FIVE-TIME world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan took two frames and less than half an hour to book his place in the quarter-finals at the Crucible – and he has warned his rivals that he means business in Sheffield.
He will be joined in the last eight by former champions Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy, as well as Judd Trump, with the quartet all advancing in double-quick time on Monday.
O’Sullivan, resuming with a 12-4 overnight lead against Matthew Stevens, lost the opening frame of the evening.
Stevens, though, was struggling with a neck pain and might well have been relieved to see the Rocket get over the line with a 77 break to book a clash with fellow Essex potter Stuart Bingham.
There was little time for O’Sullivan to show any repeat of the antics over the last week that have led to him playing in his socks, risk damaging his cue and incur a warning from the referee over his conduct.
But the former world No 1 says he does not plan these things and hopes not to get carried away again as the week continues.
“I wasn’t happy with losing my temper at times, but it shows just how much I wanted to win and play well,” said O’Sullivan.
“I hate losing. Even with cooking and running I’ve always tried to excel to be the best I can be.
“I’m never going to be able to get rid of that part of me.”
On table one, Robertson required just two more frames to progress against Ali Carter.
Carter, twice a runner-up in Sheffield, took the opening frame but missed a string of chances in the next to fall 12-5 behind.
Then the Thunder from Down Under turned on the style with a fabulous break of 145 – the highest in this year’s championship so far – to clinch his place in the last eight, where he will meet Barry Hawkins.
“Maybe a 147 is next, who knows,” said Robertson, who had scored 143 in his first round contest with Jamie Jones. “I just wanted to secure the frame and get an early night, Game of Thrones is on later.”
Earlier in the day, Murphy had continued to wow the Crucible crowd once more with his sartorial elegance as well as his potting.
The 2005 world champion was back in the blood orange suit and needed only two attempts to get the frame required to defeat Joe Perry 13-5.
Having worn a purple three-piece in the first round, Murphy has promised to continue to catch the eye against Anthony McGill next.
“I’ve got plenty more in the locker,” said the world No 8.
“It’s something different. Everyone wears black and white and it’s a bit boring. We’re a bit restricted with the dress code, it’s time we moved away from suits. I think we’re outdated.”
Trump had the toughest day of all his title rivals. Holding a 10-6 lead against Marco Fu overnight, he eventually got the job done with a 133 break to win 13-8 and set up a quarter-final meeting with Ding Junhui.
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