Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams – two players with seven world titles and 44 ranking events between them – will clash in the quarter-finals of the International Championship in Chengdu on Thursday.
O’Sullivan won 6-1 for the second consecutive day, beating China’s Li Hang with top breaks of 59, 90, 50, 63 and 53.
“Each match I feel a bit more confident and happy with my game,” said O’Sullivan, seeking his first title of the season. “Mark is a great player who has won big tournaments and he’s used to the big occasion. I will have to play well tomorrow but that’s what I want – to know that if I don’t play well I’ll get beat. I want to feel that pressure and adrenaline running through my body.
“These are the type of games you look forward to and I’ll be really up for the challenge.”
Williams scored a 6-4 win over Sam Baird, who missed the chance to reach the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time. Baird made a 73 to go 2-0 up before Williams won three of the next four frames with top runs of 55 and 70. Baird regained the lead at 4-3 and made a 61 in the next, but Williams made a crucial 71 clearance and dominated the last two frames to secure his place in the last eight.
Shanghai Masters and Haining Open champion Stuart Bingham saw his hopes of a hat-trick of titles in China end as he lost 6-4 to Mark Allen. Bingham came from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 with a top break of 128 but Allen then knocked in 100 and 117 to lead 5-4. Bingham had a chance to win frame ten and force a decider, but missed a short range last red and Allen cleared to earn a match with Michael White.
“I’m very happy with the way I played today, my safety was probably as good as it’s ever been,” said Allen, who was runner-up to Bingham in Shanghai. “I made two nice breaks to go 5-4 up.
“Michael White is playing really well. I’ve got a lot of time for him, he’s a good kid. He scores heavily and fast. On paper I’ll be strong favourite but it doesn’t always work out like that. I played him in Shanghai and scraped through 5-4, and was fortunate to do so. If I play well I fancy my chances.”
Robert Milkins came from 2-1 down to beat Xiao Guodong 6-4 with a top break of 83.
“I’m really pleased to be in the quarter-finals here, especially in such a big ranking tournament,” said Milkins.
“Xiao doesn’t seem to play his best against me. I know how good he is, he was based in Gloucester for a long time and I saw him in practice – plus he got to a final last season.
“But some players don’t play well against certain players, and in this case that was lucky for me.
“A lot of big names have gone out but they can all play on tour. You do look at the draw and think it has opened up – but I have done that before and lost to the world number 80.
“It would nice to try and get through one more and then really give it a go in the semis, as I have had real trouble getting past that stage.”
Last year’s beaten finalist Marco Fu top scored with 91 in a 6-4 defeat of Rod Lawler while Ricky Walden scored a 6-4 victory to end the run of Joe Swail.
Michael White eased to a 6-2 win over Ian Burns, while Jamie Burnett followed up yesterday’s win over Judd Trump by beating Peter Ebdon 6-2.
Michael White v Mark Allen
Mark Williams v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ricky Walden v Jamie Burnett
Robert Milkins v Marco Fu