O’Sullivan forces ref to change his mind in strange Shanghai Masters incident

Ronnie O'Sullivan tells Laila to ‘stop taking pictures’

Ronnie O’Sullivan was at the centre of a curious incident in his Shanghai Masters semi-final against Mark Selby. Insistent that the referee had got it wrong by calling a foul against him, the Rocket – with the help of the crowd – managed to convince the official to reverse his decision, which saw him awarded a frame.

The best-of-19 contest was entering its crucial stages at the time of the controversy. Finely poised at seven frames apiece, O’Sullivan was judged to have missed the brown when trying to put Selby in a snooker.

Flabbergasted by the call, O’Sullivan simply pointed to the crowd instead of directly responding to the official. Bit by bit, the noise increased so as to let the referee know that they believed that brown had moved.

“I know I hit it,” said the Rocket. “100 per cent.” The referee then called a short break to review the call, and came back to the table with the news that O’Sullivan had not committed a foul.

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His semi-final opponent, Selby, was well behind and responded by conceding the frame. O’Sullivan eventually went on to win the match 10-7, setting up a bumper final at the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.

Once there, he will face either reigning world champion Luca Brecel or former world No 1 Neil Robertson. O’Sullivan is gunning for his sixth Shanghai Masters triumph as he bids to defend the title he won only last year.

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The Rocket was defeated by Brecel in the quarter-finals of this year’s World Snooker Championship, and the Belgian went on to win the tournament. O’Sullivan has not been shy in talking up the credentials of his possible opponent in the Shanghai Masters final.

“Luca Brecel is amazing,” said the 47-year-old after his recent win over John Higgins. “I love watching him, he’s my favourite player to watch. He hits the ball so well. That’s just the way we play the game.

“If you ask Judd [Trump] and Luca if they go out there to entertain, they’d probably say no. They’re just out there playing their game, it’s just their style.”

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