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

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport at the York Barbican
Betway UK Championship
Venue: York Barbican Dates: 27 November-9 December
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 1 December.

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 Masters champion Mark Allen, who came from behind to beat Stuart Bingham 6-5.

Although he made breaks of 99 and 104, Northern Irishman Allen, 32, fell 4-2 behind to former world champion Bingham before responding magnificently.

Three frames in a row, including two breaks of 54, helped him turn the match around to lead 5-4, but England's Bingham forced a decider.

A dramatic 11th frame saw Bingham inadvertently pot the cue ball twice as Allen's 64 sent him through.

Bingham said: "I was in the balls at 4-2 and my mum would have made it 5-2. There was a bit of tension in the arm so when you don't take your chance, the game kicks you up the backside."

Allen said facing O'Sullivan "on the biggest stage" would be a "special day", having been runner up to Judd Trump in York in 2011.

He added: "I have not been at my best but I am into the UK final and will have to be near my best on Sunday.

"I have nothing to fear, only my own performances worry me. Grit and determination has got me through this week."

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Since the start of the 2014 event, five-time world champion O'Sullivan has won 26 of his 27 matches in York, with his defeat in the 2016 final by Mark Selby the only blot on his record.

Victory on Sunday would take 'The Rocket' to a record 19 tournament wins in BBC 'Triple Crown' events - the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.

O'Sullivan said: "If it does not happen this year then maybe the year after, there is still plenty of time.

"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 me 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 only 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 later that 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 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.

His 122 break in the second frame leaves him 15 short of becoming the first player to make 1,000 professional centuries.

Ford said: "It is a 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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