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Rocket Fightback Floors Li
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan battled back from 4-1 down to beat China’s Li Hang 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Matchroom.Live Scottish Open.
The Rocket is now through to a remarkable 55th ranking final of his career, where he will face Mark Selby or Jamie Jones for the Stephen Hendry Trophy and the £70,000 top prize.
Li conquered former World Champions Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump during a superb run this week. However, defeat today means he will have to settle for £20,000 in prize money. That ensures his place in the field for next week’s 32-player World Grand Prix.
It was Li who made the strongest start today, composing breaks of 77 and 62 to establish an early 2-0 advantage.
O’Sullivan, who was playing with his fourth tip of the week after problems in previous matches, got his first frame on the board with a sublime century run of 123.
Li then appeared to take a stranglehold on proceedings, firing in breaks of 73 and 66 to move 4-1 ahead. He then spurned a golden opportunity to move a frame from victory, breaking down on 49 in the sixth frame. That allowed O’Sullivan to summon a break of 84 to make it 4-2.
The seventh followed a similar pattern, with the six-time Crucible king composing a sensational contribution of 87 to come from behind in the frame and close to 4-3.
O’Sullivan restored parity, before breaks of 93 and 59 helped him to make it five on the bounce to secure his 6-4 win.
O’Sullivan said: “I don’t know how I’ve come out winning that one. I’m really shocked to be honest with you. I’ll take it and it is nice to be in the final.
“If the other guy is penetrating through the ball and you’re not, then he is always going to boss you about a bit. I had to compete, which I’m quite good at, I’m a bit of a competitor. That gave me a chance to stay in the game. The minute I sensed that something could be turning, I was ready.
“I’m sure at some point down the line this will do me good. I haven’t played in a lot of tournaments over the last five or six years, I’ve picked and chose. Maybe that has caught up with me a little bit. I’ve never really doubted myself, maybe twice in my career. I get thoughts now that maybe I’m not capable of dominating like I used to. I still do alright and it will be interesting to see if my game can get a bit stronger from playing a few more matches.”