Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan swept to a stunning 6-0 win over Ricky Walden at the Dafabet Masters, and scored a record 556 unanswered points.


By Thomas McGovern


In a contest lasting just 57 minutes and 48 seconds, O'Sullivan produced an absolute master class at Alexandra Palace as he blew away Walden to progress to a semi-final against Neil Robertson or Stephen Maguire.


The World Champion thrilled a packed crowd with a scintillating display to stay on track to capture his fifth Masters title.


O'Sullivan's 556 unanswered points set a new record for any professional tournament, topping Ding Junhui's record of 495 against Stephen Hendry in the 2007 Premier league.


The Rocket raced through his first round match against Robert Milkins 6-1 and started this contest in similar fashion. Walden actually had the first chance in the opening frame but broke down on 38. O'Sullivan replied with a 79 clearance then shot into a 3-0 lead with quick-fire breaks of 88 and 72.


And he somehow managed to find an extra gear before the interval as he made the 724th century of his career with a majestic clearance of 134 to take a 4-0 lead into the break.


The Chigwell cueman continued his dominance after the interval, stretching his lead further with a break of 77, as Walden sat helplessly in his chair.


In the final frame, O'Sullivan was going for a 147 but a long red found the jaws on 56 . He added 36 to seal the victory.


"I've been putting a few hours in before the tournament and you just hope on a few occasions it comes out, and today it did," said the five-time World Champion.


"I didn't feel unplayable but I certainly felt like I was in control of the cue ball and my long potting was good. My safety was ok and my scoring was good so it's tough to play when someone is doing all four things so well.


"Form is temporary from one match to another so there is no point getting too excited about things just yet. It was a win, it was a good win and I'm pleased to be through to the next round but then we start from level in the next match and it's going to be a tough one. Anyone who is in this tournament is a top player and it doesn't get easier it just gets harder.


"I've had a great career, won some fantastic tournaments, I've won more than I expected I ever would and at this stage of my career it's nice to put performances in like that to show people what I'm capable of. It's nice for the fans, it's nice for the audiences on TV and I do feel a responsibility to try and offer entertainment for them.


"It was one of those games where whatever I touched turned to gold. At the World Championship in 2012 I did almost feel unplayable. I don't think I am playing quite as well as I did there, but I'm not far off. At the 2012 World I could land the ball on a six-pence."