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Ronnie O’Sullivan edges out Mark Williams in Tour Championship epic

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O’Sullivan edged out Williams in Llandudno

Ronnie O’Sullivan advanced to the Tour Championship semi-finals after beating Mark Williams 10-9 in an epic clash in Llandudno on Wednesday.

Two of snooker’s all-time greats treated the Venue Cymru crowd to a mouth-watering encounter that produced six centuries and a further 10 breaks over 50.

Winner of the inaugural event in 2019 and runner-up to Neil Robertson last year, the Rocket has now won six of his seven matches at the elite tournament.

He also maintained his perfect record in matches contested over the best of 19 frames or greater against the Welshman.

Seeking his first victory over O’Sullivan in a ranking event since the 2014 International Championship, Williams drew first blood after a lengthy and scrappy opening frame.

But the Rocket turned things around with runs of 56 and 84, before a brilliant 131 total clearance moved him 3-1 to the good.

The next four frames were shared; Williams’ 92 clearance sandwiched by breaks of 128 and 89 that preserved the six-time World champion’s two-frame buffer heading into the evening.

The three-time Crucible king, who was making his first appearance in this tournament since 2019, was quick out of the blocks with 103 and 89, but O’Sullivan maintained breathing space with 100 and 75.

Williams did pull level with runs of 50 and 51, but was hugely unfortunate to knock in the pink when splitting the pack from the blue; his opponent ruthlessly punishing with a 106 clearance to regain the lead.

Despite a marvellous contribution of 127 from O’Sullivan, the British Open champion won two of the next three frames; producing stunning pots on the yellow and green in the latter before taking the contest to the wire on the pink.

Chances came and went for both players in a nervy decider but after Williams’ tentative attempt at the final red, a relieved Rocket subsequently cleared to seal a last-four date with Robertson.