Northern Ireland Open: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Mark Selby on final black to reach final

O’Sullivan dropped just four frames in five matches en route to the semi-finalsRonnie O’Sullivan held his nerve to beat world number one Mark Selby on the final black and reach the Northern Ireland Open final.O’Sullivan, ranked third in the world, led for most of the contest, only for Selby to fight back from 5-3 down and force a deciding frame.O’Sullivan then trailed in the decider but edged it 70-68 to claim a thrilling 6-5 win at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.Judd Trump defeated Eden Sharav 6-3 in Saturday’s other semi-final.Barry Hearn rejects Ronnie O’Sullivan’s ‘dictator’ claimThe Englishman raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to breaks of 54, 107 and 68 before Scottish player Sharav pulled a frame back.A 108 from Trump restored the three-frame advantage but Sharav hit back to make it 4-3.World number five Trump knocked in a 97 break to go two clear before sealing his spot in Sunday’s final.O’Sullivan, 42, had failed to get beyond the last 16 in the first two years of this tournament but arrived in good form having won the Champion of Champions event last week.He dropped just four frames in five matches en route to this year’s semi-finals, where he enjoyed frame-winning breaks of 135 and 114 before taking a 3-2 lead.The five-time world champion stretched that to 4-2 with a break of 112, before going 5-3 up, but Selby managed to draw level at 5-5.The 35-year-old three-time world champion led during the final frame only to give the initiative back to O’Sullivan, and he made it count to reach his first Northern Ireland Open final.

Between them, O’Sullivan and Selby have won five of the last seven world championships

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