Rocket takes off in Sheffield

Ronnie O'Sullivan looked every inch the champion as he reeled off six straight frames against Matthew Stevens in a Crucible masterclass.

Seeking a fourth title in Sheffield, O'Sullivan surged 11-5 clear in the second semi-final of the Betfred.com World Championship on the back of a stunning session.

He treated a rapt audience to breaks of 61, 62, 110, 98, 90 and 113, clicking into the form which has seen him overcome three former world champions already.

Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson had no answer to O'Sullivan's brilliance in the earlier rounds, and although Stevens was briefly level on Friday, having started 5-3 in arrears, trouble soon began to mount for the Welshman.

The 34-year-old Carmarthen cueman knew there was the potential for O'Sullivan to throw in a magical session, having witnessed the punishment meted out to Williams last Sunday.

Earlier, Stephen Maguire's frustrations spilled over and his hopes of reaching a first World Championship final took a major hit.

Opponent Ali Carter, the 2008 runner-up, showed the temperament required to win a Crucible semi-final as he turned a 5-3 lead into a more comfortable 10-6 cushion.

Maguire, 31, twice lost his cool before the mid-session interval, firstly with a wild attempt to escape from a snooker and then when he thumped the table to draw gasps from spectators.

He later appeared to question the judgement of referee Leo Scullion, his fellow Glaswegian, when a foul was called.

Maguire managed the outstanding break, a superb total clearance of 142 in the penultimate frame, but the last of the day's early session went to Carter, making him a strong favourite.

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