Ronnie turns up the heat to see off Higgins
Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan moved onto 997 career centuries as he reached the Players Championship last four with a 6-4 win over John Higgins.
The 68th match between the two 43-year-olds tied Steve Davis and Jimmy White's record for the most head-to-head games.
It was 2-2 at the interval in Preston before O'Sullivan made a 101 clearance, soon followed by a 92, to move 4-2 up.
He added a 116 en route to his 36th win over Higgins and a semi-final with Irishman Mark Allen today.
The opening frame saw O'Sullivan miss a red into the centre on 43, but Higgins inadvertently nudged in the pink when potting the final red to allow his opponent to secure the frame with a 20.
Higgins levelled with a clearance of 27 after O'Sullivan left a free ball and then made a 96 to make it all square at the break.
As the players acclimatised to the fast table, O'Sullivan surged ahead, before breaks of 65 and 61 from Higgins reduced the gap to 4-3. With Higgins looking to take it to a decider, O'Sullivan made a 53 in frame 10 but missed a delicate cut into the centre with a red that would have left Higgins needing snookers.
However, Higgins played a poor positional shot and then left a red with his attempted safety as O'Sullivan wrapped up the match, putting him comfortably ahead of Higgins in their long history of meetings.