Northern Ireland Open: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Ali Carter 6-3; Judd Trump beats David Grace 6-2

Ronnie O'Sullivan is through to Sunday's final

Ronnie O'Sullivan won five frames in a row to turn his match with Ali Carter on its head and reach the final of the Northern Ireland Open, where he'll meet Judd Trump for the third year in succession.

Trailing 3-1 at the interval against an opponent who has often got under his skin, O'Sullivan was clearly ill at ease and took to sandpapering his tip as Carter took control.

But the mid-session interval worked the oracle for O'Sullivan, who returned from it in awesome form, breaks of 78, 66, 93, 102 and 59 completing a swift and brutal turnaround.

In the evening, Trump set up a third instalment of what's become a two-man battle for this trophy by beating David Grace 6-2 despite losing the first frame.

Carter registered just 14 points across frames five to eight as O'Sullivan took control having been some way below his best throughout the opening exchanges.

O’Sullivan said: "I didn’t really do a lot wrong in the first four frames, but I didn’t make anything happen either. Ali kept it tight and was making it hard for me.

"I always think if I can find a bit of form against that type of play, it is easy to get back in the game. It was a bit like when I played (Mark) Selby at the World Championship, you are on the back foot for so long, that you are just looking for that moment and spark. When it comes, you get excited and you start flowing.

"You just have to go out there and do your best. I’m just pleased to have made the final. I haven’t played badly all season, I just haven’t put the practice in. It’s been second round, third round, played alright in the Champion of Champions.

"With the amount of effort I’m putting in on the practice table, I’m not disappointed with my results. I actually feel like I’m cueing alright."

Trump followed a similar path to victory, showing signs of vulnerability throughout the first three frames of his match with Grace, a surprise semi-finalist after conjuring several memorable fightbacks throughout the event.

Frame four saw the defending champion his top gear with a break of 91, and Grace was tied to his chair as Trump took the next with a 101 break - the only century of the semi-final.

Though Grace kept his fading hopes alive by taking frame seven with a half-century, Trump bagged a final, frame-winning 92 in the following frame to ease through to a mouthwatering showdown with O'Sullivan.

"It was a tricky game," said Trump. "It is never nice losing the first frame, you never settle until you have your first frame on the board. I was a bit fortunate. I played a bad shot at 3-1 and got away with it, I ended up getting in and making a break. That was kind of it then. At 4-1 up I felt confident.

"It would be nice to win 9-7 again tomorrow. It is incredible really, even for me to be in the final three times in a row. Against Ronnie it is very strange and not something that happens very often. There is probably something about this tournament that we both enjoy, even though it is here in Milton Keynes this year. It is still a special event for me. It would be nice to hopefully go out and play well, win the event and be able to defend my title back in Northern Ireland next year.

"I always enjoy playing him. I always look out for him in the draw and want him to get through so I can play him. Ever since I turned professional it is someone that I always want to play and someone I enjoy playing. He brings out the best in me. You know you have to play solid snooker and that is what seems to happen. I know I will have to be near my best to compete against him and he will know the same nowadays."

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