Ronnie O’Sullivan admitted he was surprised with the “easy” nature of his victory as he demolished Shaun Murphy to reach the semi-finals of the Dafabet World Snooker Championship on Wednesday.
The defending champion completed a 13-3 win with a session to spare as he capitalised on a host of mistakes from his opponent and will go on to face Barry Hawkins or Dominic Dale in the last four.
“You just never know what type of match you’re going to get,” O’Sullivan told BBC Two.
“You can expect a really tough match and it turn out easy like it did with Shaun. I didn’t expect to win it that easy to be fair. He’s a free-scoring great potter.
“He just missed a few balls and let me in quite easily. I still had to pot them but I didn’t have to fight for my chances.”
O’Sullivan claimed seven of the eight frames on Wednesday after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to lead 6-2 overnight.
The five-time champion added the opening two in the morning to stretch his advantage before Murphy got a frame back in the 11th but O’Sullivan followed that with a break of 118 to take a 9-3 lead into the mid-session interval.
The restart was delayed for a short while due to a problem with the scoreboard and when play resumed O’Sullivan made a break of 59 before giving Murphy a glimmer of hope.
Murphy looked to be heading for a rare frame success but missed a routine pink and O’Sullivan gratefully took the opportunity to extend his lead further.
A missed green off the spot in the next frame summed up Murphy’s performance as five-time champion O’Sullivan again capitalised, closing out a comprehensive victory with the minimum of fuss.
Six-time Crucible victor Steve Davis claimed Murphy had let an opportunity slip through his fingers after the match, saying: “At two-nil Ronnie looked very shaky. He played a great snooker that Shaun failed to get out of, and from then the whole game swung around and Shaun effectively collapsed.”
But Murphy insisted that was not the case and he was just the latest victim of O’Sullivan’s brilliance.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge,” said Murphy. “Nobody has beaten him here for nearly three years and I don’t think there’s a player in the game he hasn’t done that to at some stage. Maybe I was due a good smashing up.
“(It’s) very tough to take. I did have my chances in the game but all credit to Ronnie, when he got his chances he was very clinical and that’s why he’s the best.”
On the other table, Mark Selby also breezed through to the semi-finals after claiming the one remaining frame he needed against Alan McManus.
The Leicester cueman came into the session with a commanding 12-4 lead and veteran McManus won the opening frame with a break of 69 to extend the contest.
The Scot was among the balls again early in the 18th frame before losing position on 20, opening the door for Selby.
A missed red to the middle from the 2007 finalist allowed McManus back to the table. He could not take advantage, though, and Selby closed out a 13-5 win to advance to a semi-final against either Judd Trump or Neil Robertson.
“I think it was four years since I was in the semi-final before so it seems like forever with so many tournaments now during the season,” Selby told BBC Two. “I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to get out there.”