Ronnie O’Sullivan fired himself into the semi-finals of the 188BET Champion of Champions, sweeping John Higgins aside in a 6-0 drubbing, having beaten Neil Robertson 4-1 earlier in the day.
‘The Rocket’ is a two-time Champion of Champions winner and his only defeat at the tournament came in last year’s final against Higgins. He beat Robertson in less than 90 minutes in his group semi-final, with a 134 to end the match.
In the group final he met Higgins, a match many expected to go down to the wire. But O’Sullivan stormed to a 4-0 lead at the mid-session, his best break at that stage an 81 to win the third frame in just 6 minutes 47 seconds.
The Masters champion continued where he left off after the break, a 101 clearance seeing him move to a 5-0 lead before recording the tournament’s highest break so far, 138, for a place in the last four.
“I felt like I was in control of my game today,” said O’Sullivan. “Just enjoying playing, enjoying competing and knowing that if I stay focused and give every shot 100 percent I will have impacts in parts of the game where I can dominate and pull away.
“The only way you beat Higgins 6-0 is if he has played poorly because if he plays well, no matter how well you play, he will have an impact on the game. The scoreline was more to do with John not being anywhere near where he is capable of being, and I punished him and stayed professional and disciplined and did a job.”
O’Sullivan will face German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton over 11 frames in Friday evening’s semi-final, knowing victory will see him through to the 188BET Champion of Champions final for the fourth time in four visits to the tournament.
“Anthony had a great season last season with the semi-final in Belfast and winning the German Masters. It was a fantastic story and he has earned his right to be in this tournament. To come through any of these groups you have to play well, so there are four players in the semi-finals who are obviously playing alright.”
In his group semi-final Higgins had beaten fellow Anthony McGill 4-0 to set up the clash with O’Sullivan.
The 188BET Champion of Champions semi-final line-up is now complete. O’Sullivan will meet Group One winner Anthony Hamilton on Friday evening, before Saturday sees Shaun Murphy up against Luca Brecel. Both semi-finals are a best of 11, with Sunday’s final a best of 19 played over two sessions.
Broadcast on ITV4 in the UK and on networks around the world, the 188BET Champion of Champions carries a £370,000 prize fund with the winner taking home £100,000.
GROUP FOUR RESULTS
John Higgins 0–6 Ronnie O’Sullivan
41-85, 48-80, 0-81 (O’Sullivan 81), 1-93, 34-101 (O’Sullivan 101), 130-0 (O’Sullivan 138)
GROUP SEMI FINALS
John Higgins 4-0 Anthony McGill
83-33 (Higgins 50), 78-41 (Higgins 75), 80-29 (Higgins 78), 101-23 (Higgins 85)
Ronnie 4-1 Neil Robertson
88-0, 29-66, 78-44 (O’Sullivan 70), 72-9 (O’Sullivan 72), 134-0 (O’Sullivan 134)