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Page last updated at 21:56 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

O'Sullivan sets up Maguire semi

THE MASTERS
Venue: Wembley Arena, London Date: 11-18 January
Coverage: BBC Television, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website

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A 128 break in the sixth helps O'Sullivan blast past Carter

World number one Ronnie O'Sullivan rattled in two centuries to see off Ali Carter 6-2 and set up a Masters semi-final clash with Stephen Maguire.

O'Sullivan was not at his fluent best but went into overdrive as Carter crumbled after the mid-session break.

The first four frames were shared in an enthralling start but after a re-rack in the fifth O'Sullivan made breaks of 82, 128, 115 and 91 to seal the win.

Scotland's Maguire beat Neil Robertson 6-3 in Friday's earlier quarter-final.

The match finished with five consecutive century breaks, two from Robertson followed by three from Maguire, the first time the feat has occurred at the Masters.

The world number two was unaware he was making history however.

I think every three or six months I'll just smash a cue whenever I feel like I need to start again

Ronnie O'Sullivan
"You're just focused," Maguire told BBC Sport. "You can play like that all day and not know if you're knocking in centuries."

O'Sullivan might have matched Maguire's run of three centuries in a row at the end of his match, only to go out of position on 91 in the final frame.

"The Rocket", who is using a replacement cue after deliberately snapping his original one "for fun" before his first-round tie with Joe Perry, said that smashing a cue was like a "detox" for him.

"I just want to smash cues up," the world champion said.

"I love it. It's great. I think every three or six months I'll just smash one whenever I feel like I need to start again. It's like a cleansing."

In a repeat of last year's World Championship final, Carter was hoping to beat O'Sullivan for the first time in 11 outings and although he lost the opening frame he hit back to level after a safety battle in the second.

606: DEBATE
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O'Sullivan, three times a Masters champion, edged ahead with a break of 90 but it was 2-2 at the interval with Carter taking a scrappy fourth.

Carter looked fired up after the break but could not capitalise with a number of chances.

After O'Sullivan took the fifth with a fine 82 he never looked back, Carter scoring just five points in the final three frames.

Maguire, 27, won the other quarter-final on Friday in a top-quality clash with Robertson.

The world number two lost the first frame but then rattled off the next four, helped by breaks of 97, 62 and 128.

I should have gone out but I got another chance and now I've started playing well

Stephen Maguire
His Australian opponent hit back with two magnificent centuries to reduce the deficit to 4-3.

But Maguire responded with a 105 in the eighth before wrapping up victory with a run of 113, the fifth consecutive ton of the match.

After scraping through his opening Masters match against Graeme Dott, the Glaswegian was delighted with his improvement in form.

"I went back up to Scotland and relaxed for a few days after my win," he added.

"I should have gone out but I got another chance and now I've started playing well."

Maguire and O'Sullivan will meet in Saturday's second semi-final, starting at 1900 GMT, with defending champion Mark Selby taking on John Higgins in the opening semi, at 1400 GMT.

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see also
Higgins secures Selby semi-final
15 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Snooker droopy?
13 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Dogged Robertson sees off Hendry
14 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Murphy makes early Masters exit
13 Jan 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan wants X Factor glitz
12 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Selby ready for Masters defence
09 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Masters draw
05 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
16 Sep 08 |  Snooker


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