Masters Snooker: Judd Trump beats Ronnie O' Sullivan

Judd Trump reached the semi-finals of the Masters after a 6-2 victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan at Alexandra Palace.

Trump, 22, fired a tremendous 140 break and raced 4-0 ahead at the interval.

O'Sullivan won two of the next three frames, including a 141 clearance, the highest of the tournament so far but Trump sealed victory with a smooth 65.

World champion John Higgins recorded five half-century breaks plus a 109 to beat Graeme Dott 6-3 and will play Mark Selby or Shaun Murphy in the last four.

Trump, who will face an all left-handed clash against Neil Robertson or Mark Williams on Saturday, came into the tournament as UK champion, having beaten Mark Allen 10-8 in last month's final.

And the man from Bristol said he felt the result was never in doubt.

"I came into the tournament full of confidence thinking I can win it and all the other players want to beat me," he said.

"I didn't miss many balls [although] I got a little impatient towards the end to try and get over the winning line, but Ronnie had the crowd on his side.

"He has done what few in the game have done and I look up to him."

Three-time world champion O'Sullivan reciprocated the praise, saying of Trump: "Judd scored heavily and played a fantastic match. He put in some good breaks under pressure.

"All you can do is sit there and hope for your chance but it's difficult to stop someone with so much confidence.

"I couldn't give any more out there and he played better on the day."

A nervous opening frame saw both players miss opportunities, with O'Sullivan failing to sink an easy cut on the black off its spot. He was duly punished by his opponent who knocked in a break of 39 to clinch the frame.

O'Sullivan found himself snookered from the break-off in frame two and missed the reds, leaving world number five Judd a free-ball, from which a 66 break gave him the frame.

With play proceeding at a frantic pace and Trump taking every chance that came his way, he was soon 3-0 ahead and the 22-year-old looked a picture of composure as he notched a tournament highest-break 140 in the fourth.

O'Sullivan's 67 in the next got him on the board, and preserved his record of never having been whitewashed at the Masters.

Trump, who also defeated O'Sullivan at the UK Championship last month, emerged victorious from a tactical battle in the sixth frame to lead 5-1 but his opponent was not going down without a fight, and was cheered on by the boisterous London crowd as he stroked in a 141 clearance, snatching the tournament's highest break from Trump by a single point.

But he broke down on 54 in the next frame and Trump held his nerve with a 65 break go through.

Dott took the opening frame against Higgins on the black, calmly clearing the table with a break of 46 - which proved to be his highest of the match - after a fluked red into the centre pocket when escaping from a snooker.

Higgins levelled and then went ahead after a remarkable incident midway through the third frame when referee Jan Verhaas stopped Dott in the middle of a break to check a monitor regarding an earlier foul.

Dott then missed his next shot and Higgins cleared with a break of 52.

A run of 41 from Dott made it all-square at the interval, but sizeable breaks in the next three frames put Higgins in command at 5-2.

Dott kept the match alive by winning a scrappy eighth frame, snookering his opponent on the yellow and clearing to the pink, but Higgins wrapped things up with an assured 89.

"Luckily for me Graeme didn't really turn up tonight," said Higgins, yet to win a tournament this season. "He started well but I won the third frame to make it 2-1 so that was probably a turning point.

"You hope to play your way into the tournament. It was decent stuff, but Graeme didn't play anything like the way he can play which was good for me.

"You could probably have looked at the four quarter-finals and you could have tossed a coin for all four of them, that's what I felt. I'm through, Judd's through, and it wouldn't surprise you whoever came through the other two. It's going to be a great weekend I'm sure, with two good semi-finals.

"The crowds have been great this week, they really understand the game. The venue is more intimate, it's a little more gladiatorial, that's what I like."