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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump LIVE: Snooker updates as stars clash in Saudi semi-final

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump LIVE: Snooker updates as stars clash in Saudi semi-final

Ronnie O’Sullivan will look to keep his impressive start to the year going when he takes on Judd Trump in the semi-final of the World Masters of Snooker in Riyadh this afternoon.

The 12-man event is the inaugural tournament to be held in Saudi Arabia, featuring a prize pot of £788,000 and a controversial new Golden Ball worth an additional 20 points, extending the maximum possible break to 167.

O’Sullivan who has already won The Masters and the UK Championship among other events this year, breezed past John Higgins 4-0 in his quarter-final match to reach the final four.

Trump, meanwhile, who lost to O’Sullivan in the World Grand Prix final, will hope to enact revenge having won 4-3 in a tight encounter against Shaun Murphy in his quarter-final match.

Follow all the action from Saudi Arabia below:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump live updates

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan faces Judd Trump in the semi-finals of the World Masters of Snooker in Riyadh

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Judd Trump 4-1 to set up final clash with Luca Brecel

  • The tournament has an additional ‘golden ball’ worth 20 points that can be potted if a maximum 147 break is made

  • Comment: A golden ball and a 167 break: Saudi Arabia’s mad snooker gimmick is a step too far

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Judd Trump

18:25 , Mike Jones

That ends our coverage of the World Masters of Snooker for today. Ronnie O’Sullivan is back in action this evening, at around 8pm UK time to face Luca Brecel in the final.

Ronnie O’Sullivan not happy with form despite reaching final in Saudi Arabia

19:19 , Mike Jones

Ronnie O’Sullivan saw room for improvement despite reaching the final of the inaugural World Masters of Snooker by beating Judd Trump 4-1.

The world number one’s victory set up a clash with world champion Luca Brecel later on Wednesday evening in Saudi Arabia.

But O’Sullivan, who produced a break of 123 in the third frame before winning the next two to seal his place in the final, was not happy with his display.

He told Eurosport: “It wasn’t great. Judd was probably the worst I’ve ever seen him play - I think I dragged him down to my level.

“I played really well last night (in a 4-0 win over John Higgins), I had a bit of expectation coming in here, thinking I can put two matches together playing well, but that’s put that out the window.”

In the other semi-final, Brecel recorded four breaks over 70 to sink Mark Allen 4-2.

It continued a welcome return to form for the Belgian, who last month at the Welsh Open reached his first ranking quarter-final since his Crucible win.

Brecel compiled a break of 125 in the fourth frame to keep Allen at bay, although the Northern Irishman contributed to a high-quality contest with breaks of 121 and 133 in the third and fifth frames respectively.

Brecel told Eurosport: “I played good, I felt good. Every week, I seem to play a little bit better.

“Wales was the first step. I now feel very good about myself. Mark is so tough to beat. Every frame he plays the same way, and it’s very difficult to play against.”

(PA Sports Staff)

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Judd Trump

18:12 , Mike Jones

O’Sullivan takes advantage of a couple of errors from Trump to blitz through the fifth frame and take the match! The writing was on the wall early on in the frame for Trump who has been underpar in this semi-final.

O’Sullivane makes if five wins in a row over Trump and sets up a meeting with Luca Brecel in the final. Can he beat the world champion and take the spoils in Saudi Arabia?

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Judd Trump

17:59 , Mike Jones

O’Sullivan takes the frame! Trump misses the blue which would have given him the frame and O’Sullivan takes out the blue and pink to nick it.

He’s two up and one away from winning now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:53 , Mike Jones

A tricky shot for O’Sullivan, bouncing of two cushions to try and hit the yellow means he fouls twice in a row. Trump takes out the yellow but misses the green as he continues to struggle.

Trump trails by 3.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:48 , Mike Jones

A break of 24 gets O’Sullivan level with Trump. He opens up a slender lead with a couple of blacks and a red dropping for him. An awkward bounce off the cushion means he has to play safe.

The break ends at 39.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:46 , Mike Jones

This has been a strange match.

Mistakes from both players are affording the other to take advantage but neither one has as of yet. Trump leads 32-8 but O’Sullivan has a second opportunity to take control of the frame.

If he wins this one he’ll be one away from winning the match and Trump will be under serious pressure.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:41 , Mike Jones

A break of 20 from Trump comes to an end with the Englishman hiding the cueball behind the brown at the top end of the table. O’Sullivan fouls and gives away four points but manages to nail the safety shot next up.

Trump leads by 24 but decides to go safe as he’s trailing in the match. Tense moments these.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:35 , Mike Jones

Oh no. O’Sullivan has started this fourth frame very sluggishly. A foul gives Trump four points then there’s a red left open for the bottom left pocket.

Instead, Trump plants a red at the tip of the triangle which also spreads the table. Brilliant shot, it’s his frame to lose from here already.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-1 Judd Trump

17:27 , Mike Jones

Wonderful stuff from O’Sullivan who finishes out of position after rolling in the black. He screws hard off the back of the next red to set up the next colour and looks to methodically take apart the rest of the reds.

