Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy: Champion of Champions 2018 preview – Rocket and Magician collide in Semi-Finals

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Live Snooker on Thursday November 8: Champion of Champions Group Two preview and order of play

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Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches fifth Champion of Champions final

The Rocket ponders a shot (credit:Richard Sellers/PA Archive/PA Images)

The Rocket ponders a shot (credit:Richard Sellers/PA Archive/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to maintain his formidable record at the Champion of Champions by overcoming defending champion Shaun Murphy to reach the final in Coventry on Friday.

O’Sullivan has never failed to make it to the final of this elite invitational, having done so in all four of his previous appearances, notably losing out to Murphy in last year’s decider.

Winner here in 2013 and 2014, O’Sullivan is bidding to add a third Champion of Champions crown to his Shanghai Masters silverware this season, but first faces a tough test against an opponent he is no stranger to meeting in high profile matches.

The last three encounters between the pair have been in major finals, with Murphy prevailing 10-8 in last year’s final at the Ricoh Arena before O’Sullivan gained his revenge with 10-5 and 10-4 wins to take the UK Championship and Players Championship titles respectively.

O’Sullivan came through Group Four on Tuesday, opening up with a 4-2 victory over Stuart Bingham before dispatching rival John Higgins 6-3 with a total of six century breaks on the day.

Murphy, meanwhile, opened up with a 4-2 win over debutant Jimmy Robertson before defeating Ding Junhui in Monday’s Group One final.

Murphy is bidding to reach his first final since the Players Championship back in March, having failed to surpass the Last 16 stage of any tournament so far this season prior to this week.

O’Sullivan picked up the Shanghai Masters invitational title in September before reaching the Semi-Finals of the English Open in his only other competitive appearances this term.

In total, O’Sullivan has won 11 of their 15 previous meetings since 2015, including all three World Championship show-downs and both previous Semi-Final contests.

Their latest encounter gets underway from 7pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.

Either reigning Masters and International Champion Mark Allen or Paul Hunter Classic champion Kyren Wilson will await the winner in Sunday’s final.