Ronnie O’Sullivan raced into the Semi-Finals of the 2022 Champion of Champions after a 6-1 rout of Zhao Xintong in the Group Two final on Thursday.
The three-time champion swept aside his young protégé to reach the Semi-Finals of the prestigious invitational for the seventh time in nine appearances.
O’Sullivan began the day by defeating Gibraltar Open winner Robert Milkins 4-2 with high breaks of 82, 60, 63 and 131.
He then punished an out of sorts Zhao with another emphatic scoring display, which included two centuries.
“He [Zhao] is an amazing player and brilliant talent,” O’Sullivan told ITV Sport. “I’m sure he’s going to have an amazing future. Hopefully he does because I have a soft spot for him. Technically, it’s all there.”
“I haven’t really played really since Sheffield and getting bits and pieces in. I haven’t really got going yet, so we’ll just see.
“I look forward to playing the game on Saturday night.”
The world number one established a 2-0 lead following a number of missed chances from Zhao, before firing in a majestic 135 total clearance in frame three.
He then added a break of 59 to make it four frames without reply, but Zhao got off the mark after the interval thanks to a fine clearance of 92.
O’Sullivan, though, hit back immediately with a break of 94, missing the pink for a ton, but closed out the match in trademark fashion with a vintage break of 108.
He will now face Fan Zhengyi on Saturday evening in a repeat of February’s European Masters final.
UK Champion Zhao had earlier battled his way to a 4-2 victory over Women’s World Champion Mink Nutcharut, narrowly averting the need for a deciding frame.
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Champion of Champions 2022 Day Four Results
Thursday November 3
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Robert Milkins
Zhao Xintong 4-2 Mink Nutcharut
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 Zhao Xintong