Ronnie O'Sullivan crushed by John Higgins, Luca Brecel thumps Anthony McGill – Scottish Open 2021 LIVE updates
It is semi-final day at the Scottish Open. Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on John Higgins in the first semi-final, starting at 13:00 UK time with Luca Brecel facing off against Anthony McGill from 19:00 at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno. Stream the Scottish Open and much more top snooker action live and on demand on discovery+
'I'm a tinkerer' - O'Sullivan on mixing up his game after win over Li
Join us from 12.45pm tomorrow for all the action from the 2021 Scottish Open Final. Take care out there until then, night night.
Luca Brecel is through to the Scottish Open final
By the time Anthony McGill got going tonight it was far too late. Essentially, Luca Brecel won a battle of the B games there; both players struggled, but a 96 in the first from him and some crucial big pots and steals in those first five frames broke the back of this semi-final. After a tough couple of years, he's now in his second ranking event final in a week. That's the sign of a player in form, but he'll have to play a lot better than he did tonight to give John Higgins a problem tomorrow.
McGill 1-6 Brecel
What a shot from Brecel! Black to final red in baulk isn't an easy shot with the angle he has, but Brecel leaves it on mid-range and bangs it right into the heart of the pocket. With colours on spots thereafter, it's routine; Brecel mops up 40, and wins the match.
McGill 1-5 Brecel (54-38)
Brecel tickles apart two more reds from the pink, but he's only left with a tough red to the yellow pocket to keep going. He can't convert it, but by way of return McGill misses a red to the green pocket and leaves it on. Frame and match are right there for Brecel to take now, can he hold it together?
McGill 1-5 Brecel (54-22)
On 54 McGill loses position slightly, causing him to take on and miss a long red to the green pocket. A safety exchange follows, in which McGill catches the wrong red first to leave Brecel and easy starter to the bottom right. That goes, followed by a delicate cutback on a black to bottom left, and he's away. A good shot on the pink to develop a few more reds as he pots it turns this into a chance not just to get back in the frame but seal the match.
McGill 1-5 Brecel (30-0)
If he's not careful, Brecel could give himself a headache here. He misses a long, straight red to the bottom left, and it lands on as a cut to the yellow pocket. McGill drains it, lands on the black, and suddenly he's a different player. His arm is moving smoothly through the shot now, and he's up to 30 and counting already.
McGill 1-5 Brecel
McGill secures the frame, raising his cue to cheers from the crowd, and a 90 gets him on the board.
McGill 0-5 Brecel (55-1)
Prior to this knock McGill's best break tonight was 35. He's just made a half-century, and only needs a few more balls to secure the frame.
McGill 0-5 Brecel (17-1)
This is painful to watch if you're a McGill fan. Brecel misses a long red at the start of frame six, leaving it right over the bottom right. McGill gets the rest out and tries to tap it in, but inexplicably rattles it in the jaws and it stays out. How on earth? Brecel nudges it in, but then misses a wild black when trying to open up the reds. He's playing very patchily too, and is so lucky tonight that McGill is absolutely having one. This will cheer McGill though; he's stroked a long red into the green pocket, and now, finally, seems to be getting his arm moving.
McGill 0-5 Brecel
We're done now, as a poor safety from McGill serves up a red right over the bottom left. Brecel taps it in, the blue follows, and when he misses his next red McGill folds it. He leads by five, and needs one more frame to reach the final tomorrow.
McGill 0-4 Brecel (1-52)
Brecel's snooker yields four points. He gets the next red down too, and pulls out a pool hall shot by thin cutting the pink along the rail and in off another red to the bottom right. Playing like Paul Newman by the way! He soon moves 50 points in front, and one more red and colour will bank another frame. The red goes, and he rolls the blue to the right middle...and he's underhit it and left it on the lip! Extraordinary. There's 51 out there, and McGill can tie.
McGill 0-4 Brecel (1-30)
We're back, and if McGill is going to come back he needs to start soon. He gets the a red down in the fifth after Brecel does likewise without adding to it, but then miscues horrifically on a virtually straight yellow to end his break on one. What a waking nightmare this has been for him so far. Brecel soon gets in for real, opening the bunch early to create a chance, but lest we forget he's not quite on it either. His effort breaks down on 29 in baulk, and he's forced to lay a snooker.
McGill 0-4 Brecel
Disaster for McGill! He takes on a tough brown, a thin cut to the green pocket; it jaws out, and the frame falls into the lap of Brecel. It's been a grind, but it's over; Brecel sweeps up to the brown, blue and pink, and he leads by four at the interval.
