Rocket books Ding semi-final

Ronnie O'Sullivan made a confident start to the defence of his Champion of Champions title in Coventry.

The holder overcame world number nine Stuart Bingham 4-2 in his opening game and then thrashed Marcu Fu 6-0 in his group final to set up a meeting with Ding Junhui in Saturday's first semi-final at the Ricoh Arena.

O'Sullivan was on fire from the beginning against Fu, who did not pot a ball until the third frame as breaks of 75 and 71 enabled his opponent to make the perfect start.

Breaks of 62 and 61 allowed O'Sullivan to turn the screw and stretch his lead to 4-0, while an increasingly dispirited Fu was shut out for a third time in the fifth frame after the champion knocked in a break of 60.

Earlier, O'Sullivan enjoyed a 95 per cent pot success rate as he came from 2-1 down to beat Bingham in a repeat of the 2013 final.

Bingham clearance

O'Sullivan's 64 break gave him the opening frame but Bingham struck back with a 107 clearance to level before producing a break of 62 in the next frame to deservedly go in front.

O'Sullivan's 83 break in the fourth levelled the match, however, and he hit a rich seam of form, highlighted by century breaks of 115 and 103 to take his career tons to 758 and edge closer to Stephen Hendry's all-time record of 775.

Fu reached the group final with a 4-1 victory over an out-of-touch Shaun Murphy.

Murphy won a scrappy opening frame 65-26 but produced a string of errors to allow his opponent to draw level and Fu then came up with breaks of 46 and 31 to go ahead before sealing victory with further breaks of 56 and 80.

However, he was subsequently to prove no match for an inspired O'Sullivan.

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