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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Zhao Xintong live stream | Champion of Champions 2022 preview

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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Robert Milkins live stream | Champion of Champions 2022 preview

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Ronnie O’Sullivan romps into Champion of Champions Semi-Finals

O’Sullivan and Zhao in conversation

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on UK Champion Zhao Xintong in the Group Two decider at the 2022 Champion of Champions in Bolton on Thursday.

An unmissable climax to the group phase of this year’s Champion of Champions sees two box office talents collide for only the second time.

O’Sullivan is the most decorated player in the nine-year history of the Champion of Champions, having lifted the trophy in 2013, 2014 and 2018.

The Rocket, who equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles at The Crucible earlier this year, is aiming to progress from the group phase of this event for the first time since 2019.

The world number one has had an indifferent start to the season, picking up the Hong Kong Masters title last month, but suffering a shock early exits to Alexander Ursenbacher and David Grace in the British Open and Northern Ireland Open respectively.

He began his campaign earlier this afternoon with a 4-2 victory over Robert Milkins with high breaks of 82, 60, 63 and 131 along the way.

Zhao, meanwhile, had to dig deep to clinch a 4-2 win over Women’s World Champion Mink Nutcharut, with a 132 clearance in frame four proving the highlight of an otherwise cagey contest.

The world number eight missed out on the Hong Kong Masters due to a positive Covid test and has not been beyond the Third Round in his four ranking event appearances this season.

The 25-year-old, making his debut in this prestigious invitational, now faces a glamour tie with the sport’s star attraction – who has become a mentor for the Chinese youngster on the table in recent years.

Their only previous meeting came in the Last 64 of the 2016 English Open, with O’Sullivan edging a narrow 4-3 victory despite two centuries from Zhao.

Their latest encounter gets under way from 7pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames, with Fan Zhengyi awaiting the winner in Saturday’s Semi-Finals.

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