Imperious O'Sullivan marches into Welsh Open final

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Ronnie O'Sullivan closed in on a record-equalling fourth Welsh Open title by beating Joe Perry 6-3 in the semi-finals.

O'Sullivan will now meet Neil Robertson for the trophy and ?60,000 first prize at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on Sunday.

Five-time world champion O'Sullivan already has three Welsh crowns to his name and victory would see him match the record of four held by John Higgins.

The top prize would also make O'Sullivan eligible to enter next month's World Grand Prix in Llandudno.

After taking a break from competitive snooker for the first few months of the season, O'Sullivan has been nearly flawless in 2016, winning his last 18 matches.

He captured the Masters crown in January and now stands on the brink of his 28th ranking title, which would match the tallies of Higgins and Steve Davis.

Perry had chances in the opening frame, but when he missed the penultimate red O'Sullivan stepped in with a 41 clearance to snatch it.

The players then had to take an unscheduled interval due to a technical problem backstage which prevented television broadcast of the early stages.

Once the cameras were rolling, Perry warmed up with an excellent 139 clearance to level.

O'Sullivan regained the lead with a 124 before Perry squared with a run of 92.

But he could do little against a barrage of high scoring after the interval as O'Sullivan fired in 101, 94 and 88 breaks to go 5-2 ahead.

Perry capitalised to pull one back, but O'Sullivan cracked in a long red and cleared with 78 to book his place in the final.

"In the past three or four years I have been expressing myself and produced the same type of snooker I played when I was 14 or 15," O'Sullivan told

"Now it's about my legacy and leaving a mark on the game. Not so much in terms of titles, but in the way that I play. I like to think I've played snooker that no one else has.

"The matches are getting harder but I felt I scored well tonight.

" Neil is like RoboCop. I watched him throughout the UK Championship and he never showed any emotion.

"He's like Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry in that respect."

At least Perry had the consolation of becoming the first player this week to win more than one frame against O'Sullivan, who has now made nine centuries in winning 27 of the 33 frames he has contested in Cardiff.

Robertson had earlier stayed on course for his third title in four months by beating Mark Allen 6-4.

The 34-year-old Australian won the Champion of Champions in November and the UK Championship in December, and is now just one win away from what would be his second Welsh Open crown and 12th ranking title of his career.

The match turned on an incident in the third frame when Allen accidentally fouled when set to go 3-0 up, and Robertson took advantage to win six of the last eight frames.

Allen was on 56 when he potted a red with the rest, and referee Terry Camilleri called a foul as he felt the Northern Irishman Allen had grazed another red with his cue.

A video replay proved that the referee was right and Robertson took advantage to keep alive his hopes of repeating his 2007 Welsh Open triumph.

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