Ronnie O’Sullivan has said only Lionel Messi can make the game look as easy as John Higgins, and compared his win over Yan Bingtao in the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open to watching Roger Federer in action.
Higgins produced some jaw-dropping snooker in crushing Yan 6-2, which came 24 hours after he described his performance in his win over David Gilbert as ‘embarrassing’.
O’Sullivan is on pundit duty for Eurosport, and said he would have been happy to pay to have watched Higgins’ win over Yan.
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“That was free of charge tonight,” O’Sullivan said. “As a snooker fan, you would pay good money to watch that.
Lionel Messi can maybe make the game look that easy.
“John is very clinical, but as a snooker player you cannot play snooker any better than that. It was unbelievable snooker.”
Watch the moment Higgins seals victory over Yan to reach final
Mark Allen lies in wait in the final, and he said he wanted to meet Higgins - comments which left O’Sullivan in shock.
“I am baffled when people say they want to play John Higgins,” O’Sullivan said. “You don’t want to play John Higgins.
“It’s like playing Messi, I don't want to play against Lionel Messi. I don’t want to play against Roger Federer. If he’s playing well like tonight, I'm going to be a spectator.”
Yan beat Higgins in the final of last season’s Masters, but that performance could leave a mark.
O'Sullivan offered words of advice for the 21-year-old.
“If I’m in Bingtao’s corner, don’t worry about it,” the six-time world champion said. “No-one else can play snooker like that so it’s never going to happen again, unless you play John again.
“It is something you can’t really teach. He has been like that since he was a kid, so most players on the circuit would say he’s the pros' pro.
“If you want to be another snooker player, I would choose to be John Higgins.”
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Stream the Northern Ireland Open live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.
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