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Rocket Earns Pistol Clash

RonnieRonnie O’Sullivan produced his best performance of the season so far to beat David Gilbert 4-1 at the European Masters.

The Rocket will now face Mark Allen in the last 16 on Wednesday at 7pm in a showpiece clash at Romania’s first ever pro snooker tournament.

Breaks of 87, 77 and 68 helped O’Sullivan build a 3-0 lead in just 33 minutes. Gilbert pulled one back with a 74 and had chances in frame five, but couldn’t take them and O’Sullivan won it with runs of 50 and 41.

Chigwell’s O’Sullivan didn’t play until December last season but has stated his intention to play at least a dozen tournaments in 2016/17. His campaign started at last month’s Shanghai Masters and the 40-year-old feels he is gradually building form.

“Today I felt a bit more confident among the balls and made a few more breaks,” he said. “There are so many tournaments that you are bound to play well in some of them. David is one of the best cueists on the tour so it’s a good result for me tonight, and Mark Allen will be a great test in the next round.

“Last season I had a lot of stuff to sort out away from the table, I got myself into a bit of a twist. Hopefully I can put that behind me now and play a proper schedule. As long as I put the work in, I’m sure there will be one of two tournaments where I catch fire and pick up some silverware.”

World number three Shaun Murphy may have made a 147 in the qualifying rounds for this event last week, but he didn’t last long in Bucharest as he lost 4-1 to Mark Davis.

DavisDavis, ranked 30, took a scrappy opening frame on the colours then added the second with a 42 clearance. Murphy pulled one back before a run of 100 from Sussex’s Davis put him 3-1 ahead. And a series of errors from former World Champion Murphy in the fifth frame allowed his opponent to clinch victory.

“Luckily for me, Shaun wasn’t at his best today,” admitted Davis. “He has just become a dad so maybe he has been spending more time changing nappies than practising. I had to take advantage and it’s a great result for me. I have been struggling with my game over the past 12 to 18 months and missing too many easy balls. I have been working on a few things to try to improve and it feels good in practice. I still made some errors today but wins like this will give me more confidence.”

Scott Donaldson reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the third time in his career with a 4-3 win over Luca Brecel. From 2-0 down, Scotland’s Donaldson won three frames in a row, making three breaks of 52. Brecel levelled the tie before Donaldson won a scrappy decider 60-16.