Rocket goes into overdrive
O'Sullivan turns on the style to draw clear of Stevens in Sheffield
Last Updated: 04/05/12 6:22pm
Ronnie O'Sullivan: Imperious form on Friday
Ronnie O'Sullivan reeled off six straight frames to leave Matthew Stevens shell-shocked in their Betfred.com World Championship semi-final.
The three-time champion was on top form as he surged into an 11-5 lead on the back of a stunning second session on Friday.
He treated a rapt audience to breaks of 61, 62, 110, 98, 90 and 113, clicking into the form which has seen him overcome three former world champions already.
Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson had no answer to O'Sullivan's brilliance in earlier rounds, and although Stevens was briefly level having started 5-3 in arrears, trouble soon began to mount for the Welshman.
The 34-year-old Carmarthen cueman knew there was the potential for O'Sullivan to throw in a magical session, having witnessed the punishment meted out to Williams last Sunday.
He must hope now that Saturday is significantly different, because another 6-2 session in O'Sullivan's favour when they resume in the morning will see the match finish with a session to spare.
Stevens came out playing purposefully and a run to 60 gave him the opening frame, before he raised the bar with a terrific clearance of 63 in the next, after O'Sullivan had led 62-0. Showing composure under intense pressure, he cut in a difficult pink to the middle before firing in the black to take the frame by a single point.
A 62 from O'Sullivan restored the three-time champion's lead, and when Stevens played a poor safety in the next frame, striking the wrong red, in went the first century break.
The punishment was relentless. Left a long red, O'Sullivan, already armed with a 29-4 lead, drilled it in and cleared the table.
When Stevens played a swerve but missed a red over a top pocket by millimetres, the chance was devoured and another century almost followed, O'Sullivan missing a red on 90.
It took several bites to bring up the 10-5 lead, but just one to add another frame, the eighth century of O'Sullivan's championship underlining the tall order facing Stevens on Saturday.