Snooker - O'Sullivan to face Selby in Masters final after win over error-strewn Maguire

Ronnie O'Sullivan will face defending champion Mark Selby for a third time in the Masters final after the world champion completed a 6-2 win over Stephen Maguire in the last four.

Snooker - O'Sullivan to face Selby in Masters final after win over error-strewn Maguire

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Ronnie O’Sullivan takes a shot during his Masters semi-final (Tai Chengzhe)

O'Sullivan won the 2009 final 10-8 before Selby returned the compliment by picking up the final four frames in a 10-9 success a year later.

Maguire contributed to his own downfall against O'Sullivan by squandering numerous chances to score among the balls at Alexandra Palace as the fans favourite progressed to a 10th final at the invitational tournament.

"I was pleased with my win. I made a nice century at the end. I played some decent stuff. I missed a few, but so did he," said O"Sullivan.

"You can get sucked in by the crowd, but you have to make sure you play the balls and focus on the game. "

O'Sullivan is bidding for a fifth Masters success, but has lost a number of finals on the final frame.

"I lost to John Higgins 10-9, Paul Hunter 10-9...Selby 10-9....I could have won this seven times, but you always get tough matches here as its is the top 16 in the sport," said O'Sullivan.

O'Sullivan called Selby 'the torturer' in his recent autobiography Running due to his 'grinding' style, but said it was all complimentary.

"I've got a lot of admiration for his game," said O'Sullivan. "Before working with (sports psychiatrist) Steve Peters, I would get frustrated if it wasn't going for you against certain players.

"It is a bit like facing Andy Murray at tennis: they make you play a lot of shots.

"Sometimes you can lose concentration. I'm the type of guy who likes to make things happen.

"I'm a lot better at handling situations now. I realised that it has nothing to do with his style of play, but more my emotional feelings that were the problems that I was triggering.

"I know sometimes that it is not going to go my way, but now I'm not looking for exit door. If I have got any frustrations, I will deal with them after the game not during it.

"I'm a lot better equipped now to deal with most players. I think that is evident over the past two or three years since working with Steve Peters.

"Any title is great. Above all I want to have a good game tomorrow, and hopefully we can both perform to a high standard."

Selby is bidding for a fourth Masters gong, and will be confident if the match goes tight. He has won all 10 of his final-frame deciders at the event, including two this year against Mark Davis and John Higgins.

"He's got a great record, but you have to lose one eventually," added O'Sullivan."To have to keep going to final frames..I'm not sure Mark will be happy to have to go to final frames. He'd probably rather be winning 10-2 or 10-3 even though it is a fantastic record to have.

"Nobody has got within five frames of me when I've won my world titles. You don't get paid for overtime in this game."

Maguire slammed in a long red before progressing to make 98 for a 1-0 lead in a one-sided semi-final, but he could not maintain his momentum as O'Sullivan picked up the next three frames with little hassle.

Maguire had opportunities, but modest contributions of 39 and 36, 73 and a couple of 40 contributions were ample as O'Sullivan moved 3-1 clear.

O'Sullivan needed three chances to win the fifth frame, but the pivotal moment again found Maguire wanting as he missed a red along the top cushion with the Englishman running in 27 to move 4-1 ahead.

Maguire was struggling badly to make any healthy breaks as O'Sullivan benefited from more Maguire wastefulness to lead 5-1 boosted by a 59 at the end of the frame.

O'Sullivan should have completed the win in the seventh frame, but he missed a blue to a centre pocket on a break of 57 as Maguire cleared with 48 to extend the contest.

O'Sullivan saved his best for last with a run of 129 completing his passage to the final.

"We played eight frames. Six out of eight frames, I was among the balls. It is my own fault tonight," said Maguire.

"I didn't expect to get as many chances after I kept missing. It seemed to be when I missed, I got another chance.

"If you don't take this one, I kept thinking..putting more pressure on myself.

"For the amount of shouts he gets, he handles the crowd phenomenally well. It is unbelievable. I don't know how he handles it, he thrives on it. Good luck to him. The crowd were great tonight, but I couldn't score heavily enough.

"Mark knows how to play him, and he's got a great record against him. Ronnie will have to improve to win it I think. Mark won't miss the balls I did."

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