23 march 2021 publish date

The opening match is worthy of the final. Cazoo Tour Championship 2021

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan opened up a 5-3 advantage over John Higgins in their Cazoo Tour Championship quarter-final at the Celtic Manor Resort.

The pair met in the final of the Cazoo Players Championship earlier this month, where Higgins produced a vintage display to blitz to a 10-3 victory. That was Higgins’ first ranking event win for three years since the 2018 Welsh Open.

O’Sullivan, a winner of 37 career ranking titles, has appeared in four finals so far this season, at the Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open, Welsh Open and Players Championship, but has lost on each occasion. He’ll be hoping he can clinch his first silverware of the campaign this week ahead of next month’s trip to the Crucible, where he will be looking to defend his title.

It was 31-time ranking event winner Higgins who took the opener this afternoon, firing in a run of 72 to move a frame ahead. Breaks of 93 and 72 then saw O’Sullivan wrest the advantage and move 2-1 up. However, a fine century break of 101 by Higgins restored parity at the mid-session.

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When they returned they traded frames, before O’Sullivan surged to take the final two of the afternoon to lead 5-3 heading into this evening’s conclusion.

O’Sullivan started quickest this evening as well, firing in a break of 72 to lead 6-3.

Higgins responded immediately with a run of 73 to pull within two, before they traded the following two frames to head into the mid-session with O’Sullivan leading 7-5.

When play resumed, O’Sullivan composed a fine century run of 112 to re-establish a three frame gap. However, Higgins claimed two on the bounce to ensure an intriguing finish at 8-7.

O’Sullivan moved a frame from victory with his 1,100th career century break, a run of 101. Higgins clawed one back, before a tense 18th frame. Higgins required and got a snooker on the last red. However, O’Sullivan eventually potted the yellow and cleared to the pink to run out a 10-8 victor.

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World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated John Higgins in a multi-session match for the first time since 2005, winning 10-8 in their Cazoo Tour Championship quarter-final.

The last time O’Sullivan defeated Higgins in a clash stretching over more than one session was in the 2005 Masters final. Today’s victory ends that 16-year run and sees O’Sullivan pull six clear in their head to head record, leading 36-30.

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“I just tried to enjoy the occasion, enjoy the game and not get too involved with winning or losing,” said 45-year-old O’Sullivan. “I just turn up and play, if you play well one week then great. If you don’t then no big deal, there is one next week. It is good when you play in quite a few tournaments, as you don’t care if you win or lose.”

Higgins said: “I’m disappointed, Ronnie struggled a bit as well. It must have been good to watch, but the quality wasn’t the best.

“This was a massive tournament to play in, I lost in the first round last year and I’ve done the same again. I just have to dust myself down now.”

O’Sullivan will now face either world number one Judd Trump or Barry Hawkins in the second semi-final on Saturday.

The article is based on WST.TV