John Higgins’ Champion of Champions title defence came crashing down with a devastating defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The out-of-sorts Wizard of Wishaw, 42, conjured up a disappearing act as he was whitewashed 6-0 by his oldest rival in snooker’s clash of the titans in Coventry.
Four-time world champion Higgins inflicted O’Sullivan’s only loss at the illustrious invitational event in last year’s final.
And the‘Rocket’ avenged that painful defeat in fine style in front of a packed Ricoh Arena.
A couple of poor break-offs were huge nails in Higgins’coffin.
O’Sullivan took full advantage of uncharacteristic safety errors from the Scot with a top break of 81 to lead 4-0 at the interval.
And O’Sullivan hit the 897th and 898th centuries of his career, 101 and 138, to seal his semi-final spot.
But the“Rocket”, who labelled the majority of the tour as“numpties” earlier in the season, said:“It’s a numpty-free zone in a way.
“You can come here, get on a practice table, get a hotel room, one table, it’s fantastic.
“For someone to beat John Higgins 6-0, he’s got to play really bad because no-one beats John Higgins 6-0.
“It’s the worst game in the world because you can’t do anything.”