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Ronnie O’Sullivan battles back to deny Mark Williams and reach World Snooker Championship Semis

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O’Sullivan stages a superb fightback to edge out Williams

Ronnie O’Sullivan recovered from 7-2 down to defeat Mark Williams 13-10 for a place in the Semi-Finals of the 2020 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield on Tuesday.

O’Sullivan trailed 6-2 following Monday’s first session and saw Williams snatch Tuesday’s opener, but turned on the style to win 11 of the next 14 frames to remain in contention for a sixth Crucible crown.

The Rocket landed five centuries in a thrilling contest to maintain his unbeaten record over the Welshman at The Crucible and progress to his 12th World Championship Semi-Final.

O’Sullivan will now face rival Mark Selby in the Last Four and was heavily critical of his own performance despite pulling off the comeback.

“If I had a cue action I could play,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport. “It was embarrassing.

“If the white was more than three foot away from the next ball I was like ‘it ain’t going in.’

“It’s like trying to go and win the US Open with just a three-iron in your bag, it makes life so much more difficult.

“But I found a way and managed to create among the balls. It was either really good or just really bad.”

“To win this tournament you don’t need to be good, you just need to be steady.

“I have no consistency and I haven’t had that for six or seven years hence why I haven’t done well here.

“I would say for anyone out there, go and lump on Selby because I don’t expect to beat him. He is the ultimate test and I can’t see anyone left in the tournament being able to beat him over that distance.”

O’Sullivan reversed the damage of the first session to win six of the eight frames in the second to level up, producing breaks of 105, 74, 112 and 54 along the way.

The pair exchanged the first two frames of the final session before Williams edged himself back in front once again at 10-9.

A vintage break of 104 saw O’Sullivan square it up, before successive breaks of 61 and 65 in frame 21 handed him the lead for the first time since frame three.

The five-time World Champion pressed home his advantage with a tremendous 133 clearance to make it 12-10, but a late twist saw him miss a match ball blue, allowing Williams to clear and force a re-spotted black.

O’Sullivan, though, recovered to pot the black from mid-range and remain on course for a record-breaking 37th career ranking title.

“I enjoyed it all the way through, to be honest,” admitted Williams.

“I thought there was some good breaks, some good potting, obviously a few misses as well but what do you expect over 25 frames?

“I think it boiled down to just a couple of bad flicks towards the end really.

“I would have liked to have made it 12-11 to see what would have happened but I thought it was a good match and I enjoyed it.

“He’s probably cost me at least one, maybe two world titles over my career, I just come up a little bit short again.

“No doubt he’ll say he’s playing sh*t and all that he normally does, but I thought it was a good game.”

Meanwhile, Anthony McGill booked his place in a first World Championship Semi-Final after a 13-10 success over fellow qualifier Kurt Maflin.

McGill, quarter-finalist in 2015, kicked on from his epic deciding frame win over Jamie Clarke in the last round with a comfortable triumph over the Norwegian ace.

Having stormed into a 7-1 lead, the Scot led for the entire match, despite Maflin digging deep to reduce the deficit to 10-6 at the close of play in the second session.

McGil added a break of 92 in frame 17 to his earlier high breaks of 53, 63, 78, 92, 81 and 86 to extend his lead.

Maflin then took the next two frames to trail 11-8 before McGill made a break of 75 to remain in control.

Maflin produced a late rally with consecutive breaks of 69 and 81 to get back within two, but the former Indian Open champion clinched victory in frame 23 to continue his dream run.

He will now face Kyren Wilson in the Semi-Finals after he dethroned defending champion Judd Trump 13-9 earlier in the day.

Selby had remained on course for a fourth world title with a 13-7 rout of 2010 champion Neil Robertson.