Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Maguire will contest tomorrow’s final of the German Masters after contrasting semi-finals earlier in Berlin.
O’Sullivan came through a tough encounter with Stephen Lee 6-4 while Maguire put on the performance of the week – if not a contender for the entire season – in his total destruction of Shaun Murphy.
‘The Rocket’ had come into the last four having won two of his three previous matches with stirring comebacks.
However, after seemingly taking control of his encounter with a 3-1 and 5-2 advantage, Lee launched a stirring comeback of his own to put pressure on the former world champion.
It was not to be, though, and O’Sullivan got away without a second nervy decider this week to advance to his first ranking event final in over a year.
Indeed, the 36 year-old hasn’t been victorious in a ranker since the 2009 Shanghai Masters – an amazing statistic given the talent of the man in question.
Apparently, O’Sullivan is struggling with glandular fever at the moment which will surely not help his cause but he has appeared in fine knick during this event ever since going down 4-0 to Andrew Higginson in the opening round.
He will, without question, have to perform at his highest against a Maguire that is finally back his most devastating best following a couple of lean years by his very high standards.
The Scot has been Mr. Consistency in that time frame, with lots of semi-finals and the odd final here and there to keep him hovering inside the top eight in the world rankings.
But he had lost the killer instinct that had brought him four ranking events titles and, in particular, the ‘On Fire’ nickname that was labelled on him after his annihilation of the rest of the field during the 2004 UK Championship.
Ever since beating John Higgins in this campaign’s UK, though, everything seems to have returned and clicked into place because he subsequently won the final PTC event and qualify for the Grand Finals and is on this great run here.
His display against Englishman Murphy tonight was unbelievable – barely missing a pot or going out of position and stole a couple of key frames from his opponent at crucial times to really rub salt into the wound.
If he plays like that tomorrow there can only be one winner but, in saying that, this tournament has a Ronnie O’Sullivan feel to it.
This, many years ago now, was tipped as potentially going to be the next huge rivalry in the sport.
That never materialised but tomorrow’s match has the promise to be an absolute belter.