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Spellbinding Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches Champion of Champions Semi-Finals

O'Sullivan shakes hands with Higgins (credit:ITV Sport)

Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a masterclass of break-building en route to a 6-3 victory over John Higgins to reach the Semi-Finals of the 2018 Champion of Champions in Coventry on Tuesday.

O'Sullivan, who has reached the final in all four previous appearances in the elite invitational, continued his superb record at the Ricoh Arena by overcoming long-term rival Higgins in the Group Four decider.

The two-time Champion of Champions had began the day with a 4-2 victory over Stuart Bingham with two centuries along the way before adding a further four tons in a thrilling contest in the evening.

The Rocket will now face Shaun Murphy in the Last Four on Friday, and admitted: "I enjoyed it. 

"When I play well I always enjoy it but to do it against someone like John, it's even more special.

"Him and Stephen [Hendry] are the two greatest players I've ever played so I bow to them, they're different league.

"I've only played two tournaments whereas the other guys have played about ten so I felt a little bit nervy coming in thinking I might be off the pace.

"When you come here you feel appreciated, you feel motivated to play well.

"When you get to some of the other places you turn up and you feel beaten before you start, it's so de-motivating.

"If you get excited, you tend to play alright," he added.

O'Sullivan kicked off the group final with a 57 break in clinching the opening frame before firing in a clinical clearance of 109 to double his lead.

Higgins got off and running in style with a break of 91 before overturning a 59 break from 'The Rocket' with a granite 70 clearance to restore parity.

The Scot then secured a third consecutive frame courtesy of a break of 83 to go in front for the first time in the match.

O'Sullivan, though, got back on track with sensational back-to-back tons, following up a break of 101 with a 137 clearance to move 4-3 ahead.

He then dominated frame eight before putting the gloss on a spellbinding display with a break of 114.

"I'm a bit disappointed but I can't really be," Higgins admitted. "Ronnie just went up a level from when I was 3-2 in front.

"I can't speak highly enough of him as a player, he's unbelievable and if you're not on your game, you're not going to win.

"I felt good but he just shut me out.

"I'll get my chin up and put some hard practice in because I need it."

O'Sullivan found himself behind against Bingham in a repeat of the 2013 final but ignited his charge with back-to-back breaks of 109 and 116.

Bingham levelled with a 56 before the Shanghai Masters champion compiled breaks of 68 and 60 to advance to the group final.

Higgins held his nerve to edge out Welsh ace Ryan Day 4-3 in a high quality encounter which featured three centuries.

Day led thanks to a break of 69 before Higgins replied with successive tons (106 and 100), though Day hit back with a half century (56) to level up.

The Gibraltar Open champion then went back in front by virtue of a brilliant break of 106, but Higgins responded by forcing a decider - in which he landed a timely 66 break to get over the line.


Champion of Champions 2018 Results


Tuesday November 6

Group Four

Semi-Finals
Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-2 Stuart Bingham
John Higgins 4-3 Ryan Day

Final
Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-3 John Higgins


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Spellbinding Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches Champion of Champions Semi-Finals

Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a masterclass of break-building en route to a 6-3 victory over John Higgins to reach the Semi-Finals of the 2018 Champion of Champions in Coventry on Tuesday.

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