Ronnie O’Sullivan swept to a convincing 9-3 defeat of Stuart Bingham to set up a blockbuster semi-final clash with Judd Trump at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.
The Rocket’s mouth watering meeting with Masters champion Trump will be played tomorrow over two sessions. The pair have already met in two finals so far this season, with Trump winning on both occasions at the Northern Ireland Open and the Masters.
O’Sullivan and Trump are level at the top of the Coral Cup standings on £130,000, the winner is derived from who earns the most prize money across all three of the Coral Series events. They hold the first two tournaments between them, with Trump having won the Coral World Grand Prix and O’Sullivan claiming the Coral Players Championship title.
Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan can also equal Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking event wins with victory this weekend and would become world number one if he were to claim the title.
Bingham leaves Llandudno with the consolation of £20,000 for qualifying for this week’s elite eight man event and will now turn his attention to the upcoming China Open in Beijing and the World Championship in Sheffield.
They came into this evening with O’Sullivan leading 6-2 and he continued to push for the finish line when the action got back underway by taking the opening frame.
There was then a marathon tenth frame which lasted 49 minutes, including a 20 minute spell without a pot. The balls fell awkwardly as reds nestled around the blue, which was covering the bottom left pocket. Eventually O’Sullivan negotiated the situation and secured an 8-2 advantage.
Bingham pulled one back, but it was too little too late as 35-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan came through a 9-3 winner.
“I’m playing alright. I very rarely play badly. I have a certain level I always play to,” said O’Sullivan. “I always seem to have good matches with Judd. Over the years there have been some close ones. We have had a few good finals. We both play a similar type of the game. He probably plays a bit more aggressively than me but I will try and be as aggressive as I can, because that is the name of the game.”
Mark Allen survived a fightback charge from Kyren Wilson to edge through a 9-7 victor and set up a semi-final meeting with Neil Robertson.
The Pistol is enjoying one of his best seasons on tour and currently tops this season’s one-year list having won silverware at the International Championship and the Scottish Open.
Wilson had trailed 6-2 after this afternoon’s session, but he significantly upped his game this evening and turned the clash into a thrilling contest.
However, when play got underway it was Allen who continued to press on with a fine century run of 123 to move 7-2 in front. Following that Wilson claimed two frames on the bounce, before a contribution of 83 helped him to close the gap to 7-5.
Former Masters champion Allen then showed great character to counter from 54-0 down in the following frame with a break of 69 to move three frames in front and one from victory. Contributions of 56 and 45 then helped Wilson to close within a frame at 8-7.
Wilson had looked to be in position to force a decider, before breaking down on a break of 58. From there Allen crafted a gutsy run of 71 to come through a narrow 9-7 winner.