Ronnie O’Sullivan made four centuries as he beat John Higgins 6-3 in a clash of snooker titans at the Champion of Champions to reach the semi-finals.
A tremendous group final saw O’Sullivan go 2-0 up with 57 and 109 before Higgins replied with 91 then made a 70 clearance for 2-2. The Scot then took the lead with an 83 in frame five.
O’Sullivan took just 47 minutes to win the last four frames, firing runs of 101, 137 and 114.
“I won a lot of frames in one visit. If you can keep clearing up it’s a much smoother match," said O’Sullivan.
"I’m not playing as much, enjoying the tournaments that I do play in and pacing myself. When I do play I give it my best.
“John Higgins and Stephen Hendry are the two greatest players I have played, so I know I have to play brilliant snooker against John. You can sit in your chair for five or six frames and not get a shot, you’re always aware that could happen.”
O’Sullivan won this event in 2013 and 2014 and has been runner-up in each of the last two years. He will now face Shaun Murphy in the semis in Coventry on Friday evening. Murphy defeated O’Sullivan in the 2017 Final.
World number three O’Sullivan beat Stuart Bingham 4-2 in his first match today, knocking in breaks of 109, 116, 68 and 60. Higgins edged out Ryan Day 4-3 with top runs of 106, 100 and 66.
Earlier in the day O'Sullivan overcame recent English Open winner Stuart Bingham.
O'Sullivan looked close to his imperious best with centuries in frames two and three having lost the opener, and while Bingham edged closer with a break of 56 in the fourth frame, that was as close as he would get.
O'Sullivan added breaks of 68 and 60 to earlier knocks of 109 and 116 to win 4-2 and advance to a group showdown with John Higgins, after he beat Ryan Day 4-3.
Like O'Sullivan, Higgins lost the first frame before back-to-back centuries saw him take a 2-1 lead.
Day responded with breaks of 56 and 106 but Higgins levelled before taking a tense decider with another half-century knock.
Results and schedule
- During the group stage, there are two 'semi-finals' over best of seven legs in the afternoon; the two winners then play for a semi-final place over best of 11 in the evening
Monday November 5
- Shaun Murphy 4-2 Jimmy Robertson
- Ding Junhui 4-2 Michael Georgiou
- Shaun Murphy 6-3 Ding Junhui
Tuesday November 6
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-2 Stuart Bingham
- John Higgins 4-3 Ryan Day
- John Higgin 3-6 Ronnie O'Sullivan
Wednesday November 7
- Mark Williams v Kyren Wilson
- Judd Trump v Luca Brecel
- Mark Williams/Kyren Wilson v Judd Trump/Luca Brecel
Thursday November 8
- Barry Hawkins v Mark Allen
- Mark Selby v Neil Robertson
- Barry Hawkins/Mark Allen v Mark Selby/Neil Robertson
Friday November 9
- Ronnie O'Sullivan v Shaun Murphy (best of 11)
Saturday November 10
- Semi-final 2 (best of 11)
Sunday November 11
- Final (best of 19)