After a break of 45, a red catches the jaw but drops after hovering over the top of the pocket. A couple more colours and O’Sullivan’s break goes up to 61.

A red, the blue and another red put O’Sullivan over the threshold to win the frame and when the black drops too the century break is on.

There it is! O’Sullivan goes past 100, finishes with a break of 123 and takes a 2-1 lead in the match.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-1 Judd Trump

17:20 , Mike Jones

O’Sullivan breaks off in the third frame but Trump lands a long pot to sink the opening red. He misfires off the brown in the follow up and gives O’Sullivan a chance.

He’s on a red to the bottom right.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-1 Judd Trump

17:14 , Mike Jones

This is a tight frame still. Trump, with a lead of 13, can’t get over the line and decides to play safe. O’Sullivan leaves the green on and Trump rolls it home before nestling in the brown too.

He was made to work for it by O’Sullivan who played some fine shots off the back foot but Trump tidies up the table and draws level in the match.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Judd Trump

17:07 , Mike Jones

Trump manages to snooker O’Sullivan as a bunch of reds are knocked over to the left side of the table. Trump comes down the cushion and gets it to land.

This is a tough table to clean up but he fancy taking the frame from here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Judd Trump

17:02 , Mike Jones

Another tense frame developing here. O’Sullivan takes 36 point lead before a couple mistakes from both players sees safety shots pulled out.

Trump slowly gets 12 points on the board but leaves nothing on for O’Sullivan to go at.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Judd Trump

16:48 , Mike Jones

Judd Trump will be annoyed about that frame. He was twice in control of it and twice let things slip away from him. Ronnie O’Sullivan took advantage and will hope to continue that as the match goes go.

Trump breaks off for the second frame.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Judd Trump

16:44 , Mike Jones

With a lead of 50, Trump errs and lets O’Sullivan back into the contest here. He slots in three of the remaining reds and has strong positional play for the remaining balls.

In no time the break moves to 22 and when the black drops, followed by the remaining red O’Sullivan is 20 behind with all the colours remaining.

He pots and plays off the black to set up the yellow. The drops too, then the green and the brown. As the blue falls into the middle left pocket, O’Sullivan takes the lead and holds it by cleaning up the pink and the black.

He wins the frame 72-58 and goes ahead in the match. That break was 64 and O’Sullivan strikes first.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Judd Trump

16:37 , Mike Jones

After a shaky start to the frame, Trump settles down and works his way around the table with a finely tuned break off 33 to take him above 50.

He leads by 45 with 67 remaining on the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Judd Trump

16:33 , Mike Jones

Mistake! Trump leaves a routine red over the pocket which brings O’Sullivan onto the table trailing by 20 points. Can he take advantage from here?

No! O’Sullivan bobbles a red out of the pocket trying to smash open the rest of the pack. His break ends at 8.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Judd Trump

16:32 , Mike Jones

That is naughty from Trump. He slips a red in from the middle of the table and follows up with the black to get this break started in perfect fashion.

A fine slice to the bottom left pocket sees a second red drop but he’s forced to bail out on the blue and the golden ball is removed from the table.

This could be a big break from Trump now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Judd Trump

16:29 , Mike Jones

O’Sullivan breaks off first and skims the bottom red before leaving the ball safe near the top cushion. Trump fancies taking on a long pot but skirts both sides of the bottom left cushion yet leaves nothing on for the Rocket.

Interesting start to this one.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Judd Trump

16:27 , Mike Jones

Judd Trump is introduced first before Ronnie O’Sullivan comes striding out to the table. The crowd is packed in now and looks excited for this one.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Judd Trump

16:24 , Mike Jones

Okay then.

The next semi-final of this World Masters of Snooker is about to get underway. In head-to-heads Ronnie O’Sullivan has won 15 matches against Judd Trump while Trump has won 13 of the clashes against O’Sullivan.

That’s too close to call a winner before this one kicks off.

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

16:15 , Mike Jones

Luca Brecel wins it! The Belgian is the first player into the final of the World Masters of Snooker. A comfortable 4-2 victory over Mark Allen gets him into the title match.

Who will he play there? Ronnie O’Sullivan or Judd Trump?

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

16:07 , Mike Jones

Luca Brecel takes a potentially vital 19-1 lead in this sixth frame but doesn’t leave Mark Allen on for a pot. He plays it safe although there’s a long pot for Brecel on the cards.

He lands it and takes control of the frame again, can he finish off this match?

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

15:59 , Mike Jones

Mark Allen is clinging on to this match. A break of 133, the third century break in as many games, sees him take the fifth frame and keep the match going.

He trails by one now as Luca Brecel leads 3-2. Could the comeback be on?

Bigger crowds for semi-finals

15:49 , Mike Jones

Much of the tournament in Saudi Arabia has been played in front of lacklustre crowds. Today’s action is an exception with the venue in Riyadh close to a full house.

