2017 World Snooker Championship (Days 7 & 8) - O'Sullivan & Higgins in the quarters

10:44:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Two intense days of cue action here at the Crucible and we can already see the quarter-final matches shaping up as Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins, Ding Junhui and Kyren Wilson have booked their places.

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Shaun Murphy 13-7 in a real cracker, "The Rocket" proving to be very focused and determined to win.

The players ended their first session with the Essex-man in the lead 6-2, Murphy doing everything to catch up with his opponent and hitting a 70 break to reduce the gap.

Still, with Ronnie winning the next three frames with runs of 63, 75 and a beautiful 33 clearance to go 9-3 up, what was "The Magician" to do?

He needed to win big time and that's what he tried, breaks of 84, 73 and 87 helping him win three on a row before O'Sullivan won a real scrapper on the black to end the second session, 10-6.

A top break of 67 was quite enough for "The Rocket" to go 11-6 up, while a 55 break kept Murphy's hopes of a comeback alive.

But then Ronnie hit a marvellous 111 break to go one away from victory, followed by a 52 clearance it was crystal clear that this year's Crucible story was finished for Murphy. O'Sullivan won in grand style 13-7.

He will now meet an old pal, Ding Junhui who beat Liang Wenbo 13-12 in a match that kept us on tenterhooks.

Ding was sure to always be in the leading chair, ending the first session at 6-2 up, thanks to breaks of 111, 113, 53, 62 and 70.

The second one was no different, but Wenbo proved more dangerous managing to reduce the gap at just two frames, 9-7 by hitting in breaks of 84, 75, 130, 51 and 79.

However, a lot was at stake, so when the lads returned for the conclusion of their match, Wenbo used a set of breaks (58, 98 and 61) to go in the lead for the first time since the match started, at 10-9.

Ding was sure to draw level, but Wenbo put his nose in front once more, this time with a bit of help from a 85 break, to go 11-10.

Ding's response came immediately under the form of a 80 break to restore the balance, but as before Wenbo fought back to regain the lead with a top break of 50.

The pattern was broken when Ding Junhui hit in breaks of 132 and 70, this winning him the last two frames and also the match.

Another high-quality match and one with a lot of twist and turns was the one that took place between Mark Allen and John Higgins, the Scotsman prevailing by 13-9.

Although the first session was clearly dominated by Allen, who ended it in control at 5-3 up, things started changing a bit during their second encounter.

Higgins used breaks of 84 and 124 to win no less than four consecutive frames and get a well-deserved lead of 7-5.

Allen produced a great 116 to pull back a frame, but Higgins responded with a 72 to restore his dominance, the last two frames being shared as the scoreline was stopped at 9-7.

The last session started with a very eager to come back Allen, a break of 76 helping him to go just one behind his opponent, but Higgins used a 63 and a 120 to restore the two-frames gap.

Allen managed to win frame 20, but all the remaining ones were cashed by Higgins with runs of 46, 49 and 40, for a 13-9 final result.

The Scotsman will now face Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals, "The Warrior" defeating the 2015 world champion, Stuart Bingham 13-10.

Wilson was sure to imposed his style of better cuing from the very beginning of the match almost flying at 5-0 up, ending the first session at 5-3 and the second at 9-7.

When the players returned for their last session Wilson extended his lead at 10-7 thanks to a break of 63, but Bingham hit a outstanding 137 (the biggest break of the tournament so far) to win two on a row and get closer to his opponent.

The reply came in no time, as Kyren won back-to-back frames to go 12-9 up and despite Bingham's effort of winning the 22nd frame with a solid 80 contribution, Wilson wrapped it up for a 13-10 victory.

In other matches, Neil Robertson beat Thailand's Noppon Saengkham 10-4 to set a Last 16 match against Marco Fu, while Barry Hawkins defeated Tom Ford 10-3 and now faces Graeme Dott.

World number one and reigning champion, Mark Selby holds a 6-2 overnight advatage over China's Xiao Guondong, while Stephen Maguire got the best of the first session against Rory McLeod and leads by the same scoreline.

Sunday's match schedule:

Neil Robertson v Marco Fu
Barry Hawkins v Grame Dott

Mark Selby 6-2 Xiao Guodong
Stephen Maguire 6-2 Rory McLeod

Neil Robertson v Marco Fu
Barry Hawkins v Grame Dott

*all hours are UK time

Photos credit: World Snooker