Snooker: O'Sullivan sets up battle with Higgins in last four

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan booked his place in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters yesterday with a 5-3 win over Ding Junhui.

The three-time world champion will now take on current Crucible king John Higgins in the last four tomorrow, after the Scot beat Ryan Day 5-1. O'Sullivan came out on top in a match featuring seven breaks over 50, and one century. Ding forged ahead with a break of 57 and led in the second before a clearance of 28 from O'Sullivan levelled it, and the Englishman then went 4-1 ahead with breaks of 64, 101 and 70.

Ding hit back to make it 4-3 with breaks of 61 and 99. He had a chance in the eighth frame but after his break ended on 26, O'Sullivan rattled off 83 to set up a meeting with Higgins.

O'Sullivan said: "I went into the match with the mentality that I had to raise my game and play better than I had in my first two matches.

"Ding had been flowing and I knew I could lose. That helped keep my mind sharp. It was a strange game, Ding was first in the balls in every frame. He'll be disappointed because he might feel he deserved to win.

"Sometimes a frame is decided on one ball, and you have to take your chance when it comes. Ding is a great player, he's got fantastic bottle and he's in a better frame of mind than he was two years ago. But he needs to win a tournament to get his confidence back."

Ding added: "I'm not disappointed because I stayed focused and it was the best I played during the tournament. I was a bit unlucky."

Higgins overcame Welshman Day in a scrappy match. Higgins said: "I'm very pleased to win but it was a bad match, Ryan had lots of chances. When two players miss balls they feed off each other, the same as when they play well. It was just a bad match."

Shaun Murphy thrashed Ken Doherty to record his second straight 5-0 win and book his place in the semi-finals. Breaks of 75, 68, 62, 53 and 123 sealed a one-sided win in only75 minutes. The world No 3 will play Liang Wenbo in the last four after the Chinese player beat Ricky Walden 5-3 to reach his first ranking semi-final.

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