Ronnie O’Sullivan stormed into his third successive World Championship final after a dominating 17-7 victory over Barry Hawkins at the Crucible.
Not only did the ‘Rocket’ overcome the same man who he beat to capture his fifth crown 12 months ago, but he did so in style by romping to victory with a session to spare.
That guarantees that the 38 year-old has all of Saturday off to prepare for his final clash with either Mark Selby or Neil Robertson.
That pair are locked in a titanic tactical tussle with the Englishman currently leading the Australian 9-7 and, with two sessions remaining tomorrow, it is likely that whoever emerges triumphant will have done so having expended a serious amount of energy.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan, who was pushed almost all the way in his last 16 tie with Joe Perry, trailing the ‘Gentleman’ for almost the entire contest before a late run of powerful scoring ultimately overturned the deficit, has since gone from strength to strength.
The Chigwell cueist’s latest result was the second in succession that he recorded while not having to play the final session.
That O’Sullivan has saved so much energy for the final is an ominous sign for whoever he ends up facing.
That he is shifting through the gears at a ferocious pace leads one to beg the question whether or not the final showdown will even be competitive.
There are, of course, still potentially four more sessions of snooker for one of the sport’s greatest ever players to play, and thus his fortunes may turn, but right now it looks as though Ronnie O’Sullivan is racing to etch his name on the trophy for a sixth time.