So close! – O'Sullivan edges thrilling Northern Ireland Open semi

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan held his nerve to beat world number one Mark Selby on the final black and reach the Northern Ireland Open final.

O’Sullivan, ranked third in the world, led for most of the contest, only for Selby to fight back from 5-3 down and force a deciding frame.

O’Sullivan then trailed in the decider but edged it 70-68 to claim a thrilling 6-5 win at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Judd Trump will play Eden Sharav in Saturday’s other semi-final.

O’Sullivan, 42, had failed to get beyond the last 16 in the first two years of this tournament but arrived in good form having won the Champion of Champions event last week.

He dropped just four frames in five matches en route to this year’s semi-finals, where he enjoyed frame-winning breaks of 135 and 114 before taking a 3-2 lead.

The five-time world champion stretched that to 4-2 with a break of 112, before going 5-3 up, but Selby managed to draw level at 5-5.

The 35-year-old three-time world champion led during the final frame only to give the initiative back to O’Sullivan, and he made it count to reach his first Northern Ireland Open final.

Stephen Hendry tweet saying O'Sullivan and Selby are "the two best players in the game"

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BBC Sport – Snooker

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