Ronnie O’Sullivan headlines unexpected semi-final line-up at International Championship
No one predicted this final four.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the only member of the top 16 left at the International Championship ahead of the semi-finals getting underway in Tianjin on Friday.
The Rocket is hot favourite from here on in as he prepares for a semi-final clash with Zhang Anda, while Tom Ford takes on Jordan Brown on the other side of the draw.
The world number one was a long way from his best when he took on Ali Carter in the quarter-finals on Thursday, but he was good enough to pick up a 6-4 win over the Captain, who will be frustrated he could not capitalise on an under-par O’Sullivan.
The seven-time world champion did not make a break over 60 during the scrappy win, but Carter could only make one of his own (69) and will see it as an opportunity missed.
Other than O’Sullivan marching on, it has been a tournament of shocks in China, with the other three semi-finalists downing their more illustrious opponents.
Zhang Anda has been in superb form this season, so it is not a huge surprise he beat Ding Junhui 6-3 on Thursday, but it is still a huge win for Mighty Mouse.
Breaks of 124, 82, 76, 65 and 60 were enough for the English Open finalist to see off the legend of Chinese snooker and set-up a clash with the Rocket, a man he beat on his way to the final in Brentwood just last month.
Ford scored a big 6-4 win over Barry Hawkins earlier on Thursday, surging into a 4-1 lead with breaks of 65, 125, 106 and 77, before a fightback from the Hawk, but it was Model-T who got over the line.
Brown’s win over Stephen Maguire was a brilliant tussle which the Northern Irishman eventually claimed 6-5 thanks to a half-century in the decider.
The Antrim Ferrari has enjoyed a superb week in Tianjin, beating David Gilbert, Kyren Wilson, John Higgins and now Maguire, who himself appears to have returned to form, making breaks of 115, 94, 80, 77 and 54 even in defeat.
Ford’s run has also been impressive, ousting Cao Yupeng, Marco Fu, Mark Selby and Hawkins, setting up only a second ever meeting with Brown in the last four.
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