We'll reconvene in 15 minutes.
McGill 0-3 Brecel (42-45)
McGill picks off red-green, but his attempt to lay a snooker off the final red goes awry and he's left it on to the green pocket. Brecel rolls it in, followed by the pink, and he's on the colours. Yellow and green go, and he needs up to the pink. Brown to blue is a difficult positional shot though, requiring deep screw on the stretch, and he's missed it! It's on for McGill too, can he dish to the pink to win?
McGill 0-3 Brecel (38-33)
Brecel gets a stray red down before rolling up behind the brown. We've got four reds left out there, and none of them are in good positions. McGill then gets a red down and puts Brecel in behind the handily placed brown near the upper left rail. Brecel tries to drop on a red near the lower right rail, missing with his first go but catching it when put back in. That leaves McGill a red to the bottom left, which he makes but can't elicit position on a colour. It's another snooker to follow, which again yields four but not position, as this war of nerves iin frame four goes on.
McGill 0-3 Brecel (28-32)
McGill gets in, but another chance goes begging for a lowball score as he misses a pink to left middle with his break on just seven. He's chucked Brecel a real chance here, not for the frame so much but to accumulate a break that would go a long way to winning it. Just as I type that, Brecel's break curtails on 12 as he fails to cut a red into the green pocket. These two are struggling.
McGill 0-3 Brecel (21-20)
McGill, snookered on everything, tries an ambitious four cushion escape which fails to connect four times but doesn't leave anything. That's 16 away, before a huge round of applause comes his way when he connects at the fifth attempt. Both players then miss attempts at reds, before McGill drills one to the bottom right but can't land on a colour. The table is a bit of a mess now, and we could be a while sorting this frame out.
McGill 0-3 Brecel (20-4)
This could be the chance McGill needs, as he jabs in a mid-range red with the rest at the start of the fourth before drilling the blue into the yellow pocket to retain position. He loses it on 19 though, and gets the next red down with a plant but that doesn't yield position on a colour either. It's hard work for McGill, this; he just can't stitch anything meaningful together and he's played a horror safety shot here; in trying to drop the ball in behind the brown after his plant, he shorts it by millimetres. The snooker is secured, but it's four away and Brecel puts him back in. The reds are scattered far and wide, and this is trouble.
McGill 0-3 Brecel
A swift additional 16 from Brecel ensures that McGill has seen enough. The last two frames have been a tough battle, but Brecel has taken them both. This is a big frame coming up for McGill.
McGill 0-2 Brecel (11-57)
On 20 Brecel looks a cert to win the frame, but he rolls a red out of the right middle off the knuckles to bring his break clanging to a halt. It's a chance for McGill, but another disappointingly brief visit as he only makes four before missing a red to the yellow pocket. Brecel regains the advantage with a long red into the same pocket, followed by the pink, and he should see it home from here.
McGill 0-2 Brecel (7-31)
McGill gets the first round down in frame three but Brecel's soon off again when a poor safety from McGill leaves a red on to the right middle. A swift 30 follows, before Brecel loses position slightly, causing him to miss a red to left middle. A long, long safety exchange follows, broken by McGill when he picks out a three ball plant to the bottom right. The blue follows, but he's not on another red and has to play safe. Not safe enough though, as a superb, wafer thin cut on a red to left middle gets Brecel back in the balls.
McGill 0-2 Brecel
A long stand-off on the pink ends when McGill goes in-off in the bottom left. He's also stuck the pink up, on to the right middle, and Brecel can stun it in and land on the black on the bottom rail. Part A is routinely dismissed, but this is a tough shot on the black. Brecel gives it every chance, playing it slow...and he's dropped it in and pinched the frame!
McGill 0-1 Brecel (51-41)
This is superb from Brecel. He tags in a superb cut on the final red, followed by a near perfect positional shot from green onto the yellow near the upper left rail. He needs to dish the colours to nick the frame here. He leaves a difficult pink to yellow pocket though…and he’s missed it and gone in-off! My word. He’s not left it though, but we’ve got an edgy pink and black on the go here.
McGill 0-1 Brecel (45-23)
Brecel makes 10, but then miss a close-quarters cut on black to bottom left and leaves it there. If McGill can convert a red into the left middle from off the bottom cushion he's in, and he does so superbly to get away properly for the first time tonight. He gets to 35, but on the cusp of taking the frame he misses a routine yellow to it's own pocket to hand Brecel a reprieve. Brecel hits back with eight, and then plays a snooker off the final red.
