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World Snooker Championship 2022: Six-time champion Ronnie OSullivan seals semi-final place

Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April-2 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app

John Higgins beat Jack Lisowski in a tense final-frame decider to set up a meeting with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals of the World Championship.

Four-time winner Higgins made superb breaks of 105 and 72 as he recovered from 12-11 down to win 13-12.

Six-time champion O’Sullivan had earlier claimed a comfortable 13-5 win over Stephen Maguire at the Crucible.

World number one O’Sullivan has now reached 13 Crucible semi-finals, one more than Stephen Hendry.

Scotland’s Higgins had resumed with a narrow 8-7 advantage over Lisowski and made three half-century breaks as he went 10-8 and 11-9 in front.

But unlike their previous meeting at the Crucible in 2018, in which Higgins thrashed Lisowksi 13-1, he struggled to shake off the Englishman.

Lisowski, who is yet to win a ranking title, repeatedly punished some uncharacteristically loose play from the Scot, drawing level with a run of 79.

And a fortunate snooker on the green allowed Liswoski to clear the remaining colours as he edged ahead at 12-11 for the first time since the first frame.

However, that jolted a lacklustre Higgins into his best form of the match as he delivered two wonderful breaks under pressure, with his second coming after Lisowski missed a red to the corner pocket.

“I was shocked by the standard I produced all day,” Higgins said. “I don’t know how I won when I went 12-11 behind. I just wanted Jack to put me out of my misery. I was sat there thinking I would be watching him against Ronnie.

“I don’t think I deserved to win but my emotions are that I am delighted to be through.”

On facing O’Sullivan in the semi-finals, he added: “It’s why you play this game, to have a chance of having a crack at Ronnie on a one-table set-up.

“He is chasing Hendry’s seven titles so it is a massive game for him but I am chasing my fifth, [Mark] Williams is chasing his fourth, Judd [Trump] is after his second, so we have all got something to aim for.”

O’Sullivan stays on course for landmark title

O’Sullivan is now just two victories away from a seventh Crucible crown in the modern era, equalling a record held by Hendry since 1999.

After running away with the first two sessions of the match, Wednesday morning’s conclusion proved a formality for ‘The Rocket’, who, having led 11-5 overnight, compiled breaks of 71 and 126 to seal victory in 20 minutes.

“I stayed focused and tried everything. There is a toolbox, you try and use everything in there and play your own game,” O’Sullivan said.

“I’d rather not be playing here because it is a hard tournament. I’ve always said that this and the Masters are my two worst tournaments.

“I actually prefer going to Leicester to play in the Championship League, but you kind of have to show up to this one and give this one your best.”

While O’Sullivan described his performance as “workmanlike”, Maguire, who came through qualifying, was left to rue missed opportunities in the first two sessions of the match.

“I didn’t lose it in the first session because you can come back from 6-2, but last night the game was finished,” Maguire said.

“I wish it had ended last night. I don’t like getting beat. It hurts.”

‘He is supreme in all departments’ – analysis

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry on BBC Two

I am struggling to see anyone who can compete with Ronnie because he is supreme in all departments.

He looks focused, he is scoring when he gets in. It will take something to beat him.

It would be an honour for me to share seven titles with him because he has taken it to a new level.

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