Phil Haigh ✍️
Ronnie O’Sullivan won five frames on the spin to beat Neil Robertson 6-4 in a superb comeback to book his place in the Hong Kong Masters final, but the Rocket admitted that he thought the Australian was the better player.
The reigning world champion won the first frame but then Robertson took the next four, including making three centuries on the bounce as he knocked in breaks of 105, 100 and 135.
Such was the dominance of the Thunder from Down Under at that stage of the match that he scored 443 points without O’Sullivan scoring any, with Robertson opening up a 4-1 lead.
However, that was as good as it got for the reigning Masters champ, with O’Sullivan battling hard and making a string of breaks himself to win the match.
Breaks of 93, 105, 104 and 52 over the next five frames saw the Rocket secure a spot alongside Marco Fu in Sunday’s final and pick up a memorable win over the Aussie.
‘I think Neil was the better player today, he played the much better snooker, I just hung in there and tried to be patient, hoped he missed a few balls and I could make a few breaks and hopefully make him think a little bit,’ O’Sullivan said after the win.
‘I think he was the better player, I just tried hard and got a little bit lucky.’
On how the game turned around, O’Sullivan reckons it was a drop in concentration from his opponent, who may have been finding things too easy as he rolled in a trio of tons.
‘Neil played so good at the start of the match, from 1-0 down to 4-1 up I don’t think I potted a ball,’ said the Rocket.
‘He dominated the table and I think sometimes the game can become too easy and he lost a little bit of concentration, once you’ve missed one ball you start to miss a few more and that’s the way it went today.’
Home hero Marco Fu won his semi-final in even more dramatic fashion as he made a 147 in the deciding frame of a 6-5 victory over John Higgins on Friday afternoon in Hong Kong.
O’Sullivan was full of praise for the 44-year-old who has bounced back from eye surgery and largely being unable to play at all during the pandemic due to travel restrictions.
‘All the players really like Marco, he’s one of the nicest guys on the circuit,’ said Ronnie.
‘He’s had a really hard two or three years, not played much snooker, had something wrong with his eye.
‘It just shows the class of player he is, to come here this week beat Mark Selby, class player and John Higgins, all time great, 147 in the last frame, pfft!’
The final is at midday UK time on Sunday 9 October.
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