Lawler accepts no quarter

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The Independent Online

Rod Lawler proved his victory over Stephen Hendry was no fluke by adding the world champion's training partner to his growing list of conquests in the Sweater Shop International Open.

The 24-year-old Liverpudlian reached only the third major quarter-final of his career with a 5-3 success over Billy Snaddon at Swindon yesterday. Four frames in a row, including back-to-back breaks of 79 and 72, sent Lawler through to meet Dave Finbow or Gary Ponting.

"I had to dig really deep when I got the chances and concentrate hard," Lawler said. "Beating Stephen was a tremendous result for me, but I had to try and capitalise or it would have been wasted work."

Lawler's victory also helps him towards breaking into the top 32 of the world rankings for the first time, a target Snaddon also has in his sights. "At 3-1 up I felt in control," the 25-year-old Scot said. "But from then on nothing went right for me."

Lawler reduced his arrears with a valuable 69 break in the fifth frame. He then fluked a snooker on the last red in the sixth and, in two visits, cleared to pink to draw level.

Lawler, cueing superbly, compiled two vital breaks of 79 and 72 to become the first player into the last eight of the competition. Joining him moments later was Stephen Lee, the former English amateur champion. He beat Anthony Hamilton 5-2 and now plays Tony Drago or Alain Robidoux for a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.