Snooker: Awesome O'Sullivan hits form

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The Independent Online
JOHN HIGGINS, the holder, and Ronnie O'Sullivan, a former champion, cruised through to the last 16 of the British Open in Plymouth last night.

Higgins, the current world champion, knocked out the Ulsterman, Terry Murphy, 5-1, while O'Sullivan, the world No 3, went one better whitewashing Paul Davies 5-0. O'Sullivan produced a high quality performance and he finished with a break of 134 to add to his previous scores of 51, 40, 68 and 97.

"That was a bit more like it," said the 23-year-old from Chigwell. "My first round match with Tony Jones wasn't much of a spectacle, but today, I was a lot happier with the way I played." O'Sullivan, winner of this event in 1995, next plays the Yorkshire qualifier Jimmy Michie or Scotland's Marcus Campbell.

Higgins has reached the last 16 dropping only one frame in the process. He did not score as heavily as O'Sullivan to beat the left-handed Murphy, but was solid throughout the match and now takes on Nottingham's Michael Holt. "Terry has played much better than that, so I didn't have to work too hard," said Higgins. "It will probably be tougher against Michael because he's a very good potter and looks a capable player."

With the world No 7 Peter Ebdon securing a last frame decider to defeat Mark Gray, only one of the top eight seeds has so far failed to reach their allotted place in the draw - Scotland's Alan McManus.