McGill 0-1 Brecel (10-5)
McGill has a look at a long red which is over the green pocket at the start of the second frame, but misses it and leaves it. Brecel cuts it in, but can only blag five points from the ensuing chance. A safety error from him then gives McGill his first chance of the night. That yields just eight, but when McGill then chokes down another red he miscues horribly when trying to pot a pink over the right middle. The frame is a mess so far, but a third chance falls to McGill when Brecel misses a mid-range red and leaves a red over the bottom right. McGill jabs it in with the rest, but then misses a shocker of a pink to leave Brecel in.
McGill 0-1 Brecel
A 96 from Brecel does the necessary.
McGill 0-0 Brecel (0-73)
There goes frame ball blue, followed by another red. Brecel looks right on it here, shades of that semi-final performance against Kyren Wilson a week ago.
McGill 0-0 Brecel (0-53)
Brecel has settled right into this. He's being aggressive, really going for his shots and developing other reds as he does so. The half-century is quickly in the books, and with what's left in the open the frame looks nailed on.
McGill 0-0 Brecel (0-24)
A superb safety from Brecel, opening the reds and trapping McGill behind the green, forces the first chance when McGill escapes but leaves an easy starter. Three reds and blacks go, and off the latter Brecel has affected a useful split on the remaining cluster of reds.
Our MC Phil Seymour has introduced the players, and it's time. First to six, let's get about it.
This makes grim reading for McGill. He’s faced Brecel five times and lost them all, most recently just eight days ago when he lost 6-2 in the quarters of the UK Championship. Still, what’s past is prologue; it’s all about tonight.
There are three players left in the Scottish Open, and two of them hail from Caledonia. One, John Higgins, is through to the final already after demolishing Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 earlier this afternoon. Tonight, Anthony McGill has the opportunity to make it an all-Scottish Scottish Open Final, albeit one contested in Llandudno.
With something to say about that will be Luca Brecel. Just last weekend he was in the final of the UK Championship after a thrilling run in York, and here he is on the verge of another tilt at a ranking event title. This should be a belter; it’s best of eleven for the right to face the Wizard of Wishaw tomorrow.
That's us for the afternoon
One Scottish player is through to the Scottish Open Final, will we get another later tonight? It's Anthony McGill against Luca Brecel from 6.45pm, join us then to find out.
John Higgins is through to the final
Ronnie O'Sullivan just wasn't on it today, and was punished heavily for it. John Higgins gave him a 6-1 hiding at the Champion of Champions a few weeks ago, and he served up the same dish in Llandudno today. In his interview with Angles and Rachel in the Eurosport studio he admits he had the run of the balls today, but it was more than that; breaks of 76, 125, 74 and 98 don't just fall out of the sky after a few lucky breaks, and Higgins is in red hot form. He'll be in his fourth final of 2021/22 tomorrow, can he pick up his first title of the season?
O'Sullivan 1-6 Higgins
We don't get the ton to finish, but a 98 from Higgins puts him in the Scottish Open final.
O'Sullivan 1-5 Higgins (0-71)
Frame ball blue goes, and an insurance red soon follows; Higgins is going to reach his fourth final of the season.
O'Sullivan 1-5 Higgins (0-50)
Is this the end incoming? Higgins slices in a lovely long cut on a red to bottom left, and he's away again. In what feels like a heartbeat he secures a half-century, stunning in the black and opening the cluster of reds below the pink perfectly. This has been a real hiding, and I can't see O'Sullivan getting back to the table here.
O'Sullivan 1-5 Higgins
Frame ball black is dispatched to take Higgins to 74. There's 67 left as Higgins plays safe to baulk, and O'Sullivan folds it. Higgins served up O'Sullivan 6-1 at the Champion of Champions recently, and could be on for another big victory here.
O'Sullivan 1-4 Higgins (0-55)
Another fortuitous positional shot on the black, canoning it over the bottom right, keeps Higgins's break going. He's hard enough to beat when he doesn't have the run of the balls. The half-century quickly arrives, and this is looking very ominous for O'Sullivan now.
O'Sullivan 1-4 Higgins (0-32)
This really isn't happening for O'Sullivan. He leaves a red thin over the bottom left at the start of frame six, causing him to grin ruefully. He's doing that with bells on after Higgins's next shot, as the Wizard clips the red in, misses his intended canon on the pack only to watch the white sail serenely around the table and land on the black. Touch! Higgins, as one should, is taking maximum advantage of that fortune.
