Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his spot in the final of the World Grand Prix but apologised for an “embarrassing” performance as he overcame Stuart Bingham in an error-strewn encounter.
Both players were below-par at the Coventry Building Society Arena but O’Sullivan did enough to record a 6-2 victory which moves him into his first ranking showpiece of the season, with Neil Robertson lying in wait.
O’Sullivan said afterwards on ITV4: “We both stunk it out. We were both really, really poor, we looked like a couple of old club players, that’s what it felt like. Really embarrassing but there you go, sorry about that.
“I felt for Stuart, you could see he was struggling and honestly we looked like a couple of butchers out there, just butchering everything all over the gaff.”
Bingham took a scrappy opener but missed a simple red which would have put him on the verge of a 2-0 lead and O’Sullivan capitalised with a break of 62 to level proceedings.
Further mistakes from Bingham saw O’Sullivan hit the front as knocks of 51, 56 and 77 helped to establish a 5-1 lead before his opponent closed the gap with a 78 – the highest break of the evening.
Despite a break of 60 in frame eight from O’Sullivan, Bingham looked set to reduce arrears even further when his rival blundered but then missed the final black off its spot.
O’Sullivan, a winner of the event three years ago, swooped in to tidy up and collect the win but he knows he must improve ahead of his best-of-19 showdown against Robertson on Sunday.
The six-time world champion added: “If I don’t get my finger out or find something, I’ll probably get blasted away. I’d be happy to get a couple of frames playing like that.
“You never know, I could stink the gaff out, drag him down to my level and he could go. I doubt it, he’s a bit too good for that, he’s in his prime. He’s cuing really well, best cueist I’ve ever seen.”
Bingham, the 2016 finalist, lamented his performance, saying: “I’m just gutted. He had a bit of luck here and there, few little flukes and the rub of the green but I had more opportunities and I just couldn’t take them.”