Snooker: Rocket Ronnie produces the fireworks to ease into Crucible last four
Any lingering doubt that Ronnie O'Sullivan might not have the form or the temperament to land a fourth World Championship title was emphatically dispelled last night.
O'Sullivan crushed Neil Robertson's title dream with some exquisite play in the evening session of their quarter-final to close out a 13-10 victory over the Australian. At 36, O'Sullivan would become the oldest world champion since 45-year-old Ray Reardon triumphed in 1978 if he claims the title.
Matthew Stevens, who finished off fellow Welshman Ryan Day yesterday morning, stands in his way of a first appearance in the final since 2008, when the game's most thrilling player lifted the Crucible trophy for a third time.
Robertson had little answer to O'Sullivan's brilliance as the Chigwell showman won the opening six frames of the day to surge from 5-3 behind to 9-5 in front, aided by breaks of 44, 47, 97, 62 and 42. Robertson took the final two frames of the afternoon, the second with a morale-boosting break of 63, his previous highest of the session having been a mere 29.
The world number three began the evening session with purpose too, rattling in a break of 50 to narrow the gap to one frame but if O'Sullivan was worried, he was giving nothing away. Robertson gifted him an opening chance from a poor break and in went an immaculate 104, followed by 71 to establish a position of authority at 11-8.
Seeking a swift resolution, O'Sullivan sprinted to a break of 100 to close to one frame away from victory but Robertson was not finished and made it 12-9 with a run to 89. A 77 break from Robertson briefly complicated O'Sullivan's task but his hopes were soon snuffed out as O'Sullivan rattled through another high-speed break, this time a 59, to make victory safe.
Live, BBC2/ Eurosport 1.0, 8.0