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UK Championship
Ronnie O'Sullivan set to make Masters return despite media concerns
YESTERDAY AT 09:31

You will not want to miss this. From 12.45pm we'll have Judd Trump versus Ronnie O'Sullivan for the Northern Ireland Open title. The world number one against the world champion; an arm wrestle for the unofficial title of who, right here and now, is the best player currently operating in the game, regardless of ranking points and career achievements. It couldn't be set up any more perfectly. We'll see you just after lunch for the most fascinating match of the season so far.

Judd speaks

He's happy with his game, thought that he played well, yet thinks he's the second favourite for the final tomorrow.

Judd Trump is through to the final of the Northern Ireland Open

That was a decent effort from David Grace, who stayed competitive in a match where his opponent, the reigning champion Judd Trump, always seemed to have another gear if and when required. The offshoot of that victory is that Trump will now play Ronnie O'Sullivan in this final for the third year in a row. He's won the first two; can he make it a hat-trick of Northern Ireland Open titles tomorrow?

Trump 6-2 Grace

It's 92 for Trump, which secures the frame and match.

Trump 5-2 Grace (72-0)

A more powerful split on the rest of the reds a few shots later sees the white jump in the air, land on top of a small cluster and scatter them open; that's an alternative way to spread the reds into better positions. It's a half-century already for Trump, who's not far away now. A black takes him to 72 with 67 remaining; it's be Trump versus O'Sullivan in the final tomorrow.

Trump 5-2 Grace (30-0)

Trump drains a long red into the bottom right to start the eighth frame, and lands perfectly on the blue. He'll want this done quickly, and he's moving around the table purposefully. He opts for a delicate cannon on the pack rather than a powerful one when playing into them off the black here, and develops a few more reds. This is now a good chance to sort this in one visit.

The best single ball potter debate

Neal Foulds has his say.

Trump 5-2 Grace

Grace adds 7 which leaves Trump requiring snookers, and he's not done. A total of 28 secures his second frame of the night, and it's now 5-2.

Trump 5-1 Grace (14-54)

It's a half-century from Grace, who's coasting until he misses a black off its spot again. You cannot repeatedly do that against any professional player, and certainly not Trump. There's plenty left here for Trump to win the frame and it's all in the open; but on 14 it's Trump who now repeats an earlier mistake by going in-off when potting a red.

Trump 5-1 Grace (0-27)

Grace tags in a long red into the bottom left, and a nice kiss leaves him gun barrel straight on a blue to the same pocket. Can he prolong the argument here? On 26 he pots one red, affects a great split on the pack and lands perfectly on the black all in one shot. That's a fine effort, and he should add many more now.

Trump 5-1 Grace

Another half-century for Trump in no time at all, the frame long since sorted. A 59 leaves him one frame away from a place in the final tomorrow.

Trump 4-1 Grace (22-24)

Well now! Trump goes in-off, deflecting into the bottom right off another red when trying to run around for the black. Grace has a red he can pot from baulk, and quickly puts the points together to go ahead in the frame. There are well-placed loose reds here, but on 16 he misses a black off its spot and he's left this frame wide open for Trump to steal.

Trump 4-1 Grace (22-4)

Grace slots a thin cut on a red to bottom left after an attempted safety by Trump hits the blue full ball and leaves the white in the centre of the table. He then thunders in a long green, but misses a thin cut on a red to the bottom right using the extended cue and rest and balancing awkwardly. That's the shot from hell with the wobbly equipment in your local club; its just as nasty here, even with the finest tools. Grace has left Trump in here, and points start accumulating in response.

Trump 4-1 Grace

Trump makes 101, but can't put away the final red with the pink blocking its path to the bottom right. No matter; he's already hit a 147 this week so he's done all he can to secure the highest break prize. The other prize he's after, a place in the final, is now two frames away.

Trump 3-1 Grace (71-0)

These are Trump's gears, and he's going through them. A simple black secures another half-century, and a few more reds will give him a 4-1 lead. This is light work for Trump, who only has to gently jab each shot into position for the next. It sounds easy, it isn't easy, yet he makes it look that way.

