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O'Sullivan and Ding to meet in Welsh Open final

ESPN staff
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Ronnie O'Sullivan was in fine form to see off Barry Hawkins © Getty Images
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Ronnie O'Sullivan produced a spellbinding performance to defeat Barry Hawkins 6-2 and set up a Welsh Open final with Ding Junhui, who earlier enjoyed a 6-4 victory over Joe Perry in Newport.

Hawnkins took the opening frame with a fine 102 break but O'Sullivan levelled with a 67 before establishing the lead with a brilliant visit of 114.

Hawkins was unlucky to knock in the green when attempting to get out of a snooker, which allowed O'Sullivan to take a 3-1 lead into the interval.

A fabulous 124 then made it 4-1 to O'Sullivan and from that point there was no stopping him; with Hawkins 64 points ahead in the sixth frame, O'Sullivan produced a crucial 65 clearance to move him within one frame of the final.

Hawkins hit back with a 67 to reduce the deficit, but O'Sullivan sealed victory in superb fashion - this time knocking in a 103 to set up a clash with Ding.

Earlier on Saturday, Ding made an impressive 118 clearance to book his place in the with a 6-4 victory over Perry.

Ding is aiming for a fifth ranking title of the season, which would see him equal Stephen Hendry's record haul which was set in the 1990-91 season.

Perry took the opening frame at the Newport Centre with a 59 break but Ding hit back in a scrappy second frame to level. A fine break of 114 saw Ding move ahead before Perry missed a difficult brown in the fourth which would have seen him level the score. Nevertheless, Ding took a 3-1 lead into the interval.

Perry edged the fifth frame and then moved level following an impressive 73, but Ding hit back with breaks of 88 and 55 to move within a frame of the final.

A 69 visit helped Perry reduce the deficit to one frame, but Ding cleared up a brilliant 118 for victory and tie against O'Sullivan in Sunday's final.

"I don't know what happened with my white ball control - it always causes me trouble," Ding told worldsnooker.com. "In the last frame the black was on the spot but I had to take the yellow or green because I lost position.

"I think I need to do better tomorrow. I am confident because I have won a lot of matches this season. I don't feel too much pressure when the scoreline is close - I can handle it. From the start of the season at the Shanghai Masters I felt more confident. I don't normally play well in China, but since I won in Shanghai I have just kept winning.

"The dream final would be with Ronnie. I enjoy playing Ronnie but have not had the chance because I've lost early in tournaments or he has not been there, so this is the best time."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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