O'Sullivan 1-4 Higgins
It's curtains now, as an attacking safety from O'Sullivan sticks a red up over the bottom right. A swift eight points from Higgins does the necessary.
O'Sullivan 1-3 Higgins (0-56)
Another surprising miss from John sees his break end at 42, bring O'Sullivan back to the table. There's no pot on, and a poor safety from O'Sullivan then serves up a red for Higgins to clip into the right middle. More lowball colours go with reds, so while there have been a lot of pots in this frame from Higgins the winning line is taking longer to reach. A superb red with the rest by Higgins - he's ten from ten with that contraption - leave an awkward blue which he pots but he's badly hampered on frame ball red, so plays safe. There's 59 still out there, and O'Sullivan is still in this.
O'Sullivan 1-3 Higgins (0-28)
We're back, and after a lot of up-table safety at the start of the fifth it's Higgins who gets in first and starts picking off reds in the north of the table. After tidying up what's there, Higgins heads down to the reds around the black spot but manages to snooker himself on the black; no matter, as he then hoses in a superb long blue to the yellow pocket to regain position! That's a superb shot.
O'Sullivan 1-3 Higgins
It looked like being a blowout, now we might have a match; a superb 86 under pressure from O'Sullivan wins him a foothold in this semi-final.
That's the interval, see you in 15.
O'Sullivan 0-3 Higgins (59-44)
O'Sullivan hits the front in the frame, a blue securing his half-century and he's dropped nicely on the final red. That goes, as does a superb pink to go up for the yellow, and he needs the baulk colours...
O'Sullivan 0-3 Higgins (21-44)
Ooh, have we got a swing here? Higgins inexplicably misses a routine red to the right middle, rolling it out off the knuckles, and it's a chance for O'Sullivan. He clips in a thin red to the left middle, and he's given himself a chance in this frame. A dish here could change the complexion of this match completely.
O'Sullivan 0-3 Higgins (0-17)
It's just not happening for O'Sullivan. He misses a gun barrel straight long red at the start of the fourth, and he's left a red on the bottom right. Higgins pots it, tickles the pack open as he does so, and he's on the black. It goes wrong on 16 though, as the white sticks to the pack when Higgins tries to open it further, and it's end of break. There's a red right on the lip of the left middle, and both players are going to have to try and cover this in a precarious safety exchange. When Higgins leaves a touching ball O'Sullivan has little option other than to try and hide the white in the bottom right corner; he's left a chance for Higgins to plant one red onto the gimme though, which is soon dispatched and the Wizard is off again.
O'Sullivan 0-3 Higgins
If you're not on it against someone like John Higgins then, even if you're Ronnie, this happens. The frame is secured in double quick time, and a superb pot on the green brings the last red off the side rail and opens the door to a ton. Higgins duly banks it, a 125 in total, and he's in full control here. We've got one more frame before the interval, and it's shaping up to be a must-win for O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan 0-2 Higgins (8-54)
Higgins stuns in the blue to reach a half-century, and opens a cluster of five reds below the pink spot. The split is perfect, and that's surely another frame in the bag. What a start he's made here.
O'Sullivan 0-2 Higgins (8-18)
Higgins hits the wrong side of a red at the start of the third, missing the pot by a mile as a result and leaving O'Sullivan in. A brilliant first red from O'Sullivan, glancing the pack open to land on the black, gives him a good scoring chance but it breaks down quickly as he misses a red to the green pocket. It's not his day so far, and soon after he goes in-off in the yellow pocket. That leaves Higgins a thin snick on a red into the green pocket, and he makes it. A long blue follows, and he's away again.
O'Sullivan 0-2 Higgins
It's an impressive start from the Wizard as a 49 sorts out frame two.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Higgins (8-56)
O'Sullivan gets his first red of the day down, but he's not on a colour. He plays an attacking safety instead, freeing the tied up pink and black, which pays off when Higgins misses a long red and can't get back to baulk thereafter. O'Sullivan is in for the first time, but can only make eight before missing by his standards a shocker of a mid-range red to the bottom right. It's early but this is a big, big chance for Higgins to punish O'Sullivan. He's piled on 34 already, and he's not far away from securing another frame.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Higgins (0-22)
As Fouldsy notes in co-comms, Higgins looks thoroughly tuned in here. He's away again in the second, snicking a thin red to the bottom left, and he's quickly up to 22 but lands in the pack when trying to get on his next red. With no pot on, he sends the white back to baulk.
