Ronnie O'Sullivan blows "helpless" Ricky Walden away at the Masters
Published 17/01/2014 | 20:08
Ronnie O'Sullivan wowed the crowds at Alexandra Palace with a perfect display of snooker and admitted Ricky Walden had been unfortunate to come up against him in such a mood.
The five-time world champion was always the favourite ahead of the Masters quarter-final but few would have predicted the 6-0 whitewash that unfolded in front of a stunned crowd.
Walden started the better with a tidy opening-frame 39 but after breaking down would not make another pot as O'Sullivan rattled in 556 unanswered points to set a new snooker record, beating the previous best of 495 that was set by Ding Junhui in 2007.
Rewriting snooker history is nothing new to 'The Rocket' but even he looked in shock after the brilliant win which was wrapped up in just 58 minutes and 31 seconds, giving television schedulers plenty to ponder as they had been due to broadcast for three and a half further hours.
"Ricky has had a good season and has won a couple of ranking events. He's a top player and I played well to beat him," O'Sullivan, who joked he would now have the time to pick his children up from school, told World Snooker TV.
"For him it was unfortunate because whatever I did went right and it is hard to play against sometimes."
O'Sullivan made breaks of 79, 88, 72, 134, 77 and 56 on his way to the win, with the final of those looking destined to be a maximum 147 until he lost position after an unfortunate outcome to an attempt to split the pack.
"It's a good feeling. Those matches done come along very often and when they do you want to enjoy them," he added.
"I'm not getting any younger so you wonder how many performances like that you have left in you. I was pleased to do that and hopefully people enjoyed it."
Walden, who in fairness did little wrong, told the BBC: "That's the first time I've ever felt helpless on a snooker table."
O'Sullivan's dominance can be further summed up by a pot success rate of 97 per cent and a table-time percentage of 76.
O'Sullivan's semi-final opponent will be Stephen Maguire who upset world number one Neil Robertson.
Though no stranger to the business end of tournaments, Maguire was not fancied to topple the Australian - the reigning UK Champion - but did, seeing him off 6-2.
Robertson was never able to get a foothold in the game, barring a comeback from 3-0 down to 3-2, and with Maguire's long potting faultless, he was punished.
Even when he had a chance to keep the match alive in the eighth frame, Robertson's form was summed up when he went in-off after making a regulation pot.