Ronnie O'Sullivan produced another impressive performance to book his place in the semi-finals of the English Open with a 5-1 win over Luca Brecel.
The Rocket has been largely excellent all week, aside from a stuttering 4-3 win over Anthony Hamilton when he complained about problems with his tip.
He was a step short of the three-century masterclass that did for Michael Georgiou in round two, but the tablecraft was excellent. When he ran out of position, O’Sullivan picked the best option and it helped him set up a meeting with John Higgins or Yan Bingtao in the last four.
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He had spoken positively about work done on his tip after demolishing Jamie Clarke on Thursday evening, and he carried that momentum into his match with the Brecel.
Flying out of the traps as he went in search of an 84th semi-final appearance at a ranking tournament, O’Sullivan knocked in breaks of 54 and 85 to take the opening frame.
There was no recklessness, as when dropping out of position he ran for cover - waiting for another chance to appear.
It was the same drill in the second, with runs of 56 and 41 securing the six-time world champion a cushion.
“There are times when Ronnie looks more up for it than others; he looks zoned in on this,” Neal Foulds said on Eurosport commentary after the second frame had been secured.
O’Sullivan did not miss a pot in the opening two frames. He did in the third, a tough red into the right middle. It handed a sliver of an opening as Brecel snapped a run of 236 unanswered points. For a player who had been left cold for two frames, the underdog knocked in an excellent 94 to get a foothold in the game.
The reaction to losing a frame was a positive one from O’Sullivan. A delicious drag shot on a red to hold for the black set up a 69 to restore the two-frame cushion.
O’Sullivan’s focus suggested Brecel could not afford to make errors. He made a big one in the frame after the interval, leaving a red into the bottom right on the high side, and the 2017 English Open champion stepped in to move within one frame of victory.
A devilish snooker from O’Sullivan had Brecel in trouble at the start of the sixth frame. He escaped, but left an opening for his opponent who knocked in a long red - to the delight of a decent crowd at the Marshall Arena.
With the reds split, O’Sullivan tucked away a break of 90 to secure victory with the 5-1 win meaning he has dropped only six frames in reaching the last four.
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