O'Sullivan 0-1 Higgins
There's been a touch of needle between these two this week, when O'Sullivan said he wouldn't want his son to take up snooker and Higgins called it a disgrace. So it's got a touch more edge than normal, this, and here's a statement from Higgins; he clears up to the pink for 76 to take the lead.
O'Sullivan 0-0 Higgins (0-54)
O'Sullivan gets a double kiss when playing safe, and he's left a red on to the right middle. That goes, and a plant on two reds followed by the pink soon after takes him over fifty for the frame. He's almost there.
O'Sullivan 0-0 Higgins (0-36)
Higgins is off to a flier, creaming in a long red to bottom left to go back up for the yellow. Two quick tickles of the pack early in his break morph it into a serious scoring chance, and a good recovery pot on a thin red to bottom left keeps it going. On 35 though he gets a horrendous kick when potting another red, and he's not on a colour.
Here we go
Our MC Phil Seymour has baized the boys. Best of 11 then for a place in the final, let's get stuck in.
Apart from being another chapter in this incredible rivalry, there's a lot on this today. As has been well documented, O'Sullivan hasn't won a ranking title since he triumphed at the Crucible in 2020, losing five finals in the intervening time. Higgins, too, has had bother in finals this season; he's lost three of his own, two of which were on deciders in best of 17's after leading 8-6. Whoever wins today will be favourite to win the title tomorrow, and have a chance to get the final-losing monkey off their backs.
Here they are, the lads
This match needs no heat under it but let’s light the kindling anyway. These are two of the three best players to ever chalk a cue; two awesome players by any criteria you wish to judge them on who have been locked in battle with each other for 29 years like Holmes and Moriarty grappling at the Reichenbach Falls.
Yet this isn’t good versus evil; it’s genius versus genius. Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan, the Rocket, our Mozart, the six-time world champion and greatest to do it, takes on John Higgins, the Wizard of Wishaw, the disher-upper, the player’s player and four-time Crucible winner. You know how they do; whenever these two collide, it’s usually intense, dramatic and memorable. Get comfy.
Welcome to semi-final day of the 2021 Scottish Open. Later on, we’ll have Luca Brecel against Anthony McGill; before then, oh my have we got a Saturday afternoon matinee for you.
O’Sullivan sets up Higgins showdown as Brecel continues fine form
The six-time world champion was once again not at his best – winning a final-frame decider for the third match in a row – and will now face John Higgins at 13:00 UK time for a spot in the final after Higgins beat Dave Gilbert 5-3.
Higgins – a losing finalist in 2016 to Marco Fu – rallied from three frames down to set up a meeting with O’Sullivan.
On the other side of the draw, Luca Brecel continued his fine form as he ran in four breaks of 50+ to hold off Matthew Selt. He will face Anthony McGill in the other semi-final at 19:00 UK time.
O'Sullivan produces incredible double against Li Hang en route to semis
“I was not striking the ball well,” O’Sullivan said in the Eurosport studio. “I was searching for a cue action just to get something going. It was getting so frustrating. You just feel helpless out there.
“So much poor stuff and in the end you think to yourself ‘if I continue to play like that I’m not going to go much further in the tournament’.
This game is all about cueing and hitting the ball because no matter where you’re ranked in the world you will get found out.
“I went back to my Selby cue action.”
'I'm a tinkerer' - O'Sullivan on mixing up his game after win over Li
'It's criminal' - Higgins calls for more regular changes of cloths at events
John Higgins has urged snooker officials to re-cover the tables more frequently.
“The table was difficult to play on,” Higgins told Eurosport after his semi-final. “We have been saying it for so long, and I know there have been a lot of talking points this week, but the talking point is the tables need to be re-covered during the event.
“It is terrible. We have had so much traffic on these tables, and then we just re-cover for the semi-finals and final: three matches.
“Try and count up the matches this week, it is criminal. It needs to be re-covered during the event.
There has to be a think tank for this, there really does.
'It's difficult to play on' - Higgins hits out at Scottish Open tables
Schedule and results
12:00 - Anthony McGill  5-3 Stephen Maguire 
14:00 - Ronnie O'Sullivan  5-4 Li Hang 
19:00 - Luca Brecel  5-4 Matthew Selt 
19:00 - John Higgins  5-3 David Gilbert 
Sat 11 Dec
13:00 - Ronnie O'Sullivan  vs John Higgins 
19:00 - Anthony McGill  vs Luca Brecel 
- - -
Stream the Scottish Open live and on-demand on discovery+
You can also watch all the action live via Eurosport and at eurosport.co.uk