Trump 3-1 Grace (20-0)

We're back, and if this is to be a contest you feel Grace has to win this next frame. After an exchange of safety shots Trump gets in first though, clipping in a long red to come back up the table and land on the brown. He's up to 20 in no time, and there are plenty of reds in good positions between the pink and black to get this frame banked in one visit.

Trump 3-1 Grace

Trump gets to 91 before missing a long, thin green down the right hand rail. That's a 3-1 lead; the players and my good self will be back in 15 minutes for the denouement of this match.

Trump 2-1 Grace (68-20)

Another red with only two more left on the table sorts the frame. Trump will have a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

Trump 2-1 Grace (51-20)

It's another half-century for Trump, who has slipped effortlessly into his rhythm here. With the reds as they are, there could be a ton on here.

Trump 2-1 Grace (20-20)

After a safety exchange, Grace has a go at a long red right across the table to the bottom left, but misses it and sits it up over the left middle for Trump. That could be costly; Trump's quickly level on points in the frame and there's a load on here that won't require the white travelling more than a couple of feet at a time.

Trump 2-1 Grace (0-20)

A long red from Trump to the bottom right goes close but misses, and Grace has a chance as the red sits up over the yellow pocket. He quickly pots it and gets to 20, but in going into the pack of the black the split isn't kind and he's not on anything easy. Grace plays safe, and he's visibly annoyed that he didn't make more there.

Trump 2-1 Grace

Trump forces an error from Grace, who leaves him a thin yellow to the bottom right. That goes, and Trump clears up to the pink to move one frame ahead.

Trump 1-1 Grace (58-33)

Close from Grace, who almost rolls a red into the green pocket, only to see it jaw out and then roll straight over the yellow pocket. Trump knocks it down and then snookers Grace, who escapes but soon after leaves the final red over the green pocket for Trump. It disappears, but Trump can't land on a colour that would be frame ball and is forced to play safe. Grace needs to clear the colours to win the frame.

Trump 1-1 Grace (56-33)

It's a chance for Grace now as Trump leaves him a thin cut on a red to the right middle. He makes it, and starts cobbling together some points; when potting the pink he nudges an awkward red into a potting position over the bottom left. In total Grace adds 29, and snookers Trump tight behind the black. There's 43 left on the table, so he's right back in this frame, and gets four more when Trump fouls at the first attempt to escape from the snooker.

Trump 1-1 Grace (56-0)

Trump's soon back in the balls, nailing a superb red to the bottom right that runs through another and forces position on the pink. That's a great shot, and he's quickly up to a break of 41. Trump then plays into some reds on the bottom rail to try and develop them, and with a lovely touch of fortune forces two into a plant in left middle. He runs out of position on 46 though, and tucks Grace in behind the black.

Trump 1-1 Grace (10-0)

Grace tries a long red to the bottom left at the start of the third. It's close, but it rattles in and out, before landing over the left middle in the direct line of the white. Trump dispatches it, and for his next red makes a plant from two unconnected reds. He runs out of position on 10 though and is forced to play safe.

Trump 1-1 Grace

Grace can only add 14 before missing a red to the bottom left. Trump steps in to add 10, and with three snookers now required Grace concedes.

Trump 0-1 Grace (61-0)

It's a half-century from Trump and plenty more to come by the looks of it. A kick on the green then leaves him with a longer red than he would have wanted; he drains it, but that leaves a difficult blue which Trump rolls out on the knuckles of the left middle. That's end of break on 57, and he's left Grace an easy red to get going here.

Trump 0-1 Grace (24-0)

Trump traps Grace behind the green with a snooker at the start of the second frame. That draws four points from a miss, then Grace escapes but leaves the white in the centre of the table, gifting Trump a short range red to the bottom left. He takes it and quickly sets about putting a break together, 20 and counting so far.

Trump 0-1 Grace

Grace thin cuts the last red, and that will be enough for the frame. He clears up to the pink, and takes a 1-0 lead.

