Griffiths grins and bears Masters defeat

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The Independent Online

Terry Griffiths found time to laugh despite taking a 5-2 beating from Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals of the Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley Conference Centre yesterday. The Welsh veteran was trailing 4-2 when O'Sullivan put together a break that put him in command of the seventh frame. At that point, someone in the crowd shouted "taxi for Terry Griffiths".

"By that time I'd well and truly lost and I thought it was amusing," the former world champion said. "Anyway, the crowd had been behind Ronnie all afternoon. At one point they started cheering and I said `You should be supporting me. I'm the one who's 4-1 down and I'm 30 years older than him'."

Griffiths, who played solidly during his surprise 5-3 victory over Steve Davis in the previous round, had three chances to win the opening frame, but he twice missed easy reds and a pink before O'Sullivan cleared yellow to blue to go in front.

Even though scrappy exchanges predominated, O'Sullivan put together runs of 41 and 83 on the way to leading 3-1 at the mid-session interval. On the resumption that soon became 4-1, thanks to a 65 break and, although Griffiths won the next frame by clearing from the last two reds to the pink, he could not put himself back in contention.

O'Sullivan is now only two victories away from becoming the youngest winner of the Masters. "I'm grafting hard, but nothing is coming easy. I'm struggling along because when I'm playing well everything seems easy," he said.

O'Sullivan is guaranteed at least £30,000, which makes him the fifth player this season, after Hendry, Ken Doherty, John Higgins and Alan McManus, to earn £100,000 in prize-money.

Benson and Hedges Masters (Wembley): Quarter-finals: J White (Eng) bt J Wattana (Thai) 5-3; R O'Sullivan (Eng) bt T Griffiths (Wal) 5-2.