BAIZE WATCH Ep 11: World Championship Special

Rocket To Face Prodigy Luo

China’s latest young snooker talent Luo Honghao beat Neil Robertson 4-2 at the BetVictor English Open to earn a quarter-final with his idol Ronnie O’Sullivan.

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Tour rookie Luo, age 18, has earned the nickname The Virtuoso as he is a highly accomplished piano player and could have pursued a career in music. He chose snooker instead and won the WSF Championship this year to secure a tour card. He is now proving his ability on the baize and has knocked out Adam Duffy, Stuart Carrington, Anthony McGill and Robertson this week in Crawley to reach the last eight of a ranking event for the first time.

After losing the first frame against Robertson, world number 105 Luo took four of the next five with top breaks of 69, 56 and 74.

“It’s my biggest win,” said Luo, who comes from Nanchang in China’s Jiang Xi province. “I enjoyed being out there in front of a lot of people. Ronnie has been my idol since I started playing snooker. I am so excited about playing him and I hope I can pot at least one ball. I’m not sure if I can beat him but anything can happen. I will try my best and enjoy it. I can’t believe I have the chance to play him – I’m so happy.”

Defending champion O’Sullivan eased to a 4-1 win over Eden Sharav with top breaks of 76, 72, 59 and 72.

“Eden is a good player and a tough competitor so I knew I needed to play decent stuff,” said world number three O’Sullivan. “I am working on my sighting at the moment so every match is a chance to get more comfortable and take my game to a higher level. I was watching Luo on the next table and he is a proper talent. He is the real deal.”

Mark Davis continued his hoodoo over John Higgins, beating the four-time World Champion for the seventh time in their last eight meetings. Sussex cueman Davis came from 2-1 down to take the last three frames and win 4-2.

Davis now faces Ryan Day, who played the best snooker of the night to beat Judd Trump 4-2. Welshman Day fired in runs of 52, 83, 136 and 132.

Stuart Bingham top scored with 82 in a 4-0 win over Ricky Walden. He now meets Ali Carter who edged out Daniel Wells 4-3 with a top run of 116.

Stephen Maguire beat Zhou Yuelong 4-0 with a top break of 83. His next opponent is Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who made a 52 in the decider to edge out Robert Milkins 4-3.

Friday’s quarter-final line up:

12pm
Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter
Not before 2pm

Mark Davis v Ryan Day

7pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luo Honghao

Noppon Saengkham v Stephen Maguire