Ronnie O’Sullivan raced into a fourth consecutive Shanghai Masters final following a 10-7 victory over rival Mark Selby on Friday.
Reigning and four-time Shanghai Masters champion O’Sullivan, who has won the last three stagings of the event since 2017, extended his prolific unbeaten run by recovering from 7-6 down to deny Selby at the Shanghai Grand Stage.
The world number one, who had seen off Ali Carter and John Higgins in the opening two rounds, secured another impressive win over a long-term rival to set up a clash with either Neil Robertson or Luca Brecel in Sunday’s show-piece.
O’Sullivan took the opening two frames of the contest before Selby hit back in kind to draw level, and after ‘The Rocket’ had clinched frame five, the Leicester cueist produced a 63 break for three-all.
O’Sullivan responded by compiling the first century of the match with a clinical break of 113, but Selby’s response was emphatic as he powered in successive breaks of 101 and 99 to lead 5-4 at the end of the first session.
A 52 break was enough for O’Sullivan to get back on level terms after the restart, and after Selby had sealed a lengthy 11th frame, the seven-time World Champion punished a rare loose safety from his opponent by potting a red down the cushion and going on to make it six-all.
A 77 clearance saw Selby regain the upper-hand, but a missed pink on 65 proved costly in frame 14 as O’Sullivan capitalised with a majestic 66 clearance to snatch the frame and level up once again.
After O’Sullivan had made a break of 69, a moment of brief controversy saw the referee call a foul on ‘The Rocket’ for allegedly missing a roll-up on the brown, but replays showed the cue ball did in fact make contact with the brown and the decision was overturned, prompting a concession from Selby.
There was to be no looking back from that moment onwards as O’Sullivan went on to fire in a vintage break of 109 before sealing victory with a fourth consecutive frame courtesy of a break of 118.
O’Sullivan, 47, is bidding to claim a first title since the Champion of Champions last November and will meet either 2010 World Champion Robertson or reigning World Champion Brecel on Sunday.
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