Rocket 'on fire' in Masters show

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Ronnie O'Sullivan is through to the semi-finals Ronnie O'Sullivan is through to the semi-finals

Ronnie O'Sullivan produced a flawless display to beat Ricky Walden 6-0 in under an hour and reach the Masters semi-finals.

Most remarkably, after Walden had led in the opener after a break of 38, O'Sullivan's frame-winning reply of 79 started a run of 556 points without reply.

That break was sparked by a superb opening red from distance and he followed it up with 88 in the second frame and 72 in the third, the latter after Walden attempted to escape from a snooker and hit the pink.

The frame before the interval was the best of the bunch, a 134 total clearance ensuring an emphatic 4-0 advantage.

And there was no let-up upon the resumption, with 77 to win the first frame back and 56 and 39 in the next to get over the line.

With typical understatement, O'Sullivan told BBC2: "I scored well, I potted some long ones for a change and my safety was okay with a few snookers."

Former world champion turned pundit Ken Doherty described it as "one of the best displays the crowd will have seen here" and sympathised with the outclassed Walden, who scored 39 of the first 40 points but nothing thereafter.

But O'Sullivan said: "That's snooker. I've had it numerous times, when you just sit there as a passenger.

"It can be embarrassing but at some point you just go 'well, this guy's on fire', and it's good to watch sometimes."

O'Sullivan's run of unanswered points was a record for any professional tournament, and a bewildered Walden later told BBC2: "That's the first time I've ever felt absolutely helpless on a snooker table.

"I scored about 35 points in the first frame then never saw another ball, really."

Ding Junhui held the previous record with 495 points without reply, against Stephen Hendry in the 2007 Premier League.

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