Ronnie O’Sullivan produced an inspired turnaround to stun John Higgins and book his place in the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Thursday.
The three-time defending champion’s reign in Shanghai was under serious threat as he trailed 5-2 having struggled to fire on all cylinders in snooker’s ‘El Clasico’.
After the first four frames were shared, Higgins edged his nose back in front with a brilliant 115, while trademark clearances of 71 and 74 moved him to the brink of victory.
The Scotsman established a 58-0 lead in the following frame, but his inability to fully capitalise on match-winning opportunities proved costly.
Indeed, O’Sullivan overturned that deficit on the pink to stay alive and won the next frame, before back-to-back centuries of 100 and 130 completed a remarkable comeback.
The Rocket’s reward is another mouth-watering showdown in the semi-finals with Mark Selby, who ended his five-match losing streak against Judd Trump in emphatic fashion.
Trump opened with 70 but was virtually a spectator thereon as Selby reeled off the next six frames – hitting breaks of 75, 63, 87, 80, 83 on the way to a dominant 6-1 rout.
Neil Robertson followed suit as he roared past home favourite Fan Zhengyi by the same scoreline.
The Thunder hit the ground running with breaks of 77 and 62, before two runs of 33 saw him snatch the fourth frame on the black for a 4-0 lead.
Former European Masters champion Fan – the only remaining Chinese player in the draw – stopped the rot with a contribution of 40, but it proved a false dawn with Robertson completing his win with a wonderful 107.
That set up an all-overseas last-four clash with Luca Brecel, who recovered from a slow start to beat Robert Milkins 6-3.
The reigning Welsh Open champion was quick out of the blocks with 127 and 50 to lead 2-0. But Brecel responded with a 60 clearance from 49-12 down to halve the deficit, before levelling with 51.
While the next two frames were shared, the World Champion controlled the following three with runs of 62 and 43 helping seal the victory.
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Shanghai Masters 2023 Day Four results
Thursday September 14
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 John Higgins
Mark Selby 6-1 Judd Trump
Fan Zhengyi 1-6 Neil Robertson
Robert Milkins 3-6 Luca Brecel