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Ronnie O’Sullivan roars into quarter-finals despite Crucible ‘stress’

O’Sullivan will take on Mark Williams for a place in the last four.

Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Ding Junhui to reach the Crucible quarter-finals.
Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Ding Junhui to reach the Crucible quarter-finals.
Image: Dave Howarth/PA

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN INSISTED he prefers Crawley to the Crucible despite sweeping into the last eight of the World Championship with an imperious 13-10 victory over Ding Junhui.

Resuming at 8-8, O’Sullivan pulled away in a quickfire and high-quality final session which saw breaks of 50-plus in each of the evening’s seven frames.

But the five-time winner, who next faces fellow veteran Mark Williams, said he still struggles to enjoy the event and would rather be playing at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, which he described as a “hellhole” during last year’s English Open.

O’Sullivan’s slick performance saw him move two frames clear with breaks of 87 and 73 before Ding seized advantage of a rare missed black to reduce the deficit with a break of 88.

O’Sullivan nudged 11-9 in front with a break of 60 and, after Ding cleared to brown in the next with a break of 81, O’Sullivan struck a superb 117 to move within a frame of victory.

O’Sullivan narrowly missed back-to-back centuries but a 93 break in the next sealed up a 13-10 win and with it a last-eight clash with fellow veteran Mark Williams.

He added: “When you’re younger you have all the hunger and desire but at some point you have to try to get yourself motivated, whether that’s taking the pressure off or getting another hobby or job.

“I was glad I was able to focus out there, but I’m just more passionate and motivated about other things I’m doing off the table.

“But while I’m still playing snooker I want to enjoy it. Whether I win or lose is kind of irrelevant at this stage of my career.”

Kyren Wilson claimed Judd Trump already deserves his status as one of snooker’s all-time greats as the pair moved to thaw their previously frosty rivalry ahead of the start of their own quarter-final clash on Monday.

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Wilson, who was handed a first-round bye following the withdrawal of Anthony Hamilton, withstood a stirring fightback from 11-5 down by Martin Gould to triumph 13-9 and reach the last eight for the fifth time.

The pair’s relationship soured after Wilson won a final-frame decider to clinch the 2015 Shanghai Masters title, and blew up again at the 2018 Champion of Champions when Trump responded to Wilson apparently questioning his commitment by snapping, “He (Wilson) probably needs more practice than me.”

Neil Robertson pulled away from Barry Hawkins to keep alive his hopes of winning a second world crown.

The Australian, who will play Mark Selby in the quarter-finals, resumed at 8-8 and pounced on some uncharacteristic errors from Hawkins to take the first three frames of the session.

Hawkins reduced the deficit with a superb break of 104 but Robertson restored his lead with a 79 despite the black being out of service, then seized a second chance in the next frame to complete a 13-9 win.

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