Ronnie O'Sullivan hammers John Higgins to reach last four, declares tournament a 'numpty-free zone'
Ronnie O'Sullivan completed a rare 6-0 whitewash of old rival and defending champion John Higgins to reach the Champion of Champions semi-final in Coventry.
The five-times world champion, who later declared the tournament a 'numpty-free zone', will face Anthony Hamilton on Friday night for a place in Sunday's final, but was boosted by an error-strewn performance by Higgins.
O'Sullivan and Higgins remain every bit as impressive 25 years after turning professional in 1992, but the win gives O'Sullivan a measure of revenge for his 10-7 defeat to Higgins in the final a year ago.
Higgins could not get started at the Ricoh Arena and O'Sullivan found himself 4-0 clear with a highest break of only 81.
But the Chigwell man produced two vintage century breaks of 101 and 138 to finish off, and make himself a warm favourite for the £100,000 winner's cheque on Sunday providing he can overcome German Masters champion Hamilton.
Early last month O'Sullivan caused controversy when he said one of the reasons he was not entering the European Masters in Belgium was because he didn't want "to play a numpty in Barnsley" in order to qualify.
After beating Higgins, O'Sullivan told ITV4: "It is a numpty-free zone in a way - you come in and you can get on the practice table and get a hotel room, and it's got one table."
O'Sullivan, who faces Anthony Hamilton in the last four, added: "I'm just happy to still be in it. In a numpty-free zone tournament, you don't want to be going home early - you want to stick around."
O'Sullivan had wasted little time in ending 2015 winner Neil Robertson's hopes earlier on Thursday with a 4-1 win that lasted only one hour and 17 minutes.
After the first two frames were shared, the Englishman - winner of the tournament in 2013 and 2014 - grabbed control of the encounter as runs of 70, 72 and tournament high break of 134 saw him secure a meeting with old rival John Higgins in the Group Four final.
Robertson paid dearly for missing a blue to a middle pocket in the third frame as O'Sullivan assumed control.
World number four Higgins showed his enduring class with a one-sided 4-0 victory against fellow Scotsman Anthony McGill in the second match of the day as runs of 50, 75, 78 and 85 helped him ease through in one hour and 20 minutes.
The Champion of Champions is an invitational event contested between the winners of the season's major tournaments over the past year starting from world champion Mark Selby's victory at the UK Championship last December.
Champion of Champions results/schedule
Group Four fixtures (Thursday November 9)
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-1 Neil Robertson
- John Higgins 4-0 Anthony McGill
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-0 John Higgins
Group Three fixtures (Wednesday November 8)
- Mark Selby 4-3 Liang Wenbo
- Judd Trump 0-4 Luca Brecel
- Mark Selby 4-6 Luca Brecel
Group Two results (Tuesday November 7)
- Marco Fu 3-4 Michael White
- Shaun Murphy 4-2 Mark King
- Final (best of 11 frames)
- Michael White 4-6 Shaun Murphy
Group One results (Monday November 8)
- Ding Junhui 2-4 Anthony Hamilton
- Barry Hawkins 2-4 Ryan Day
- Anthony Hamilton 6-4 Ryan Day
Semi-finals (best of 11 frames)
- Friday November 10
- Anthony Hamilton v Ronnie O'Sullivan
- Saturday November 11
- Shaun Murphy v Luca Brecel
- Final (best of 19 frames)
- Sunday November 12