Ronnie O’Sullivan continued his dazzling form at the BetVictor Welsh Open by beating world number one Mark Selby 5-1 to reach the semi-finals.
O’Sullivan, who has won 21 of the 24 frames he has played in five matches his week and made seven centuries, will meet Joe Perry or Ben Woollaston on Saturday evening for a place in the final (for ticket availability call 02920 22 44 88).
Three-time Welsh Open winner O’Sullivan is chasing his second title of 2016 having won the Masters last month. The £60,000 top prize here in Cardiff would also make him eligible to enter next month’s World Grand Prix in Llandudno, otherwise he will not play another tournament before the World Championship in April.
Selby started strongly today with a break of 71 to win the opening frame, then O’Sullivan levelled with a 93 in the second. In the pivotal third frame, O’Sullivan potted seven reds with blacks before missing the black off the eighth red on 57. Selby had a chance to clear, but a miscalculation of the scores left him needing the awkward final black, and he failed to gain position. A safety exchange extended when O’Sullivan potted a superb long black to a baulk corner to go 2-1 up.
Selby scored just three points in the remainder of the match as his opponent reeled off the last three frames with runs of 61, 75 and 132.
“I just went out there and went for my shots,” said O’Sullivan. “I’ve got a chance (of the title), it would be ridiculous to say otherwise, but Neil Robertson is the all round professional now. He’s like Steve Davis was in the eighties and Hendry was in the nineties: very disciplined and wanting to set a benchmark as far as his legacy. You’ve got to play out of your skin to beat him.”
Selby said: “The third frame was a big turning point. I miscounted on the clearance, thinking I only needed the pink. If I had realised I needed the black I would have tried to move it when I was on the brown. I’ve not done it that many times in my career so it’s not as if I need to go back to school and have a few lessons on maths. I suppose it’s just something that happens in the heat of the moment. But the way Ronnie played after that was faultless.”