Trump 0-0 Grace (24-64)

Grace takes his break to 40, and Trump now needs snookers. This is an impressive start from him. He can't make any more than that, and with the balls well placed for snookers Trump will play on here.

Trump 0-0 Grace (24-37)

Grace misses a red to the yellow pocket, trying to swerve the white around the green to make the angle, and he leaves it to the right middle for Trump. After potting it, Trump can only add five before missing the blue to the green pocket, and he's left Grace in.

Trump 0-0 Grace (20-24)

Grace can only make 24 before failing to split the pack conveniently, and that's end of break.

Trump 0-0 Grace (20-1)

Trump breaks, and Grace misses a long red to the bottom left by some way. Even worse, he sticks the red up over the left middle. It's an easy starter for Trump, who soon works his way to the business end of the table and starts accumulating points. After potting the blue though he sticks to the pack rather than splits it, and only has a wafer thin cut on a red to go at, which he misses to the bottom right. Grace then steps in to mop it up, and has an immediate chance to fire back.

Showtime

The MC Phil Seymour announces both players into the arena. Here we go then, best of eleven for a place in the final against Ronnie O'Sullivan tomorrow.

Grace under pressure

Standing in the path of that opportunity is David Grace. It’s a big ask for the world number 67, but he’s breathed in the air of a ranking event semi-final before; back in 2015, he made it all the way to the last four of the UK Championship. Grace has had a good run this week, beating David Gilbert, Michael Holt and Yan Bingtao to reach this stage.

The Juddernaut

Trump is the defending Northern Ireland Open champion and can move up to sixth on the all-time list of ranking event winners if he retains his title. Should he do so, it’ll be his third Northern Ireland Open title in a row; no one has retained a ranking event title that many times since Stephen Hendry in 1996. Also, if you’re a fan of omens, in the two previous years in the tournament’s natural home in Belfast, he’s beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan to win both finals.

Good evening!

Welcome to live coverage of the second semi-final of the Northern Ireland Open. It’s Judd Trump versus David Grace tonight, in a best of 11 to reach tomorrow’s semi-final. We’ll get going in around 15 minutes; the winner will face Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final tomorrow, after the world champion rattled off five frames in a row this afternoon to defeat Ali Carter 6-3.

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Join us again at 6.45pm

Thanks for your company this afternoon. We'll be back in a few hours with the second semi-final, where world number one Judd Trump will take on David Grace for the right to face O'Sullivan tomorrow.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is through to the Northern Ireland Open final

What a turnaround from the world champion. He was 3-1 down at the interval, but blasted Carter off the table with five frames in a row when they returned to the arena. In total, he made breaks of 100, 78, 66, 93, 102 and that mesmerising clearance of 59 to seal his victory. Carter wasn't at his best today, but there's little any player can do in the face of that. O'Sullivan is through to his third Northern Ireland Open final, a tournament he has yet to win. Can he add this title to the record 37 ranking events he has to his name already?

O'Sullivan 6-3 Carter

What a sensational clearance from O'Sullivan! He lands awkwardly on the brown but drops it in the right middle, followed by a long blue that he strokes in as if it's as routine as pouring a cup of tea. 'It's a different man!' says Joe Johnson in commentary. The pink and black follow for a brilliant 59 to win the frame and match.

O'Sullivan 5-3 Carter (28-49)

On 48 Carter misses a black to left middle. O'Sullivan gets in next, dropping a long red into the bottom right, and then the pink to leave a perfect angle to disturb two tied up reds near the right middle. He duly pots a red and then develops the others as planned; theirs one red still tight to the right rail that might rescue Carter, but O'Sullivan is right back in the frame. It's soon all there for the world champion; when potting the pink he shifts the awkward red and puts it over the right middle. What a shot, and it's O'Sullivan's to lose now.

O'Sullivan 5-3 Carter (1-41)

Carter takes his break to 41, and he's taken these well given the barrage of scoring he's been hit with since the break. There are awkward reds clustered near the right rail though, so there's some work to do to win this in one hit.

