Ronnie O’Sullivan blitzed what was labelled by many as the group of death in the Champion of Champions to complete the semi-final line-up in Coventry on Thursday.
With a quartet that included fellow former champions John Higgins and Neil Robertson, as well rising star Anthony McGill, it was supposed to be a tough test for anyone who came through with a spot in the last four.
However, O’Sullivan was never really tested as he continued his love affair with the Ricoh Arena with thrashings of Robertson and Higgins.
There was only one moment throughout the day when the “Rocket” could have been properly challenged and that was when Robertson had an opportunity in the early exchanges of their first-round clash to establish a 2-1 lead.
However, the struggling Australian jawed a tricky cut-back blue to the middle pocket and O’Sullivan duly never looked back after pinching the frame with a break of 70.
It was to be the first of many sizable contributions from the five-time world champion, who wrapped up a 4-1 success over Robertson with runs of 72 and 134.
Higgins then hammered fellow Scot McGill in a commanding whitewash display to set up the dream fixture that practically everyone had hoped for.
But the repeat of last year’s final, which Higgins prevailed in to inflict O’Sullivan’s only ever defeat in this competition, proved to be a one-sided affair with the Englishman romping to a resounding 6-0 success over his great rival.
O’Sullivan took the two opening close frames before growing in confidence with breaks of 81, 101, and a spectacular tournament-high knock of 138 to wrap up proceedings.
It marks the former world number one’s 13th victory out of 14 in the Champion of Champions since his debut appearance in 2013 – when he first lifted the trophy.
The current English Open champion defended the title a year later and was only narrowly denied in the final by Higgins this time last year, having not entered the 2015 edition.
With Anthony Hamilton his next opponent on Friday, and Shaun Murphy and Luca Brecel featuring in the other semi-final tie on Saturday, O’Sullivan will be a huge favourite for glory again this weekend with another £100,000 winner’s cheque up for grabs.
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