Ronnie O’Sullivan described his 6-4 win over Marco Fu as his “best ever” as he recovered from a damaged cue tip to reach the final of the Dafabet Masters.

Crowd favourite O’Sullivan is into his 12th Masters final and is aiming for his seventh title, which would put him ahead of the record of six he shares with Stephen Hendry. The Rocket will face Barry Hawkins or Joe Perry over 19 frames on Sunday with the winner to bank £200,000. O’Sullivan is also trying to defend the title having thrashed Hawkins 10-1 in last year’s final.

The 41-year-old from Chigwell is into his fourth final of the season – though he has lost oll three so far and is hoping to land his first silverware since the Welsh Open 11 months ago.

Hong Kong’s Fu who won last month’s Scottish Open, took the opening frame today with a break of 89, and had chances in the second but O’Sullivan snatched it by clearing from the penultimate red.

Fu regained the lead with a run of 110 then the mid-session interval was called early because O’Sullivan’s cue tip was damaged. Referee Paul Collier put a new tip on backstage, and the contest resumed.

Many players might have struggled to get used to a new tip quickly, but having had just a few shots on a practice table, O’Sullivan was immediately into a scoring groove as a break of 95 made it 2-2.

The big breaks continued to flow as Fu made a 141 – the new front-runner for the £10,000 high break prize – then O’Sullivan responded with 122 for 3-3. World number 13 O’Sullivan had first chance in frame seven but missed the black off its spot on 47 and his opponent cleared superbly with 83.

O’Sullivan started frame eight with a run of 55, then Fu had a chance to clear but made just 6 before missing a red to a top corner with the rest. O’Sullivan capitalised with 63 for 4-4. And that proved the turning point as he swept through the last two frames with breaks of 82 and 69.

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