Snooker: O'Sullivan in semis before 'final farewell'

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan eased into the world championship semi-finals on Wednesday and, true to his unpredictable nature, said he had only returned after a self-imposed exile because he needed the money to pay his children's school fees.

The 37-year-old -- who had not played all season after winning last year's world title -- outclassed fellow Englishman Stuart Bingham 13-4 to set up a semi-final with Judd Trump, who had edged former world champion Shaun Murphy 13-12 in a thrilling match earlier on Wednesday.

O'Sullivan, who looks well set for a fifth world title, said this would be his 'final farewell' at the championships, although he is contracted by his sponsor to play 10 tournaments next season.

It is not the first time that the engaging but temperamental Englishman has alluded to retiring full-time from the sport he has lit up but he said that, while some enjoyed playing, he suffered too much and was tired of not being happy.

"It's nice to be in the semi-finals but I didn't really miss snooker," he said.

"But I missed having something to do and I was struggling for a bit of money.

"I'll be honest, I still owe the school money for my children's school fees, I haven't paid the last two or three terms.

"I didn't know what was going to happen here but I've made a little bit of money now so I can go and pay the school fees now for the next two years.

"But really I don't think snooker is for me. This could be my last proper major event.

"As far as putting my heart and soul into snooker, I don't think that's what I want to do anymore but I had to give it a go. I needed some money quick.

"I have signed a contract with my sponsor to play in 10 events so I'll play in those."

But O'Sullivan stated those events could include Legends tour events, and low-profile tournaments, and stressed there was no stipulation that he should appear at events such as the UK Championship, Masters or World Championship.

Asked if he would be in Sheffield for next year's World Championship, O'Sullivan added: "I've no intention to come back.

"If I find something else to do you definitely won't see me.

"I've kept my cards close to my chest but there's no reason to keep them close now.

"This is my last farewell, it's my swansong. I'm happy; I'm done.

"I can't keep putting myself through being unhappy.

"I wish I could just smile it off, shrug it off but it's not like that for me. I wish I had the attitude of players who come here and smile and enjoy it. I just beat myself up too much and it's not healthy."

Trump, 23, showed great character to come from 7-2 down to beat Murphy and move a step closer to what would be his second world final after a previous appearance in 2011.

"Everyone had written me off at 7-2 down and were saying it was the story of my season because I was enjoying myself too much off the table," he said.

"However, I am delighted I proved them wrong. Now Ronnie will have all the pressure on him and I will just go out there and attack him."

The other semi-final will be another all English affair between Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden, who beat Welshman Michael White.

Hawkins ended Chinese player Ding Junhui's hopes of becoming the first player from China to win the title, rattling off the first four frames of Wednesday's session to win 13-7.

Ding, 26, said that he might seek advice from experienced former professionals to see if they can help him get nearer to winning the title.

"It might be good to get help from an old player's experience, but I haven't got anyone to help me, so I do everything myself," Ding said.

"I'd like to listen if they could tell me something I'm doing wrong."