UK Championship 2017: Ronnie O'Sullivan to face Shaun Murphy in final
|2017 UK Championship|
|Date: 28 Nov-10 Dec Venue: York Barbican|
|Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.|
Five-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan set up an intriguing contest against Shaun Murphy by reaching his seventh UK Championship final.
The two Englishmen have not seen eye-to-eye during their careers and Murphy beat O'Sullivan at last month's invitational Champion of Champions event.
O'Sullivan held off a semi-final fightback from Stephen Maguire to progress 6-4, while Murphy was in fine form as he defeated Ryan Day 6-3.
Sunday's best-of-19 final starts at 13:00 GMT and concludes from 19:00, live on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website.
A grudge match?
Back in 2011, Murphy called opponent O'Sullivan "pathetic, offensive and unprofessional" after he initially refused to pot the final black on a 147 break because of the "disappointing" £4,000 on offer for the maximum.
Nottingham's Murphy, though, apologised for comments he has made about O'Sullivan in the past after triumphing in Coventry in November.
O'Sullivan, 42, responded on Saturday by saying: "There has never been anything between me and Shaun, I have never had a problem with him.
"I don't care what anyone thinks about me on the tour. There are some nice guys who are cool but for the majority, I don't care what they think.
"I am here to do a job, here to play, I know I am a nice guy, there are no issues."
Murphy told BBC Sport: "I apologised after winning the Champion of Champions because I've been very critical of Ronnie over the years.
"Having witnessed what he has to go through, how he carries himself and the sport, I think it's been wrong of me to do that, and I've tried to give that a miss."
'Positive mental attitude' helps O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan is aiming to equal Steve Davis' haul of six UK titles and victory would also draw him level with Stephen Hendry's 18 'Triple Crown' triumphs in the BBC's World, UK and Masters events.
Beaten in last year's final by Mark Selby, O'Sullivan looked in ominous form early on, opening up a 4-0 lead with breaks of 61, 54 and 64.
Maguire made 91 and 129 as he cut the deficit to 5-4, but O'Sullivan - who had a 111 clearance - edged through.
O'Sullivan said he has had to "battle and battle" for form this year, and feels he has yet to hit the heights of 12 months ago despite that final loss to Selby.
"You have to tough it out sometimes," added O'Sullivan.
"There is no player in the game who can play badly and win apart from Mark Selby, he is the only guy. This week I have not been at my best but I have dug in and it is all down to positive mental attitude.
"For me, Selby is in his prime. He has not done well in this tournament but he has won a title this season. He is definitely the best player in the world and I am able to give him a game on my day.
"It is about consistency and he has had that over the last few years."
World number one Selby was knocked out in the second round in York by Scotland's Scott Donaldson.
Murphy ready to face 'irresistible force'
Sunday's final at the Barbican Centre will feature two of this season's form players.
It will be O'Sullivan's third ranking final of an outstanding season, having already claimed the English Open and Shanghai Masters, as well as finishing runner-up in two invitational events.
Murphy, 35, has been defeated in two ranking finals this season - the China Championship and Paul Hunter Classic.
"I have never played him a in Triple Crown final so it is extra special," Murphy said of facing O'Sullivan.
"It is a dream come true to play the best player of all time in a major final. I have watched plenty of them on TV so I cannot wait to get out there.
"I have beaten him in finals before, but the majors are slightly better. I will be up against someone who has been there done it before and is the greatest.
"He is like an irresistible force, he just keeps coming. I love watching him play and all the players do as well. The way he goes about snooker is the best we have ever seen."
Against Day, Murphy was close to his fluent best, stroking in two centuries and further breaks of 89 and 73. At one stage, the Welshman was left to sit and watch as his opponent racked up 308 points without reply.
Day did respond with a magnificent 128 clearance, but Murphy's 59 put him through to his third UK final.
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