O'Sullivan 5-3 Carter (1-17)

O'Sullivan gets the first chance in the ninth frame, but can't control the white as he cuts in a thin red to the bottom left and lands on nothing. After a safety battle Carter then hoses in another long red but, yet again, can't land on a colour and it's a one point visit. He fares better on his next shot however; he knocks a red down followed by a nice thin cut on the black, and he's in position to stitch some points together here.

O'Sullivan 5-3 Carter

A break of 102 gives O'Sullivan the eighth frame. Carter has only scored 14 points since the interval.

O'Sullivan 4-3 Carter (72-0)

It's 72 and counting; as John Higgins once said, it's like watching a computer game when O'Sullivan plays like this. That's the frame secure, he'll need one more for a place in the final tomorrow.

O'Sullivan 4-3 Carter (48-0)

The split is affected; a superbly timed shot when potting the black scatters the reds into a frame-winning position. This is brilliant from the world champion.

O'Sullivan 4-3 Carter (33-0)

O'Sullivan's away first in the eighth frame, dragging a red into the bottom right and then utilising the yellow to come back down the table. He's right in the groove now, and up to 33 quick smart. One good shot into the pack at some point and a fourth frame on the spin will be within his grasp.

O'Sullivan 4-3 Carter

This has been a different O'Sullivan since the interval, the one no player wants to face. He doesn't get the century, but a 93 gives him the lead in the match.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Carter (54-2)

The blue takes O'Sullivan to 54 and another half-century. What a curious afternoon it's been for him; all over the place at times, but still good enough to pull together four frame-winning visits and, shortly, he'll take the lead for the first time in the match.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Carter (22-2)

It's O'Sullivan that gets in after Carter leaves him a blind cut on a red to the bottom left. He's noticeably upping the pace now, and sets about building another break. It's 22 and counting so far, and with the table as it is this looks ominous for Carter.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Carter (0-2)

Carter again pots a lovely long red but the white drifts beyond the baulk line and he can only play safe. He pots the second red of the frame too, after O'Sullivan pokes one out over the bottom right, but again he can't land on a colour. The reds are spread really nicely here, whoever gets in next will have a great chance to win this frame.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Carter

A 66 from O'Sullivan sorts the frame; it's now best of five for a place in the final.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Carter (66-7)

O'Sullivan gets another chance after a poor safety from Carter. He's away again, and purring, nudging in reds and clearing openings around the black spot. He digs down to pot one red with the white near the rail to retain perfect position on the black, and within the blink of an eye he's banked a half-century.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Carter (14-7)

Carter pots two brilliant long reds at the start of the sixth frame, both of which he gets into too well and he fails to land on a colour each time. He then presents a chance to O'Sullivan, leaving a red over the bottom left after a safety, and it soon disappears. This is much better from O'Sullivan, who looks completely switched on as he sets about compiling another break. On 14 though the white goes in-off after clipping the brown, and Carter returns to the table.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Carter

A break of 78 for O'Sullivan secures the fifth frame.

O'Sullivan 1-3 Carter (65-5)

Ronnie takes his break to 60, and that will be enough for the frame. It's been a difficult afternoon for him so far, but in a few seconds he'll be only one frame behind.

O'Sullivan 1-3 Carter (49-5)

Better stuff here from O'Sullivan, who punishes a sloppy safety from Carter by drifting a long red into the bottom left. It's a horrible table, with the pink and black tied up and the blue up in the baulk area, but O'Sullivan is making a good fist of this; he clears a path to the black and takes his break up to 25. In potting the black he then develops more reds off the bottom rail; this is hard work, but he looks zoned in now.

O'Sullivan 1-3 Carter (1-5)

O'Sullivan gets the first chance of the frame after nicking in a thin cut on a red to the bottom left. The white lands near the rail though, hampering him on the brown which he fails to convert. Carter gets in next, but can only pot a red and a brown landing touching on a red and having to play safe. Neither player has played well today, but at the moment Carter is handling it better.

