RONNIE O’Sullivan stands just one victory away winning his sixth World Championship title after he eased through to the final with a day to spare.
O’Sullivan setted up a grand final against either Mark Selby or world number one Neil Robertson after comfortably beating Barry Hawkins 17-7. The winner of the final will win a cash prize of £300,000.
Should O’Sullivan lift the world title on Bank Holiday Monday (May 5) he will join a small list of snooker legends to have won the world title six times in the modern era. The list as it stands includes Stephen Hendry (seven) Steve Davis (six) and Ray Reardon (six).
Leading 11-5 going into tonight’s final session, the defending champion won the six frames he needed to secure his place in the two-day final and give himself a rest day on Saturday. It is the second time in the tournament O’Sullivan has won a match with a session to spare after thrashing Shaun Murphy 13-3 in the quarter-finals.
A break of 76 saw O’Sullivan stretch his lead to 12-5 at the start of the session before Hawkins pulled a frame back to close the gap to six.
But after the next two frames were shared, O’Sullivan won four frames on the bounce to wrap up the one-sided semi-final with top breaks of 103 and 84.
After completing the win, O’Sullivan said: “To have got such a comfortable result against Barry is great for me.
“I hadn’t played for two months going into this tournament so I’d got a bit bored of practising, but that’s because I didn’t enter any tournaments so that’s my own fault.
“As each match goes on you do feel like you get into it, though I played well in the first session against Robin Hull. It ebbs and flows really.
“I’ve still got one more match to play so I can’t afford to get all excited. It’s all about the final for me on Sunday and Monday now. I just want to enjoy my day off tomorrow and get ready to play in what is our biggest tournament, competing in the final.
“I’m just buzzing to be playing and enjoying it. To get to three finals in a row having already won two – if you’d have told me that three years ago it would’ve never entered my thoughts that I could do it.
“Neil and Mark are both top class players. Neil’s number one in the world and scoring heavy and Mark’s the toughest competitor on tour. I’ve got the upmost respect for both of them.
“I’ll just have to prepare and go out there and do my job and give them something to think about. If I can play in my game and score then I’m sure I’ll have a good chance.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Ronnie O’Sullivan has never lost a World Championship final. On each of the five times he has reached the final at the Crucible, O’Sullivan has ended with the trophy in his hands.