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O’Sullivan Into Fourth Straight Shanghai Final

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan scored a brilliant 10-7 win over Mark Selby to extend his unbeaten run at the Shanghai Masters and make a fourth consecutive final in the event.

The Rocket has now won 18 consecutive matches in the tournament and hasn’t lost in the city since a defeat to Michael Holt back in 2016. O’Sullivan is a four time Shanghai Masters winner and won all three of the most recent runnings of the event, between 2017 and 2019.

This was the first World Snooker Tour meeting between O’Sullivan and Selby for three years, since the pair met in the 2020 Scottish Open final. Selby scored a comprehensive 9-3 win on that occasion, but today’s result now sees O’Sullivan lead the head-to-head standings between the pair 17-11.

It has been a week where seven-time World Champion O’Sullivan has needed to dig deep to remain in the running. He trailed John Higgins 5-2, before triumphing 6-5 in the quarters and overcame moments of severe pressure throughout today’s match by Selby.

O’Sullivan now progresses to Sunday’s final, where he will face either World Champion Luca Brecel or Neil Robertson over the best of 21 frames. The victor will take home the title and the £210,000 top prize.

The afternoon session saw Selby emerge with a slender 5-4 lead. When play began in the evening they traded the first two frames, before O’Sullivan took the 12th on the pink to level up at 6-6.

Selby regained his lead in the 13th with a break of 77 and then looked set to move two clear for the first time in the match. However, a missed frame ball pink off the spot on 65 allowed O’Sullivan in and he ruthlessly cleared with a stunning break of 66 to restore parity at 7-7.

That proved to be a pivotal moment, with further runs of 69, 109 and 118 from the 39-time ranking event winner making it four frames on the bounce to secure a 10-7 win and a place in the final.

“The start of the match wasn’t so good. Until 6-5 and 6-6 I was struggling a bit. I tried to hang in there and made a little technical change. I thought I had to try something and find some form. I changed my alignment and my shoulder to get closed and more on line to control the white. It was difficult, but I was pleased to find some form at the end,” said 47-year-old O’Sullivan.

“I’ve learned so much over the years (on the mental side of the game), that I know what to do. It is just whether I can be bothered to do it all of the time. Sometimes it is hard to be giving 100% all of the time. I’ve been doing this for 40 years so you get tired and the motivation is not the same as when you are younger. I accept that and it does get harder to keep doing it.

“I’ll have some nice dim sum tomorrow and maybe go for hot pot with friends, watch the snooker on the TV and relax. I’m doing some filming for Tik Tok tomorrow. Everyone likes Tik Tok in China so I will have to do some filming tomorrow.”