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UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Tom Ford 6-1 to reach final


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UK Snooker Championship: O’Sullivan makes short work of Ford to reach final

Ronnie O’Sullivan said he would be “over the moon” to win a record seventh UK Championship, after beating Tom Ford 6-1 to reach Sunday’s final.

The 43-year-old, who missed the 2015 event, has now reached the final in his past four appearances at York Barbican.

After falling behind against fellow Englishman Ford, he made breaks of 122 and 71 in winning six frames in a row.

O’Sullivan will face either Masters champion Mark Allen or Stuart Bingham in Sunday’s final.

Since the start of the 2014 event, O’Sullivan has won 26 of his 27 matches here, with his defeat in the 2016 final by Mark Selby the only blot on his record.

And victory on Sunday would take ‘The Rocket’ to a record 19 tournament wins in BBC ‘Triple Crown’ events – the World and UK Championships, and Masters.

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An upbeat O’Sullivan said: “If it does not happen this year then maybe the year after, there is still plenty of time.

“I want to go out there and be involved in a good match. What is more important is that it is a good final for snooker and the fans that follow the sport.

“At some point you have to ask what it is all about. Sometimes you wake up and think there are a lot of people out there who get a lot of pleasure [from seeing him win]. I want to be able to repay that by playing with a smile on my face.

“If I am not winning then it is not the end of the world as people still want to see you do well.

“I have amazing support here like I have done all my career and it is still great to be playing decent snooker and to be performing for them. I feel them willing me on and they know I appreciate them and have a big heart for the snooker fans.”

O’Sullivan has lost just three frames across his past four matches, keeping his focus despite an ongoing disagreement with World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

O’Sullivan suggested after his second-round win that he is “ready to go” and form a breakaway tour, clarifying afterwards it would be a “last resort”.

In response, Hearn said he is “bending over backwards for Ronnie” and his “door is always open” for a discussion about any concerns. O’Sullivan rejected the invitation as “there is no point” speaking to him.

On the table, the shock exits of Judd Trump and Ding Junhui opened a more comfortable route to the final for O’Sullivan, meaning he instead faced outsiders Martin O’Donnell and Ford.

After Ford opened the semi-final with a 68 break, O’Sullivan stamped his authority on the contest, effortlessly closing out the match.

His 122 break in the second frame took him just 15 shy of becoming the first player to make 1,000 professional centuries in the sport.

Ford said: “It is a bit bit frustrating because I felt good out there. I enjoyed playing a match that I lost because of the experience and the crowd. I felt quite relaxed.

“If someone told me I would have been in the UK semis, I would have taken it all day long.”

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