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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 05:45 GMT
Hunter claims Masters epic
By Clive Jones
BBC Sport at Wembley

Paul Hunter roared back to win an epic final as he beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-9 to win his third title in four years.

O'Sullivan looked to be cruising to victory as he took a 6-2 first session lead then made it 7-2 at the start of the evening session.

But Hunter refused to buckle and took his tally of centuries in the match to five before hauling himself level.

O'Sullivan led again at 9-8 but Hunter fought back once more to level and then clinched a nail-biting decider.

Hunter once again proved he is the Houdini of The Masters after his superb comeback.

Hunter won the title in 2001 with a 10-9 victory over Fergal O'Brien after trailing 7-3 at one stage.

Ronnie punished me in the afternoon session but I was pleased with the way I came back
Paul Hunter

In the following year he was trailing Mark Williams 5-0 before retaining the title with another 10-9 triumph.

"I knew I had it in me to come back because I have done it before and I felt I could do it again.

"When I was 6-1 down, I was still enjoying myself.

"Ronnie punished me in the afternoon session but I was pleased with the way I came back and made some good breaks.

"For me to be able to compete in a final against Ronnie at Wembley is a dream come true and I just concentrated on my game when I got to the table."

O'Sullivan was philosophical after his defeat.

"I was a little disappointed, but it is only a game of snooker. Someone has to win and someone has to lose and this time it was my turn to lose," he said.

"Paul is a tough competitor and he came back at me with some great breaks. He thoroughly deserved to win and I am happy for him and his family."

Masters champion Paul Hunter
"I played really well even when I was 6-2 down"

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