Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is not John Higgins’ biggest threat to future success as the Scot beat the six-time world champion 6-1 at the Champion of Champions.
The win for Higgins saw him set up a semi-final showdown with Yan Bingtao. The resounding victory comes just a matter of weeks after the 46-year-old said he could no longer compete at the highest level following his English Open final defeat against Neil Robertson.
O’Sullivan showered his opponent with praise after their clash, saying the Scot was too good on the night, but added that it was now younger players – such as Yan – rather than himself that provided a greater threat to Higgins adding further titles to his already impressive haul.
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"He was too good, and I didn't do enough when I had chances," said O'Sullivan.
I was missing so many balls.
"He always seems to play good stuff against me. I know I need to be at my best, and I wasn't tonight. I missed a few opportunities, but I don't think I was cueing well enough tonight,” added O’Sullivan.
The six-time world champion was asked whether he thought Higgins could win more titles after the Scot claimed he had “not really got it at this level” after his defeat to Robertson earlier in November.
"You'd think so, but it's going to be a different game against Yan,” added O’Sullivan.
It's the younger ones that have got nothing to lose, they're the hard games. It's not me he's got to worry about, it's the others. He's got to do it against them if he's going to start winning titles.
Higgins also addressed his comments, saying that perhaps they were made in the heat of the moment.
"Maybe half heat of the moment, half belief," he began after his win. "You're disappointed (to lose tight finals). Come back here, beat Ding, and then going against Ronnie, I'm delighted.
I feel 10 times better (than in the spring). (Weight loss) has helped me mentally, although the two final defeats wouldn't suggest that! I'm feeling good about my game just now.
Higgins will face Yan from 19:00 GMT on Saturday for a spot in Sunday’s showpiece, where the winner will face either Judd Trump or Kyren Wilson, who lock horns on Friday evening.
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