- The Masters
O'Sullivan brushes Maguire aside to reach Masters final
Ronnie O'Sullivan will face Mark Selby in the final of the Masters after he kept up his 100% record in the last four of the event to beat Stephen Maguire 6-2.
O'Sullivan was not quite at the standard he was in his 6-0 demolition of Ricky Walden in the quarter-finals, where he stormed to the win in 57 minutes and compiled a record 556 points without reply.
The reigning world champion was playing in the semi-finals for the tenth time in his career, and capitalised on mistakes from Maguire - who failed to hit the heights of his quarter-final win over world No. 1 and UK champion Neil Robertson.
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Playing in his fourth semi-final, Maguire made a confident start to the match, potting a difficult red and knocking in a break of 98 to lead 1-0.
Breaks of 39 and 36 enabled O'Sullivan to quickly level at 1-1, but Welsh Open champion Maguire squandered his opportunity to move back in front, as poor positional play on the red forced him into a risky shot with the rest while on 27, and O'Sullivan stepped in to take the frame with a 73.
And O'Sullivan opened up a two-frame advantage going into the midsession interval with two runs of 40 as Maguire struggled to recover from the error in the previous frame.
The errors continued to creep in for Maguire, as he failed to pot a black and a simple pink, and the miss on the final red along the top cushion was his last shot in the frame as O'Sullivan at the third attempt secured the frame.
Maguire had more chances in the sixth frame, but O'Sullivan chipped in with two breaks of 20 and a 59 to go 5-1 in front.
O'Sullivan was well on his way to finishing off the match, but he dropped concentration on an easy blue on 57, and the careless slip allowed Maguire to knock in a 48 to keep him in the encounter.
However, the four-time winner of the Masters responded in eight minutes to wrap up victory in the following frame with a break of 129, and will take on Selby in Sunday's final after the defending champion beat Shaun Murphy earlier.
"I just want to congratulate Stephen on a good tournament, and I'm pleased with my win," O'Sullivan said. "I played some decent stuff. Missed a few, but so did he, and that's just the way it goes.
"There was a job to do out there. I had to stay professional, and against someone of Stephen's ability and quality you have to be on your game from start to finish. I was disappointed with that blue, but you just have to put it to the back of your mind."
O'Sullivan will face Selby for the third time in a final, and with one win each, O'Sullivan said: "Selby is always at the latter stages of tournaments. He's always competing for the major events. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a tough game, but all I have to do is take one ball at a time and one frame at a time."