John Higgins produced a stunning display to reach the Welsh Open semi-finals and end Ronnie O’Sullivan’s incredible run of victories.
The four-times world champion won five frames on the bounce to knock the tournament favourite out on Friday night in what was one of his best displays of the season.
O’Sullivan had gone into the match having won 18 frames on the bounce in all competitions and he made that 19 by winning the opening frame of the much anticipated quarter-final encounter.
But O’Sullivan then failed to find the form that had seen him win the World Grand Prix a week ago and cruise to three consecutive 4-0 wins earlier in the tournament as Higgins dominated the contest from the second frame.
After taking a 2-1 lead, Higgins looked like he would lose the fourth frame when O’Sullivan was clearing to level at 2-2. But a careless foul on the final green which saw the cueball go in-off into the centre pocket allowed Higgins a reprieve and he then punished and made the clearance to go 3-1 ahead.
O’Sullivan’s costly foul proved to be the turning point as Higgins then won the next two frames after the interval to seal a place in the Welsh Open semi-finals. Higgins now stands two wins away from winning the Welsh Open five times – which would be a record.
He will next face Gary Wilson for a place in the Welsh Open final.
Wilson, who reached the final of the China Open three years ago, is one win away from reaching his second major final after he beat Yu Delu 5-2.
And the 32-year-old beat the China star in style knocking in three centuries – 105, 140 and 124 in the process.
The other semi-final will be between England’s Barry Hawkins and Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.
Hawkins has returned to form this week after a disappointing campaign which has seen fail to reach the business end of tournaments.
The 2013 World Championship finalist, like Higgins, won five frames on the bounce from 1-0 down to beat China’s promising teenager Yan Bingtao.
And Saengkham will soon play his first ever ranking semi-final after he beat England’s Ian Burns 5-3 in the first quarter-final to be played. Saengkham earlier this week defeated world number three Judd Trump.