John Higgins put on a spectacular display to demolish Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 and delight his home Glaswegian crowd at the Dafabet Scottish Open.
The pair form one of the most iconic rivalries in the sport, having faced each other on 65 occasions including World Championship and Masters finals. They’ve won 60 ranking titles between them and have tasted Triple Crown glory 27 times combined.
In 2016 Higgins won another blockbuster Scottish Open clash against O’Sullivan at the same stage. He came through a 5-2 winner during his run to the final, where he was denied the title by an inspired Marco Fu. The Scot prevailed again tonight, whitewashing O’Sullivan for the first time since the 1994 Grand Prix.
However, 29-time ranking winner Higgins had previously endured a torrid 2017/18 record against the Rocket, having lost all four of their meetings up to today, including a 6-0 loss at the Champion of Champions in Coventry.
The Wizard produced a spellbinding showing of break building power this evening, which included three consecutive century breaks. He compiled runs of 55, 109, 117 and 105 to move 4-0 ahead. O’Sullivan then led 60-0 in the fifth frame before a trademark clearance of 72 from Higgins saw him home.
The four-time World Champion now continues his quest to go one better than last year and etch his name on the Stephen Hendry trophy. He faces a semi-final meeting with Neil Robertson tomorrow night.
Higgins said: “I lost quite heavily the last couple of times I played Ronnie. I was really trying my hardest tonight in front of all my friends and family.
“It was a brilliant atmosphere when we came out with Deacon Blue playing and everything. Ronnie then came out and had a great support as well. It felt like a football match and these are special occasions to play in.
Afterwards O’Sullivan, who has remarkably won three ranking titles in the last two months, was keen to heap praise on his opponent.
The five-time World Champion said: “He is a class act and an amazing player. He has touch, power and skill. If you were going to build a snooker player, then you would build John.
“I’ve entered seven tournaments this season and if I had done well in one of them then I would have been happy. However, I’ve done well in four or five, so I have achieved more than I thought I would and it will be nice to get a break now.”
Cao Yupeng reached his second ranking semi-final of the campaign thanks to a 5-3 defeat of Ricky Walden
The 27-year-old from China, who made a 147 earlier this week, will now face the same man he met in the European Masters semi-finals earlier this season, Judd Trump.
Cao said: “I feel I’ve been cueing well and my long potting is good. It is about keeping my emotions under control and not letting any mistakes impact on my mindset.
“It will be my second semi-final of the season and I will face the same player. It will be a big occasion.”