Masters 2024: Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Barry Hawkins 6-3 to reach the Masters semis

Masters 2024: Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Barry Hawkins 6-3 to reach the Masters semis

  • By Neil Goulding
  • BBC Sport

Image source, Getty Images

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Ronnie O’Sullivan is chasing his first Masters crown since 2017

Location: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: January 7-14

Access: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; The final articles close on Sunday 14 January.

Ronnie O’Sullivan called himself “bad” despite beating Barry Hawkins 6-3 to retain his record eighth Masters title.

O’Sullivan rallied from 3-2 down to book a place in his 15th Masters semifinal at Alexandra Palace.

Hawkins started well, but O’Sullivan finished strongly and will play Shaun Murphy on Saturday (13.00 GMT) after beating Jack Lisowski 6-3.

“I’m lucky,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.

“I felt sorry for Barry – I just dragged him to my level. It’s a funny old game.

“I’ve never felt any pressure to be honest. Maybe that’s why I played the way I did. I think sometimes you need pressure to stay motivated.”

O’Sullivan won the opening round with a break of 88, but Hawkins, a two-time winner of the Masters final, responded with 74, 56 and 47 to take a 3-2 lead shortly after.

However, the left-hander missed the chance to go ahead and O’Sullivan, who has not won the title for seven years, made a wild save to go ahead.

A perfect break of 77 and 60 saw him close out the tournament in style as he moved within two wins of the £250,000 first prize.

“It’s the worst level of snooker,” added O’Sullivan. “I just said to Barry at the end: ‘Sorry mate.’

“I have this experience with other players where I play badly, then they play very badly.

“Some guys will punish me, but I’ve been through it all my life.”

Hawkins was beaten 10-1 by O’Sullivan when the two met in the 2017 Masters final and had not beaten him since the 2016 world championships in Sheffield.

His streak of three wins in 20 meetings between the pair didn’t go his way – and it looked as though O’Sullivan, unbeaten, had registered yet another win.

“I let him [Ronnie] off the hook — I had enough luck,” Hawkins said.

“For some reason your mind wanders when you play Ronnie. I have no complaints.”

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The Masters: Ronnie O’Sullivan explains why he apologized after beating Barry Hawkins

Analysis – O’Sullivan will feel he has ‘let people down’

Three-time Masters champion Steve Davis speaks on BBC Two

It seems, at times, Ronnie gets into an area where he doesn’t want to play smart, so he tends to be more aggressive.

In the end he did a good job. I always feel like Ronnie wants to entertain, but I don’t think that’s the most important thing.

He’ll feel like he let people down, but he got the job done in the end – and that’s all that matters.

But Barry Hawkins returns to his dressing room and says: “I had a lot of chances – and I wasted them all.”

Murphy was a strong inspiration for Lisowski

Murphy, the 2015 Masters champion, showed his experience as he beat Lisowski in commanding fashion to reach the final in four years.

Breaks of 75, 131 and 76 allowed Murphy to take a 3-1 lead into the session.

A second century of the evening, this time 123, helped make it 5-1 as the former world champion moved to within one victory.

Lisowski, who reached last season’s Masters final, rallied to win the next two frames.

However, Murphy held on as he secured his spot in the sixth Masters semifinal.

“You never feel safe with Jack because he is so talented,” Murphy told BBC Sport.

“When you play in front of people like this, don’t you feel good?”

A disappointed Lisowski said: “It didn’t feel right, but I just kept going. Shaun finished strong.”

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