Ronnie O’Sullivan soared to a 6-0 whitewash of Stuart Bingham to reach the final of the 888.com World Grand Prix in Llandudno.
The Rocket always looked in control of a one-sided affair as Bingham made too many unforced errors and failed to get a frame on the board.
O’Sullivan goes through to a showpiece clash against Judd Trump over 19 frames on Sunday, with the winner to collect the trophy and £100,000 top prize. It will be their third major final of the season and O’Sullivan will be chasing his third title, having beaten his young rival 10-7 at the Champion of Champions in Coventry in November, and 10-9 in a thriller at the UK Championship in York in December. It will be a packed house at Venue Cymru for an enthralling conclusion to the tournament.
Surprisingly, O’Sullivan has reached the final without making a single century, though 12 breaks over 50 in the 18 frames he has won indicate that his scoring power is hardly diminished.
A missed black from Bingham in the opening frame tonight set the tone as O’Sullivan punished him with a run of 46. Quickfire breaks of 88, 72 and 89 put 39-year-old O’Sullivan 4-0 ahead at the interval.
Shanghai Masters champion Bingham had chances in frame five, but missed the penultimate red and later played a poor safety, allowing his opponent to clear up and extend his lead. And a missed brown from Bingham when he led 42-6 in frame six proved his last shot as O’Sullivan cleared brilliantly with 77.
“I was surprised – I expected it to be a really tough match tonight,” said five-time World Champion O’Sullivan. “We all have off days, and Stuart had one tonight. But I’m sure he’ll come back stronger.
“I played better at the German Masters and lost in the quarters. I’ve played worse here and I’m in the final, it’s a strange one. Personally I’d rather play well and lose in the quarters than play rubbish and be in the final of an event. I know that might not make sense to the normal person, because a lot of people just think about winning. But I like performing really well, I get a buzz out of it.
“I’m just pleased that I’ve been able to compete this week, even though I haven’t been anywhere near my best. I’m trying my hardest out there on every ball, I’m really grafting to compete. As the week has gone on, I’ve got a little bit sharper.
“The match I had with Judd at the Champion of Champions was probably one of the best matches I’ve ever played in. The UK final was really tense because of the circumstances. Hopefully we can give the crowd something to cheer about this time.”