May 2 2012
Any lingering doubts that Ronnie O'Sullivan might not have the form or the temperament to land a fourth Betfred.com World Championship title have been emphatically dispelled.
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 the age of 36 years and three months, O'Sullivan would become the oldest world champion since 45-year-old Ray Reardon triumphed aged 45 in 1978 should he win on Monday.
Matthew Stevens 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.
But if O'Sullivan produces the form he showed in the afternoon and evening sessions, the man from Carmarthen will surely be denied a third appearance in the final.
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 Robertson gifted O'Sullivan 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.
After pulling it back to 12-9 Robertson's hopes were soon snuffed out, with O'Sullivan rattling through another high-speed break, this time a 59, to make victory safe.