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O’Sullivan and Higgins have won nine World Championship and eight Welsh Open titles between them

Four-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was knocked out of the Welsh Open with a 5-1 quarter-final defeat by John Higgins in Cardiff.

O’Sullivan took the first frame with a break of 64, before Higgins made breaks of 113, 57, 60 and 101.

The Scot, a four-time winner of the event himself, faces Gary Wilson, who beat Yu Delu 5-2, in the semi-finals.

Earlier on Friday, Barry Hawkins went through to set up a semi-final against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

Former World Championship runner-up Hawkins fell behind against China’s Yan Bingtao, but made breaks of 141, 137 and 74 to win 5-1.

Saengkham will be appear in his first ranking semi-final after beating Ian Burns 5-3.

O’Sullivan, who took the World Grand Prix title in Preston in February, won his first three matches 4-0 at this event.

He stretched his run of winning consecutive frames against Higgins to 19, but failed to win another.

“I am delighted to win,” Higgins told Eurosport. “It was a weird game. I just felt Ronnie was not there at all.

“He missed a couple of balls and ran out of position; he never does that. It must have been a concentration thing.

“Me winning that match means everyone in the tournament feels they have a chance of winning the title. If O’Sullivan was still in, people would say it is his to lose.”

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