Snooker: Last eight in sight as Rocket fires on all cylinders

 

The Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan, the triple world champion, powered to within a whisker of securing his quarter-final place here at the Betfred.com World Championship yesterday.

The Rocket resumed 5-3 up on Mark Williams but wasted no time in producing his vintage best as he cruised into a commanding 11-5 lead in Sheffield, leaving him needing to win just two frames to progress to the next stage.

Williams, the double world champion, was left shell-shocked and spent most of the afternoon glued to his seat as O'Sullivan reeled off six frames on the spin in establishing a deserved eight-frame cushion. But the Welshman at least spared himself the ignominy of losing with a session to spare by winning two frames of the penultimate session, although defeat is surely around the corner when they resume tonight.

Having won the final three frames of the opening session from 3-2 behind thanks largely to breaks of 86 and 48, O'Sullivan made it a combined nine frames on the bounce with further breaks of 107, 74, 51, 68, 128 and 93.

It was exhilarating potting from the sport's greatest entertainer as he moved a step closer to winning his fourth world crown and inflicting a fourth defeat on Williams in the last seven years at the Crucible. Williams rallied with a spirited 86 break to ensure the match will have a final session and maintained his record of having never lost a match at the World Championship with a session remaining.

The world No 4 pinched the last frame of the session to give himself a glimmer of hope, but barring a remarkable comeback it looks like O'Sullivan, chasing his first Crucible title since 2008, will be playing Australian Neil Robertson in the next round. Robertson, the 2010 winner, booked his place in the business end of this year's £1.1m event with a 13-9 win over David Gilbert, a qualifier from Tamworth.

Stephen Hendry, the seven-time world champion, will face Scottish compatriot Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

Hendry last won the world title in 1999, but he has already dumped out defending champion John Higgins and pocketed a maximum 147 break.

Maguire expects a real tussle with his boyhood idol. "It will be quite special to play Stephen at the Crucible," said Maguire. "He was my idol. I started watching snooker at 10 or 11, and he won everything. He'll have one thing on his mind: winning that trophy."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue