Ronnie O'Sullivan in 12th Masters final to play Joe Perry

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Best five shots as O'Sullivan reaches final
Dafabet Masters 2017 - final
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Date: Sunday, 22 January
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Connected TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website and app from 13:00 GMT

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan overcame a split cue tip to reach his 12th Masters final with a 6-4 win over Marco Fu at Alexandra Palace in London.

Fu hit 110 to lead 2-1 before O'Sullivan needed to repair his cue.

The next four frames were shared with O'Sullivan knocking in breaks of 95 and 122 while Hong Kong's Fu hit 141, the highest of the tournament, and 89.

O'Sullivan won the last three frames and will play Joe Perry in Sunday's final after he beat Barry Hawkins 6-5.

"It is probably the best match I have won, given the circumstances," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport.

"The tip was gone, completely gone. It just couldn't take any chalk. I mis-cued five or six times. It was like chalking a bit of slate.

"I was going to wait for the interval but it was so gone and they said 'look, you can take the interval now' and that was sweet."

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Fu fires in a 141 break against O'Sullivan

The interval normally comes after four frames, but tournament officials allowed the Englishman to fix his cue after frame three.

"I had my cue tip over a kettle because the steam softens it up but it had no effect. I just could not play any shots, I had no touch or feel, so I had to put a new tip on. I was lucky it was a decent tip," he said.

The new tip seemed to galvanise him as he made frame-winning contributions at every opportunity following the interval, knocking in four half centuries in the last three frames.

"If you're playing well you can get away with a new tip. If you're cueing badly and you put a new tip on, it's over," said O'Sullivan.

"I fancied the job. Even with a new tip. I thought 'if I can get a feel of it'."

Fu, runner-up in 2011, added: "It is better to lose like this than for me to collapse and miss easy shots with regret. If he plays like that in the end, you can't do anything. I am not too upset about it. It is just a joy to be involved in a match like this."

O'Sullivan, who has been beaten in three finals this season, is aiming to win the Masters for a record seventh time but when he was told he was in his 12th final, he replied: "I've only won six though so it's not a very good strike record is it?"

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Five great shots as Perry stuns Hawkins

Perry reaches first Masters final

Perry was trailing 5-2 in his semi-final against last year's runner-up Barry Hawkins but won the eighth frame despite needing a snooker.

He followed that up by winning the next three, including a break of 70 in the decider, to take the match.

Perry said: "I really can't believe it. When Barry potted the ball to leave me a snooker, I was thinking about what to say to him and wish him all the best for Sunday. This game is mad, it never ceases to amaze.

"It is the best win of my career. I have to go out against O'Sullivan and play to the best of my ability. You don't know what can happen. From the go, I will go out there to win and not just enjoy the occasion."

Hawkins said: "I am devastated. After the eighth frame he started playing better and made an unbelievable break in that last frame."

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Is Perry's escape 'better than a 147'?

Analysis

Three-time Masters champion Steve Davis on BBC TV

Marco knows how good a performance has beaten him. You can only be admiring of that.

We have seen Ronnie O'Sullivan produce something special on a number of occasions but from the adversity of having to change his tip halfway through, against a player who was playing so well, that is just a magnificent performance.

Ronnie has to be very proud of himself.

Frame scores

Marco Fu (HK) 4-6 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng)

99-1 (89), 52-83, 111-0 (110), 4-95 (95), 141-0 (141), 0-122 (122), 83-47 (83), 7-118 (55 & 63), 1-128 (82), 0-70 (69)

Joe Perry (Eng) 6-5 Barry Hawkins (Eng)

73-51 (Hawkins 51), 0-77 (77), 86-38, 0-85 (58), 0-98 (53), 40-61, 61-81, 73-64 (Hawkins 58), 75-41 (57), 63-8 (62), 76-50 (70)

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