O'Sullivan 1-3 Carter

We're back and ready to go in frame five. Can O'Sullivan turn this around? Carter has all the momentum, while O'Sullivan looks irritated and distracted; his average shot time is down at 26 seconds.

O'Sullivan 1-3 Carter

O’Sullivan accidentally pots a red, which won’t help his pretty much impossible cause. Carter is unfazed however and soon puts away the second last red, before clearing up to the pink to end the argument in the fourth frame. He won’t be intimidated here, and takes a 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval. The players will be back in 15 minutes, as will I.

O'Sullivan 1-2 Carter (0-69)

Carter adds 12 more; O'Sullivan needs five snookers, and again he's persevering with the task.

O'Sullivan 1-2 Carter (0-57)

A lovely reverse side shot on a red by Carter to stay in position takes this break to 13, and there's more to come. A plant on two reds gets him to 31 but he runs out of position and has to play safe off the green. There's 67 left out there for O'Sullivan, but his safety shot goes all wrong and the white careers into two reds near the bottom cushion, leaving one on for Carter.

O'Sullivan 1-2 Carter (0-26)

It's the final frame before the mid-session interval. O'Sullivan got out of his quarter-final at the interval at 2-2 against Ding Junhui last night despite being outplayed, can he do likewise here? After a long exchange of shots top open the fourth frame, Ronnie commits to a cut on a red down the rail, and rattles it in and out of the bottom right. That leaves Carter in, and with a chance to score heavily. He makes 26, but overstretches on a red to the bottom right and misses it. Ronnie's in, but he's all over the place right now; he can't convert an off-straight red to the bottom left, and Carter is back in. Carter needs one decent visit here for a 3-1 lead; Ronnie really needs the interval to reset.

O'Sullivan 1-2 Carter

Carter goes in off, leaving Ronnie a chance at a long red, but it's way off and it's left Carter a straight red and a chance now to put this frame to bed once and for all. Carter clears the remaining reds to add 26, and he's well out of sight here. O'Sullivan plays on with the colours though, potting the yellow and then trying to play the snooker off the green, but he's so far behind that this is all futile. Refusing to be put off, Carter mops up the remaining colours to regain the lead.

O'Sullivan 1-1 Carter (0-52)

A poor safety from O'Sullivan offers another chance to Carter, who drops a long red into the bottom left and lands on the blue. He should see the frame out from here, but he again fails to land nicely on the pink and is forced to play safe after making just 13.

O'Sullivan 1-1 Carter (0-39)

After a prolonged safety exchange Carter forces another mistake from O'Sullivan, who is still unhappy with his tip and has been trying to sandpaper away whatever is causing the problem with it. Carter has an easy starter on a red to right middle, and gets to work. On 15 though he rattles a simple red in the jaws of the bottom left and it spits back out. Carter's head drops in frustration; that was a great chance. He'll get another though, as Ronnie misses a tight cut on a red to right middle, leaving Carter right in the reds. He can only make nine though as he fails to get position on the pink; that's three good opportunities he's now had in this frame.

Ronnie 100

O'Sullivan 1-1 Carter (0-15)

O'Sullivan misses a red to the bottom right. He's bothered by his cue tip, which he's fiddling with continuously; it seems strange to say of someone who's just hit a century, but he hasn't settled yet. Carter steps in to clip in a red to left middle, but in going into the pack on 15 he loses position on the pink and it's end of break.

O'Sullivan 1-1 Carter

It's a round ton for Ronnie, the 1,067th century of his magnificent career, and we're all square.

O'Sullivan 0-1 Carter (75-10)

It's a half-century for O'Sullivan, and Carter now needs snookers.

O'Sullivan 0-1 Carter (45-10)

A red over the bottom right, partially obscured by the black, looks to be the key ball in this frame, and Carter leaves Ronnie the angle to get to it after missing a long pot on another red. O'Sullivan strokes it in, and then splits the cluster of reds off the blue. That could be a frame-winning shot, although O'Sullivan seems a little agitated and not full focused as yet.