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

15:40 , Mike Jones

Brecel is closing in on victory! Fresh off the back of Mark Allen’s century break the Belgian scores one of his own by notching up a 125 to move within one frame of victory in this semi-final.

Lots of work for Allen to do now. He’ll need to win three in a row to claim a spot in the final.

Golden ball explained

15:35 , Mike Jones

For those of us not up to date with the latest gimmick of this tournament in Saudi Arabia, here’s a brief explainer of the golden ball and how it features into a possible 167 break:

What is the golden ball?

15:26 , Mike Jones

A golden ball has been introduced in for the event in Saudi Arabia. If a player completes a 147, they have the chance to make a record 167 break.

The golden ball is worth 20 points and sits on the top cushion throughout the frame for as long as a player can still complete the maximum break.

It is removed when the opportunity for a maximum break is over.

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

15:21 , Mike Jones

Mark Allen is on the board after taking the third frame in his semi-final against Luca Brecel. The Belgian leads 2-1 but Allen’s response was brilliant.

A century break of 121, his first of the tournament, has brought him right back into the contest.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Judd Trump

15:17 , Mike Jones

Ronnie O’Sullivan thrashed John Higgins to reach the semi-finals of the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker.

The Rocket made three century breaks in the opening three frames before a break of 82 handed him a 4-0 victory against the Scot. Higgins failed to pot a red in the game - his only four points coming from a foul.

O’Sullivan now meets Judd Trump in the semi-finals. Trump rallied from 2-0 down to beat Shaun Murphy 4-3 and reach the last four.

How can I watch it?

15:09 , Mike Jones

Viewers in the UK can watch the match and the entire World Masters event on Eurosport. Subscribers can also stream the match online via the Discovery+ app.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

When is Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Judd Trump?

15:00 , Mike Jones

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Judd Trump is the second semi-final scheduled to take place second on Wednesday 6 March in Riyadh. The match will take place following the conclusion of Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen and is expected to get underway at around 4pm GMT.

The winners of both semi-finals will meet in the final on the same night which is scheduled to take place at 7pm GMT.

Luca Brecel vs Mark Allen

14:57 , Mike Jones

In the other semi-final of the day, Luca Brecel has just clinched a lenghty frame to take a 2-0 lead over Mark Allen. The Belgian is halfway to a spot in the final needing to win two more frames to win the match.

Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Judd Trump following the conclusion of this one.

Saudi Arabia Masters to become snooker’s ‘fourth major’ with £2m prize fund

14:45 , Jack Rathborn

Saudi Arabia will stage its first ranking snooker event later this year, with the inaugural Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters boasting a prize fund of more than £2m.

That puts the tournament behind only the World Championship in terms of prize money, with the World Snooker Tour branding it the “fourth major” alongside the traditional triple crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.

A 10-year deal has been agreed for the event, which will take place from 31 August to 7 September in Riyadh and is open to the entire tour, plus six local wild cards.

Saudi Arabia Masters to become snooker’s ‘fourth major’ with £2m prize fund

Luca Brecel in action before Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump

14:30 , Jack Rathborn

Ahead of Ronnie O'Sullivan v Judd Trump later on, we have Luca Brecel taking on Mark Allen.

And the Belgian Bullet leads early on in the best-of-seven frames match.

The 2023 world champion has credited a weight loss for his return to form, stating: “I just needed to work a bit on my fitness and stuff like that. I lost a bit of weight and feel much better.

“I think that was the kind of change I needed to play well again. I feel like now, the sky is the limit.”

A golden ball and a 167 break: Saudi Arabia’s mad snooker gimmick is a step too far

14:24 , Jack Rathborn

The announcement at the end of January that Saudi Arabia would be entering the snooker fray as the latest phase of its sportswashing project didn’t come as any great surprise and the fact that the sport is welcoming Saudi investment with open arms is even less shocking.

With its fingers in an almost exponentially increasing number of sporting pies – from F1 races to tennis tournaments, boxing super-cards to lucrative horse races, purchases of Premier League clubs and revolutionary golf tours, and with global tournaments such as football World Cups and Asian Games on the horizon – the country shows no sign of slowing down in its concerted attempt to distract from alleged human rights abuses.

Snooker is simply the latest (fairly small) piece of the jigsaw; a full ranking event in the Gulf state has been mooted for a couple of years, with an official announcement made last month for a tournament featuring all 128 professional players to take place next season. For a niche sport fighting for both coverage in a congested media landscape and desperately needed investment from external partners, a Saudi link-up is almost inevitable – moral quandaries be damned.

A golden ball and a 167 break: Saudi Arabia’s mad snooker gimmick is a step too far

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump

13:38 , Luke Baker

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump from Saudi Arabia this afternoon.

The World Masters of Snooker has reached the semi-final stage in Riyadh, with the two sporting icons squaring off in a best-of-seven match.

Stick with us for all the updates from the clash.