John Higgins extended his fine recent positive record against Ronnie O’Sullivan to book his place in the final of the Scottish Open.
The Scot dominated the match from the off against a below-par O’Sullivan and took advantage of the errors from his opponent and the favourable run of the balls to secure a 6-1 win.
Higgins has tasted defeat in the three finals he has contested this season, English Open, Northern Ireland Open and Champion of Champions, but will have high hopes of going one better in Llandudno after producing some of his best snooker of the week.
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O’Sullivan, who said he was searching for a cue action during his win over Li Hang in the quarter finals, looked uncomfortable early on and a double kiss proved costly as Higgins stepped in with a break of 76 to move ahead.
The second followed the pattern of the first, as alarmingly O'Sullivan hit the wrong side of a ball and later missed an easy red; Higgins’ contribution of 49 was enough to go 2-0 ahead.
O’Sullivan missed a red into right middle in the third, and Higgins went through the gears with a 125 to stretch his advantage.
Higgins, who has had a stranglehold over O’Sullivan of late, surprisingly missed in the fourth, and the Rocket responded with a break of 86 under extreme pressure to get himself on the board.
The fifth was a low-scoring affair, with the high-value colours out of commission for the most part. Higgins was fortunate not to go in-off into the left middle after missing a red, and left O’Sullivan a tough chance. He appeared concerned that the cue ball may topple into the pocket, as it teetered on the lip, and he missed a difficult red. Higgins did not need a second invitation as he secured the frame to extend his advantage.
While Higgins was the better player, he also enjoyed the run of the balls. That was summed up in the sixth frame. He had a fortunate kiss on the blue to run safe, while O’Sullivan was unlucky to see a red sit over the pocket from his return.
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Higgins knocked in the red, but the cue ball careered around the table. As it settled perfectly on the black, the rueful smile on O’Sullivan’s face summed things up. Higgins still had to take his chance, and he did with a break of 74 to move within one frame of victory.
The Scot came into the match having four of the past five meetings between the two, and he extended it by closing out the contest with a break of 98 in the seventh.
It was a comprehensive win, and will set Higgins up nicely for a meeting with either Luca Brecel or Anthony McGill in what will be his 54th ranking final.
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