the opening round at Alexandra Palace, the third of the Northern Irishman’s career.

Selby subsequently moved 4-1 ahead before Allen claimed four frames in a row, including a break of 103, to take the lead.

After Selby brought things level again, Allen took the final frame to book a semi-final clash with Ali Carter.

Mark Allen produces second maximum of the Masters in narrow win over Mark Selby

Masters snooker schedule

12:32 , Luke Baker

First round (best of 11 frames)

Sunday 7 January

Monday 8 January

Tuesday 9 January

Wednesday 10 January

Quarter-finals (best of 11 frames)

Thursday 11 January

Friday 12 January

Semi-finals (best of 11 frames)

Saturday 13 January

  • 1pm: Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy – BBC One, Eurosport and Discovery+

  • 7pm: Ali Carter v Mark Allen – BBC Two, Eurosport and Discovery+

Final (best of 19 frames)

Sunday 14 January

  • 1pm and 7pm – BBC Two, Eurosport and Discovery+

What is the Masters prize money?

12:25 , Luke Baker

Here’s how much the players will earn at Ally Pally this week:

Winner: £250,000

Runner-up: £100,000

Semi-finals: £60,000

Quarter-finals: £30,000

First round: £15,000

Highest break prize: £15,000

Total prize pot: £725,000

When is the Masters and how to watch?

12:17 , Luke Baker

When is the tournament?

The Masters begins on Sunday 7 January at Alexandra Palace, and the final will be played on Sunday 14 January.

How to watch

The entire tournament will be broadcast on Eurosport and Discovery+, which are the rights holders in Ireland and the rest of Europe. Some matches will also be shown on BBC TV channels.

Viewers can stream the action online via the BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer websites and apps, as well as the Eurosport and Discovery+ website and apps.

Masters snooker schedule and order of play today

12:14 , Luke Baker

Snooker returns to our screens in 2024 with the Masters at Alexandra Palace, one of the sport’s jewels in the Triple Crown.

The Masters is always a special event as the world’s best 16 players go up against one another in a straight knockout format.

Judd Trump is the reigning champion after beating Mark Williams in last year’s final, while Ronnie O’Sullivan is aiming to win a record-extending eighth title.

There are several other past winners in this year’s tournament. Mark Selby has three Masters titles; John Higgins, Neil Robertson and Williams have all won it twice; Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen and Trump all have one title each.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2024 Masters.

Masters snooker schedule and order of play

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy

12:14 , Luke Baker

Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Masters snooker from Alexandra Palace. The dart boards have been packed away and the baize snooker table erected at Ally Pally for the first event of the year.

And we have a cracking semi-final this afternoon with the ever-popular Ronnie O’Sullivan facing one of the sport’s other big-hitters, Shaun Murphy.

Stick with us for full live coverage.