Ronnie O’Sullivan takes centre stage in the World Grand Prix on Friday night as he takes on Graeme Dott in a clash of two former World Champions for a place in the Semi-Finals.
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The Rocket’s showdown with the ‘Pocket Dynamo’ will be the first match of this evening’s session at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno, with a last four clash against Stuart Bingham up for grabs.
Despite raising the possibility of him not featuring in this year’s World Championship, O’Sullivan is enjoying his week in Wales and has been full of praise for what he described as a “proper tournament” and an “unbelievable” venue.
He withstood the grinding efforts of Rod Lawler in his opening match of the event, before comfortably whitewashing world number 16 Robert Milkins 4-0 with breaks of 74, 68 and 62 along the way.
Having already won the Champion of Champions and UK Championship this season, the Rocket is now looking for his first trophy of 2015.
Should he win this evening, he will set up his third showdown with Bingham in ITV4 events – having beaten him in the 2013 Champion of Champions final and the first match of this season’s event.
It will not be easy though against one of the toughest match players on the tour in Dott, who he beat 18-8 to win his second world title in 2004.
The world number 18 has already come through two deciding-frame finishes against John Higgins and China’s Liang Wenbo, and is now searching for his first semi-final appearance of the season having also reached the quarters of the UK Championship and Shanghai Masters.
He has a decent record against O’Sullivan too – after losing the first seven meetings, he has shared the last 11 including semi-final victories en route to winning the 2006 World Championship and 2007 China Open.
Ironically, the previous meeting between the pair was also in the last four, at the European Tour’s Antwerp Open back in November 2011 when O’Sullivan came out on top 4-1.
O’Sullivan looks on during his Semi Final match against Dott during the 2006 World Championship at the Crucible. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
O’Sullivan will be the favourite to progress tonight but Dott is more than capable of producing an upset, especially over a best-of-seven format.
The second match of this evening sees Australian Open winner Judd Trump and World Seniors champion Mark Williams go head to head.
Trump will be the favourite to progress to the last four, though Williams holds the psychological advantage going into the game.
He has already beaten his opponent twice in 2015 in the last 16 of both the Indian and Welsh Open, and is in the better form of the two having reached at least the semi-finals in five of his last seven events.
Martin Gould awaits the winner tomorrow, where it will be the best of 11 for a place in the final.