Neil Robertson sealed a third straight win over Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2022 thanks to an epic 10-9 success in the Semi-Finals of the Tour Championship.
Robertson, who had already defeated ‘The Rocket’ in The Masters and Players Championship earlier this year, completed his hat-trick as he came from 4-1 down to prevail in a deciding frame in Llandudno.
The Australian star, who claimed this title 12 months ago, defied five century breaks from O’Sullivan to book his place in a third Tour Championship final in the space of four years.
He will now meet either John Higgins or Luca Brecel in Sunday’s final at Venue Cymru.
“Full compliments to Ronnie with what he said to me at the end of the match, that was a fantastic amount of respect he has for me,” admitted Robertson.
“He even said himself that he played well and just my ball-striking was unbelievable so I’m really happy for those kind words from him.
“Some of the breaks he made, it was exhibition stuff all in no time, just incredible.
“Nobody else can make the breaks the way he’s making them today. I thought he was a little bit unlucky really.”
Robertson set the tone for a blistering battle with a break of 115 to clinch the opening frame, but only to be countered by a barrage of vintage scoring from O’Sullivan.
The six-time World Champion responded with breaks of 125, 90, 106 and 128 to storm clear, before Robertson hit back with three consecutive frames of his own to draw level.
Breaks of 62, 85 and 95 saw the left-hander restore parity at four apiece at the close of play in the afternoon session.
When the box office pair returned in the evening, it was O’Sullivan who regained the upper-hand with a break of 61, but only for Robertson to reel off three in a row with breaks of 50 and 66 in the process.
O’Sullivan made a 63 break to reduce the deficit to 7-6, but a clinical break of 117 saw Robertson restore a two-frame advantage.
The pendulum swung back the way of the new world number one as he compiled consecutive breaks of 100, 70 and 112 to edge in front at 9-8.
However, Robertson dug deep to seal frame 18 and force a grandstand finish, and it was the 40-year-old who seized his chance in the decider with an 80 break to extend his dominant recent record over The Rocket.
“He’s got unbelievable technique, so gifted the way he just hits the ball, he can create angles, different lines, he’s got loads of options when playing the shot. The complete player really,” said O’Sullivan.
“For me he’s the best player in the world. If he played more tournaments, he’d probably be number one.
“He’s a phenomenal player in his prime probably playing the best snooker he’s ever played.”