With a bit of help from his dance teacher, Ronnie O’Sullivan waltzed into the semi-finals of the Dafabet Masters with a 6-3 win over Ryan Day.
It was a closely fought battle for seven-time Masters champion O’Sullivan, and it was a chance meeting with his instructor which helped him through.
“I found out my dance teacher was here,” said O’Sullivan. “I said to him, I haven’t got any rhythm going. He told me go 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-3-4 and that sort of worked for me! Once you get the rhythm going you’re ok.”
The Rocket goes through to face Ding Junhui or Luca Brecel on Saturday afternoon (tickets sold out – for 2020 Masters ticket details click here.)
World number three O’Sullivan is aiming for his fourth title of the season having already won the Shanghai Masters, Champion of Champions and UK Championship. The last of that trio was his 19th career Triple Crown victory so he can break the 20 barrier by winning two more matches this weekend in his native London.
O’Sullivan won the opening frame with a break of 68 before Day fought back strongly with 54 and 68 to lead 2-1. Back came O’Sullivan with 74 and 119 – his 989th career century – to lead 3-2. Welshman Day made a 77 to win the sixth then O’Sullivan regained the lead with a run of 65.
Frame eight proved the turning point as Day looked set to make it 4-4 when he led 66-0. But he misjudged a safety shot, gifting his opponent a chance, and O’Sullivan took advantage with a rapid 78 clearance. A break of 92 in the ninth put O’Sullivan into his 14th Masters semi-final.
“The frame I snatched to go 5-3 was a big turning point,” said 43-year-old O’Sullivan. “At one stage I was sitting there thinking if Ryan beats me he could go on and win the whole tournament. He’s a class act and a class player.
“It’s a fine line between winning and losing these days. I’m not that much better than anyone else. It’s very close between eight or nine players. I know it’s touch and go in most matches you play. It just comes down to how you play on the day.”
World number 13 Day said: “I could have quite easily gone 4-4, and then you never know what might have happened. A couple of safety errors cost me. It was only a couple of shots here and there, there was nothing in the match really.
“I’m just looking forward to the next tournament, the German Masters, I really enjoy that event. Then we’ve got the World Grand Prix in Cheltenham which is a new venue, so there’s plenty to look forward to in the coming months.”