Ronnie O’Sullivan sealed a dramatic 6-5 win over Judd Trump on the final black to reach the final of the Hong Kong Masters.
A pulsating clash between two snooker titans eventually went the Rocket’s way when he made a winning clearance in the deciding frame, having needed a snooker. He goes through to Sunday’s final at the invitation event to battle Neil Robertson for the trophy and £100,000 top prize.
Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan took the opening frame on the colours then rattled in breaks of 128 and 85 to lead 3-0. Back came Trump with a spell of four frames in a row, highlighted by runs of 136 and 76, to go 4-3 ahead.
O’Sullivan’s 87 restored parity then Trump regained the lead with a 54. The high scoring continued as O’Sullivan’s 126 made it 5-5.
Both players had chances in the decider and Trump looked sure to win until he missed the penultimate red when leading by 46 points. O’Sullivan took red and black then trapped his opponent in a tough snooker. Trump missed the last red and left a free ball, and O’Sullivan punished him by clearing with 39 to clinch victory.
“It was a crazy match and I thought I had lost,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan, chasing his first title since the Masters in January. “I was going to concede when he went 46 ahead in the last frame, but I decided to give it a go and then got a good snooker which made it difficult for him. I made a good clearance because it’s never easy under pressure. I was really pleased that I held myself together. You have to try to let instinct take over in that situation.
“I was making some silly mistakes and handed frames to Judd, but I tried to stay positive and the crowd were behind me which helped. I was pleased to give them a reason to cheer. I’ve had two really hard matches here against John Higgins and Judd and I’ll be giving it my best shot in the final.”
Trump said: “I should have won, I had a chance in the last frame and I should have made sure of the second-last red. But then he got me in a good snooker and then the balls were perfect for him. From 3-0 down I was in control. Overall this has been a very good tournament and I’d be happy to come back.”