x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

O'Sullivan is back on track

The Englishman roared back to top form with three centuries in seven frames as he knocked Mark Williams out of the World Championship.

Ronnie O'Sullivan during his match with Mark Williams at the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre.
Ronnie O'Sullivan during his match with Mark Williams at the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre.

Ronnie O'Sullivan roared back to top form with three centuries in seven frames as he knocked Mark Williams out of the World Championship. The 34-year-old had been unconvincing during his opening clash with Liang Wenbo, and also seemed to be lacking focus for parts of the opening two sessions against Williams. But it was a different story yesterday as the crowd was treated to a vintage O'Sullivan show.

O'Sullivan fired in breaks of 53, 104, 75, 111 and 106 to win 13-10 and book a last-eight meeting with Mark Selby or Stephen Hendry and extend his Crucible record against Williams to three wins from three meetings. Meanwhile, Neil Robertson has saluted Steve Davis's efforts ahead of their quarter-final showdown today. The support for Davis, 52, in his 30th year of competing at the Crucible has grown since he knocked out John Higgins, the defending champion. Robertson admires the achievement, but is unlikely to be handing out favours in their last-eight clash.

Barry Hearn, who manages Davis and chairs the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, has led calls for the six-time former world champion to be knighted. Robertson, an Australian, backs that: "What more can Steve do? Not only on the table but also with the stuff he does off the table; it's fantastic seeing such a great ambassador for the game putting so much back into it. "He's won so many tournaments and for him to be able to pick himself up and practise so hard for this event, and to beat the world No 1 the way he has, is absolutely amazing and an inspiration for anyone who thinks they're coming to the end of their career." Robertson scraped through to the last eight after fighting back from 11-5 down to beat Martin Gould 13-12.

"What it will do for the rest of my tournament is mean that no matter how far I am behind I'll know I can win," he said. * PA