Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Stuart Bingham
73-55, 1-82 (58), 95-0 (95), 95-0 (57), 9-87 (63), 78-16 (50)
John Higgins 4-3 Ding Junhui
66-9 (66), 2-57, 1-77 (53), 38-65 (54), 96-0 (53), 66-63, 62-20
Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-6 John Higgins
0-86 (86), 6-92 (92), 101-0 (101), 57-63, 0-136 (127), 8-94 (94), 22-64 (63)
John Higgins has become the final player into the semi-finals of the 2021 Cazoo Champion of Champions beating Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 at the Bolton Whites Hotel, University of Bolton Stadium.
O’Sullivan opened the final day of group fixtures facing Stuart Bingham for a spot in the evening battle for a semi-final space and put pay to the World No. 13 with breaks of 58, 95, 57, and 50 to secure a safe passage to face the winner of Higgins and Ding Junhui 4-2.
Ding was back at the Cazoo Champion of Champions looking to do better than going out in the group stage last year and found himself 3-1 up against Higgins before the Scotsman forced a decider to come out on top.
The Group Final started with a bang with Higgins quick out the blocks dealing a break of 86 in his first visit of the game before a break of 92 in the second frame after O’Sullivan missed what seemed to be a routine black off the spot to trail 2-0. The pair have done battle countless times and O’Sullivan bit back in the third frame with the first century of the match to be one behind the recent Northern Ireland Open and English Open runner-up.
The last frame before the interval brought some of the tightest moments of the match with Higgins fouling twice. An elongated safety battle took hold on the back of Higgins’ fouls and O’Sullivan did look to be in pole position to level up with just the colours on the table if it wasn’t for the cue ball kissing the pink. That moment put Higgins back at the table with the chance to lay a snooker of his own and force a mistake from O’Sullivan on the yellow which inevitably put Higgins 3-1 up.
Higgins had momentum on his side and continued his dominance after the interval with his first century of the tournament (127) in the fifth frame to put clear daylight in the contest. It looked to be Higgins’ day from then on as the Wizard of Wishaw made 94 in the following frame to be one away in front of a sell-out crowd in Bolton.
Things were swiftly wrapped up in the resulting frame as Higgins dealt the final blow with a break of 63 to set up another meeting with Yan Bingtao.
“It was my night really. The fourth frame was massive. We’d done three one-visit frames but then I managed to nick it to go 3-1 that was a big frame. I came in after the interval, I didn’t really miss much, and I didn’t really give him a lot of chances. Although he missed a couple that’d he’d never normally miss. I am delighted with the way I hit the ball,” said Higgins.
“The last two I have, the previous he (Yan) had the better of me. He is a brilliant young talent, brilliant young player, and brilliant young champion. Already he’s already won some big events. I feel a little bit confident in my game and hopefully, I will give him a good game on Saturday night. I think I am hitting it well. I was maybe a little too critical after my last final. Deep down you do wonder if you can get it over the weekend. I would love to give myself another chance on the weekend.”
Higgins has won the Cazoo Champion of Champions before in 2016 and has eyes on a second title: “It would feel amazing to win it. The calibre of players that we have here is the best of the best. If you can win an event like this, it’s a big feather in your cap.”
Tomorrow evening sees the first semi-final take place from 6:45 pm as World No.2 Judd Trump takes on World No.5 Kyren Wilson for a spot in the 2021 Cazoo Champion of Champions final. See where you can watch in your country right here.