O'Sullivan 0-1 Carter (25-10)

What a touch for Carter! After drawing a foul from O'Sullivan he misses a mid-range red to the bottom right, but flukes it in the green pocket as the red travels around the table and kisses in off the brown. He can only make six though, which is a let off for O'Sullivan as the balls are well set for a decent scoring visit here.

O'Sullivan 0-1 Carter (25-0)

We're underway in frame two, where O'Sullivan floats in a nice long red but leaves himself bridging over another for the black. It's a tough shot but he drops it into the bottom left deadweight to land perfectly on his next red. That's a great shot. Ronnie's break falters on 25 though as he misses a black off its spot, but lands touching ball on a red to leave Carter nothing.

O'Sullivan 0-1 Carter

Ronnie pots the brown, then Carter the blue, and this elongated frame is done.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Carter (35-76)

O'Sullivan accidentally plugs the final red into the right middle when trying to lay a snooker, which forces him to then drain a long black. The colours are well situated for snookers, but O'Sullivan can't land one; Carter then floats in the yellow and green, but Ronnie's still playing on even though he needs five snookers. Either he wants time at the table or he's trying to unsettle Carter a bit here; there's clearly no way he'll get back into this frame.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Carter (27-71)

A 71 for Carter leaves O'Sullivan needing two snookers. He's playing on for them here, and pots one red and a blue which means he now requires three.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Carter (21-51)

It's a half-century for Carter, who has taken these well. Three more reds and three colours will leave Ronnie needing snookers.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Carter (21-21)

A chance for Carter now, who snicks in a thin red to the bottom right after a loose safety by O'Sullivan. He's quickly level in the frame and has a nice spread of reds here that could and should secure him this first frame.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Carter (21-0)

Carter refuses a long red, leaving the white on the bottom cushion instead. O'Sullivan doesn't refuse a long red, tagging one into the green pocket, and he's off and running in the first frame. The brown takes him down to the business end, and he has the first chance to develop a decent score. On 21 however he leaves himself a long red to the green pocket, which he can't convert, and that's end of break.

It's time!

The MC Phil Seymour is uniting boys with baize. Best of 11 then, let's get about it.

When Ronnie met Ali

As mentioned below, there has been beef. The last time these two met, Carter dumped O'Sullivan out of the World Championship in a match overshadowed by the latter barging past the former on the way back to his chair. We're not likely to get that again - social distancing for one, and the two have since put that brouhaha to bed - but there will be some edge to this. That Carter victory in 2018 was his first in meaningful competition over O'Sullivan, a man who had beaten him in two previous world finals. They have not met since then, so it'll be interesting to see how the memory of that match weighs into proceedings today.

Good afternoon!

We are in a one table situation.

Welcome to live coverage of day six of the Northern Ireland Open. It’s semi-final day, and this is what we’ve got coming up:

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Ali Carter (1.00pm)

Judd Trump vs. David Grace (7.00pm)

It’s best of eleven for a place in the final tomorrow.

Don't call it a grudge match

But it sort of is. Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter have history, remember that barge from 2018?

Relive O’Sullivan and Carter’s shoulder barge spat at 2018 World Snooker Championship

Ahead of the match Carter had said that O'Sullivan had apologised to him but The Rocket has now denied that, saying "I didn't apologise to Ali and I didn't apologise to Mark Allen either,

"I just said, 'let's move on'. Let's not hold any grudges, it is what is it.

"I still feel I was in the right on both occasions and so that apology they say that I said was definitely not an apology.

"It was more like, 'let's just move on'. It was what it was, I've got to see you and you've got to see me at tournaments. So we can say hello to each other. We're not boxers, we're not enemies.

"It's just a game of sticks and balls. I'm happy with my life, you are happy with your life. Let's just be friends."

HOW TO WATCH THE NORTHERN IRELAND OPEN – TV & LIVE STREAMING

The Northern Ireland Open is live on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.

Each day the eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app will stream uninterrupted bonus feeds.

We will also have rolling coverage online on the Eurosport.co.uk website and our social channels.

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