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Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Hossein Vafaei to reach ninth UK Championship final


World number one Ronnie O'Sullivan in action
Ronnie O’Sullivan won his seven UK titles in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2014, 2017 and 2018

Ronnie O’Sullivan marched into the UK Championship final with a comprehensive 6-2 victory over Hussein Vafaei.

The seven-time world champion, 47, led from start to finish as he proved too strong for Iran’s Vafaei in York.

He will play either Judd Trump or China’s Ding Junhui on Sunday for the £250,000 first prize.

“Sometimes survival is just the difference, it can help you win tournaments,” O’Sullivan told the BBC.

“He missed a few balls, let me off the hook a few times and didn’t put any pressure on me.

“I just want to do myself justice in matches and play well.

“Playing well under pressure is important, but I’m just motivated by cash.”

Breaks of 113 and 54 enabled world number one O’Sullivan to lead 2-0, but Vafaei, 29, rallied with a century and won a scrappy fourth frame to restore parity.

It was one-way traffic after that as the seven-time world champion showed his pedigree with breaks of 90, 60, 52 and 50 to secure a spot in his ninth UK Championship final.

“I didn’t have my heart in front of my hero,” said Vafaei, the world number 18.

“My body just felt heavy, it felt like somebody had poured cold water on me.

“I’ve had a good tournament and only one man could stop me – and that was Ronnie O’Sullivan.”

O’Sullivan will be appearing in the final for the ninth time and is chasing a record-extending eighth UK title.

‘He smells blood and weakness’ – analysis

Stephen Hendry, five-time UK champion

It was just ultimate, top match-play from O’Sullivan. It’s phenomenal to watch.

Ronnie’s will to win is phenomenal. He’s just a winning animal.

Steve Davis, six-time UK champion

Ronnie O’Sullivan is such a great predator. He smells blood, he smelled the weakness and all of a sudden it spurred him on.

All the great players are great front-runners, but he just knows when the other guy is hurting. From in front, he’s almost unplayable.

He’s got the genius quality that very few people possess. He was in a great form. That was a banana skin match for him, which he made look very easy.

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