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Chigwell's Ronnie O'Sullivan to play Mark Selby in the Masters final after beating Stephen Maguire 6-2
Updated 11:13am Sunday 19th January 2014 in Latest Sport
Chigwell's Ronnie O'Sullivan will play defending champion Mark Selby in the final of the Masters at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
O'Sullivan was not at his free-flowing best in his match against Stephen Maguire - but a century break in the final frame proved popular with the 38-year-old's fans as he finished with a flourish.
Maguire calmed early nerves with a testing early red which opened the door to a 98 clearance that gave him the first frame.
The 32-year-old had a chance to take the second frame but paid for poor position after potting a pink into the middle, and breaks of 39 and 36 enabled O'Sullivan to level the match.
Maguire fluked a red early in the third frame but 'The Rocket' took it with a break of 73 - and it was 3-1 at the mid-session interval courtesy of a knock of 40.
The lead was extended to 4-1 as O'Sullivan won a scrappy fifth frame, with Maguire paying for missing a black and pink off the spot.
A break of 59 moved the world number 24 to within a frame of victory - and he had success in his sights, only to miss a straightforward blue into the middle. Maguire cleared up with a 48 to reduce the deficit to 5-2.
However, O'Sullivan replicated the form he showed in his quarter-final drubbing of Ricky Walden in the eighth frame, closing out the contest with an impressive break of 129.
Earlier, Selby had booked his place in the final with a convincing 6-1 defeat of Shaun Murphy.
Selby made a strong start with breaks of 86 and 104 clinching the first two frames, and it soon became 3-0 after Murphy had missed a red along the top cushion.
A clearance of 62 made it 4-0 after Murphy had slipped up attempting a challenging pink - and when Selby edged a scrappy fifth frame the 30-year-old was on course for a satisfying whitewash.
Although Murphy stopped the rot, taking the sixth frame 59-15, there was to be no comeback as Selby closed the door in the next frame, which he took 76-24.