O’Sullivan Secures Semifinal Spot in MrQ Masters Pursuit for Eighth Title

Ronnie O’Sullivan has intensified his pursuit of an eighth MrQ Masters title, securing a spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 2019 with a 6-3 victory over Barry Hawkins, who found himself frustrated by missed opportunities.

Initially, Hawkins appeared to be the stronger contender as he took a 3-2 lead. However, his inability to capitalize on chances in the subsequent four frames proved costly. O’Sullivan capitalized on Hawkins’ lapses, setting up a semi-final clash with either Shaun Murphy or Jack Lisowski on Saturday afternoon at Alexandra Palace.

Hawkins conceded, “Ronnie was vulnerable today. I had numerous chances, but I couldn’t convert them. I struggled to control the cue ball, making it challenging for myself. Although I felt confident and not intimidated, I kept missing shots or getting out of position. It’s disheartening, but I can’t say I deserved to win.”

O’Sullivan, the current world number one and winner of this event in 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2016, and 2017, is now advancing to the semi-finals for the 15th time. Seeking his third title of the season after triumphs at the Shanghai Masters in September and the MrQ UK Championship in December, O’Sullivan reflected on the match, stating, “I had to go through about 25 cue actions before finding one that worked. I managed to pot a few balls, which settled me down.”

Despite battling health issues, including a lingering cold and temporary hearing loss during his recent travels to China, O’Sullivan acknowledged, “At the end, I apologized to Barry because it was a subpar performance. If I had played better, I’m sure he would have stepped up too, and it could have been a great game. Oddly enough, when I play poorly, it seems the other player falters even more. I didn’t feel pressure; maybe that’s why I played poorly. You need nerves to elevate your game. Let’s see how it goes on Saturday; it could be even tougher. I might need 12 pockets on the table instead of six.”

Looking ahead, O’Sullivan plans to unwind at Champneys, indulging in a relaxing evening with a massage and pedicure before returning on Saturday with hopes for a better performance.

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