Ronnie O’Sullivan breezed through to his fifth Champion of Champions final after a 6-3 victory over Shaun Murphy in Coventry on Friday.
O’Sullivan, the 2013 and 2014 champion, maintained his record of having reached the final in each appearance at the Ricoh Arena by dethroning the man who beat him in last year’s decider.
The world number three fired in a brace of centuries in a commanding display as he progressed to a show-down with either Mark Allen or Kyren Wilson on Sunday.
“I’m over the moon to have got through,” admitted O’Sullivan. “Shaun’s a great player and he’s going to spark into life at some stage this season, I’m just glad it wasn’t tonight.
“I don’t know how you can play so well on Tuesday and feel like a completely different player on Friday.
“In the last frame I knew something would go wrong and to miscue is the worst thing a snooker player can do.
“I felt edgy all day, I didn’t feel relaxed, but you get those days.”
O’Sullivan overturned a 49-point deficit to snatch the opening frame before Murphy responded with a brilliant break of 123 to level up.
A 65 break did the damage for ‘The Rocket’ in frame three before following up with a break of 82 to establish daylight.
O’Sullivan blew a golden opportunity to go further clear and thumped the table in frustration as Murphy punished to reduce the deficit to 3-2.
A fired-up O’Sullivan made no mistake in the proceeding frame as he crashed in a stunning 129 clearance and followed with another ton – this time a 127 – to move within a frame of victory.
Murphy stopped the rot in style with a terrific break of 102, but breaks of 65 and 59 in the following frame sealed the deal for the five-time World Champion.
“They don’t get much tougher,” said Murphy. “With Ronnie, you either bring your A game or you make your travel plans.
“I just didn’t score as good as he did and I think that was the difference.”