Masters Snooker 2019: Ronnie O'Sullivan to face Ding Junhui in last four
Seven-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan reached the semi-finals of the Masters with a 6-3 win over Ryan Day.
O'Sullivan was in high scoring form, stroking in six breaks over 60, including a 119, to advance to the last four for the 14th time.
Although Welshman Day briefly led at 2-1 and made runs of 54, 68 and 77 in the match, he could not keep pace.
O'Sullivan faces China's Ding Junhui next after he beat Belgium's Luca Brecel 6-5, despite forfeiting a frame.
Both players were in excellent form, Ding making two centuries and further breaks of 64, 57 and 65 in the 11th, while Brecel - who had chances in the decider - contributed 87, 74 and 63.
Why did Ding forfeit a frame?
Brecel was 35-0 up in the ninth frame and played a safety up into the baulk area. Ding could easily have played a containing safety by rolling up to a red on the black cushion.
Instead, he attempted to play off the side cushion to rest on a red and, having missed twice, was warned by the referee that he needed to hit it on his third attempt.
Taking the same route, Ding missed again and forfeited the frame as he was not in a snooker and could directly hit a red full ball.
Ding said: "I thought a lot of how to play it and felt this was the best shot to play. Maybe I was too confident that I was going to hit it."
Despite falling 5-4 behind, Ding took the last two frames to edge through.
He added: "It is a big test next and playing Ronnie is always special. You have to put everything into it, it is good for me as I want to play the best players."
'I'd rather be in a hotel than at home'
O'Sullivan already has more Masters titles than any other player and has an incomparable semi-final record, losing just once on his previous 13 appearances in the last four.
Buoyed by a raucous crowd at his home event at Alexandra Palace in London, O'Sullivan compiled breaks of 68, 74, 65, 78 and 92, as well as his 989th career century as he aims to be become the first player to the 1,000 milestone.
The eighth frame proved to be crucial. Day was looking to level at 4-4 and led by 66 points but a poor safety let O'Sullivan in and he compiled a superb 78 clearance to clinch the frame, with the match following shortly after.
O'Sullivan won the UK Championship in York last month to take his record to 19 Triple Crown event victories - more than any other player.
The five-time world champion told Eurosport: "Too much is made of the Triple Crowns, they are all important. Give me any tournament, I'll take it."
Asked about playing in London he added: "I'd rather be in a hotel [than staying at home]. You get someone to cook your food and make your bed. Newspapers are always there at breakfast. I like the life in hotels.
"I believe if I play OK to a certain level I have a good chance against anybody but if I don't perform anybody can beat me.
"Mark Selby is going to have a really tough match against Judd Trump [in their quarter-final], probably the match of the tournament. The pressure can get a bit much at times, sometimes this [being in the commentary box] is the easier option."