Rampant Ronnie O’Sullivan to play Fan Zhengyi in European Masters final
Ronnie O’Sullivan stormed through to the European Masters final following a comprehensive 6-1 victory over good friend Liang Wenbo on Saturday.
The Rocket hit top breaks of as he sprinted into the 60th ranking event showpiece of his illustrious career.
There, he will play surprise package Fan Zhengyi, who saw off Graeme Dott 6-4, at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Having gone just under five years without reaching a ranking semi-final, Liang was appearing in his second in as many events having also got to this stage at the Shootout last month.
Seeking only a second win over O’Sullivan in 12 attempts, the former English Open champion made the ideal start; capitalising with 74 after his opponent broke down on 50.
The roles were reversed in the second frame; Liang breaking down on 42 after missing a yellow, and the Rocket clearing with 81 to level.
It was very much one-way traffic thereon; breaks of 72 and 60 moving the six-time World champion 3-1 up at the interval.
He maintained his dominance upon the resumption of play with back-to-back centuries of 127 and 109 taking his tally for the week to nine.
Liang stayed alive with a tenacious 56 to snatch frame seven on the black, but the 46-year-old wrapped things up in the next on the brown.
While O’Sullivan will appear in ranking final number 60, his opponent for Sunday’s showpiece is set for a maiden voyage into that territory after beating Dott.
Fan was aiming to build on an impressive week that had already seen him take out Kyren Wilson, Yan Bingtao and David Gilbert.
A magnificent total clearance of 131 gave him a 2-0 lead over the former Crucible king, who responded with 76, before the world number 80 moved 4-1 to the good after a neat run of 58.
Appearing in his first ranking semi-final since the 2020 World Grand Prix, Dott took a scrappy fifth frame on the green before a break of 62 saw him close the gap to one.
But Fan, who reached the German Masters quarter-finals last month, held his nerve; the 21-year-old taking two of the next three frames with contributions of 76 and 84.