O’Sullivan sees off Selby

PUBLISHED: 19:55 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 19:55 14 January 2016

Ronnie O'Sullivan (right) chalks his cue as Mark Selby looks on during the Dafabet Masters 2016 at Alexandra Palace (pic: John Walton/PA)

Ronnie O'Sullivan (right) chalks his cue as Mark Selby looks on during the Dafabet Masters 2016 at Alexandra Palace (pic: John Walton/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Chigwell ‘Rocket’ into Masters last four

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists his grudge with Mark Selby is now water under the bridge after beating the world number one to reach the Masters semi-finals.

In a much-anticipated clash with his old rival – their first since the 2014 World Championship final which Selby won 18-14 – the Chigwell cueman outgunned his opponent to win their quarter-final 6-3 at London’s Alexandra Palace.

At 5-2 down Selby looked set to pull off one of his trademark comebacks, narrowing the deficit to 5-3 before moving 70 ahead in the ninth frame, only for O’Sullivan to make an incredible 73 clearance to clinch it.

And the 40-year-old believes that winning despite not producing the dazzling snooker he is capable of, bodes well.

“It’s good because even if I’m not feeling confident, I’m still trying to portray a confident player,” said O’Sullivan.

“You have to bring near enough your top game in order to have a chance, so even though I didn’t feel technically great out there I still had to go for the shots as if I was feeling technically great.

“Mark struggled, but he’s the only player in the world who can not be at his best and still win tournaments.

“I’ve finally realised how difficult he is to play for everyone – against every opponent, he is just like granite and I thought ‘ok it’s not just me that he does it against’.

“I admire that – I admire his tenacity, it’s just unbelievable. We’ve had a bit of a grudge and a bit of needle over the years and I’ve probably taken it personally, but not anymore. I realise that he’s a great, great player.”

In his first major tournament since taking an eight-month sabbatical from snooker, O’Sullivan is still not feeling at his best.

But as he gears up for a semi-final with either John Higgins or Stuart Bingham, the world number six claims competitive fire won’t allow him to give up.

“My competitive nature is making me try and make something happen. If I was playing in practice I wouldn’t have been able to make 20 today and would have gone through the motions,” added O’Sullivan.

“But because there’s a big crowd and it’s on TV you don’t want to embarrass yourself and you don’t want to humiliate yourself. You want to put on a decent show and I managed to do that.”

*Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing all major ranking events including the Masters, World Championship and the exclusive “Ronnie O’Sullivan Show”.

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