Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson will contest the final of the Hong Kong Masters as the lucrative eight-man invitational event reaches its conclusion on Sunday.
With £100,000 on offer for the champion, it’s sure to be a competitive clash between the Englishman and the Australian.
Both players emerged from tight semi-final tussles on Saturday at a once again packed Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.
O’Sullivan required a second successive deciding frame victory as he edged Judd Trump in a topsy-turvy affair, 6-5.
The five-time world champion raced into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 128 and 85, only to see his opponent respond with runs of 136 and 76 to move 4-3 in front.
With the next two frames shared, O’Sullivan scored his second century of the encounter with a wonderful 126 to set up the final frame shoot-out.
Then, despite needing a snooker with two reds remaining, O’Sullivan pinched the triumph on the black to deny his young rival in a dramatic climax.
Earlier on the third day of action, Robertson disappointed home favourite Marco Fu’s home following as he battled his way passed the 39 year-old with a 6-4 success.
Robertson trailed 3-1 at the interval but crucially won the first four frames after the restart, including a break of 100, to go to within the brink of victory.
Fu held on with a 70 but a subsequent 82 ultimately sealed Robertson’s final berth.
Unsurprisingly, O’Sullivan boasts a superior head-to-head record against Robertson and will certainly begin today’s showdown as the favourite.
O’Sullivan seems to thrive under these kinds of conditions, invitational tournaments with big prize money, enthusiastic fans, and only the best players in the world in attendance.
Robertson prevailed in the pair’s last outing at the World Grand Prix in February but the “Rocket” holds a higher than 60% successful strike rate against his fellow former world number one.
Either way, it promises to be a fitting end to what has been an entertaining inaugural staging in Hong Kong.
All the matches so far have been closely fought and hopefully the final can follow suit as the amazing crowds inside the impressive arena over the last few days deserve a thrilling conclusion.
Click here to view the draw. (Times CET)