O'Sullivan blasts Murphy aside

Ronnie O'Sullivan had an easy job of progressing to the Dafabet World Snooker Championship semi-finals

Ronnie O'Sullivan had an easy job of progressing to the Dafabet World Snooker Championship semi-finals

First published in National Sport News © by

Ronnie O'Sullivan was in cruise control as he breezed into the semi-finals of the Dafabet World Snooker Championship with a 13-3 win over Shaun Murphy.

The five-time champion admitted he was surprised at the easy nature of his win as he was able to capitalise on a series of mistakes from his opponent.

"You just never know what type of match you're going to get," O'Sullivan told BBC Two.

"You can expect a really tough match and it turned out easy like it did with Shaun. I didn't expect to win it that easy to be fair. He's a free-scoring great potter.

"He just missed a few balls and let me in quite easily. I still had to pot them but I didn't have to fight for my chances."

O'Sullivan claimed seven of the eight frames on Wednesday after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to lead 6-2 overnight.

The 38-year-old added the opening two in the morning to stretch his advantage before Murphy got a frame back in the 11th but O'Sullivan followed that with a break of 118 to take a 9-3 lead into the mid-session interval.

The restart was delayed for a short while due to a problem with the scoreboard and when play resumed O'Sullivan made a break of 59 before giving Murphy a glimmer of hope.

Murphy looked to be heading for a rare frame success but missed a routine pink and O'Sullivan gratefully took the opportunity to extend his lead further.

A missed green off the spot in the next summed up Murphy's performance as O'Sullivan again capitalised, closing out a comprehensive victory with the minimum of fuss.

O'Sullivan will now face Barry Hawkins, who survived a remarkable fightback from Dominic Dale to seal a 13-12 win.

Dale, trailing 11-5 overnight, claimed the first seven frames of the session to shock last-year's runner-up who needed just two further frames when play began on Wednesday afternoon.

He eventually got them, but they were the last two of the session as Hawkins set up a repeat of last year's final.

"Everything that could go wrong was," Hawkins said of the early frames of the day. "I wasn't squandering chance after chance but he played unbelievable safety and kept me off the table for long periods of time.

"To play like I did in the last two frames after what he did was unbelievable and you could see how much it meant. I was chuffed to pieces I held myself together."

"It's got to be up there with one of my best wins ever. I think when somebody comes at you like, to get the result, I'm just delighted."

Dale took the first three frames of the day with breaks of 75, 65 and 64 before claiming a slightly scrappier encounter to go into the mid-session interval just two behind.

A break of 61 on the resumption made it 11-10 and the Welshman then prevailed from a long safety battle to level up the scores.

A 52 clearance in the next edged the player known as 'Spaceman' ahead and at that point it looked like momentum would carry him over the line but Hawkins is made of stern stuff and claimed his first frame of the day with a break of 66 to take the match to a decider.

Both players were edgy in the opening stages but it was Hawkins who held his nerve with a 65 clearance to go through.

Mark Selby also breezed through to the semi-finals after claiming the one remaining frame he needed against Alan McManus.

The Leicester cueman came into the session with a commanding 12-4 lead and veteran McManus won the opening frame with a break of 69 to extend the contest.

The Scot was among the balls again early in the 18th before losing position on 20, opening the door for Selby.

A missed red to the middle from the 2007 finalist allowed McManus back to the table but he could not take advantage and Selby closed out a 13-5 win to advance to a semi-final against Neil Robertson.

World number one Robertson lit up the evening session as he rallied to beat Judd Trump, becoming the first player to make 100 century breaks in a season in the process.

Trailing 6-2 when the day started, Robertson dominated the early going to get it back to 7-6, but Trump kept digging in to stay in front and was 9-6 up at the interval.

Robertson once again closed the gap to a frame before Selby won the next two to open up an 11-8 lead.

From there it seemed there would be only one winner but Robertson fought back valiantly and closed the gap to just one frame for a third time with some attritional play before levelling proceedings with a landmark 101 break, celebrating with a huge pump of the fist.

The body language told the story on both sides with Trump looking like he would rather be anywhere else as Robertson moved 12-11 ahead.

The Bristol man had good cause as his scoring drought moved into a second hour, only ending when Robertson gifted him four with a foul to make it 43-4 in the 24th frame.

That offered him a way back in but having pulled within eight, Trump missed what should have been a routine black and Robertson made him pay by closing out the match.

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