Ronnie O’Sullivan played some wonderful snooker last night to beat Stephen Maguire 3-1 and reach the semi-finals of the 12bet.com World Open in Glasgow.
This was O’Sullivan at his imperious best: heavy scoring, good safety, full commitment.
“I’ve never doubted my resilience. I know what I’m capable of and what’s inside me,” said O’Sullivan, who is looking for his first ranking title since he won the Shanghai Masters just over a year ago.
His talent is extraordinary but he doesn’t quite seem to recognise just how extraordinary it is.
Today, he faces a semi-final slog against Peter Ebdon, who hasn’t beaten him since THAT World Championship quarter-final in 2005.
“Thank God it’s only five frames,” was O’Sullivan’s typically brutal response to the news he would have to face snooker’s most methodical exponent again.
Ebdon hasn’t played his best stuff yet this week but the re-spotted black he slotted home in the third frame against Martin Gould yesterday was, under the circumstances, the best pot of the tournament.
If O’Sullivan is at all complacent he may come unstuck against the redoubtable 2002 world champion.
But I’d expect Ronnie to come through to the final, where he would face another great talent in Neil Robertson or Mark Williams.
Robertson is already world champion and is guaranteed to be official world no.1 after the World Open.
Williams became the first player to recover from 2-0 down and win a match in Glasgow this week when he exposed Ding Junhui’s frailties in the quarter-finals.
Yes, a short match is hard to call but I’d make Williams the slight favourite.
But with four world champions through to the semi-finals we’re guaranteed a fascinating day’s snooker.