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Rocket Launch In Shanghai

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Ali Carter 6-3 in the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters, to extend his winning streak in the event to 16 matches.

The Rocket won the previous three runnings of the tournament between 2017 and 2019 and hasn’t lost in Shanghai for seven years. His last defeat in the city came in 2016 against Michael Holt.

This evening’s match was O’Sullivan’s first appearance of his 32nd season on the professional circuit, against an opponent he has fared well against historically. Victory extend’s his winning head-to-head record against Carter to 16-1. O’Sullivan now faces a mouth watering quarter-final showdown with John Higgins.

O’Sullivan took the opening two frames in tonight’s last 16 encounter, before Carter got his first frame on the board. Frame four appeared to be in the balance, with a number of red in difficult positions, but seven-time World Champion O’Sullivan manoeuvred them into the open and cleared with a brilliant 99 to make it 3-1.

Carter, who won the Shanghai Masters back in 2010, refused to fade away and got back into contention with runs of 68 and 83 to restore parity at 3-3. However, 39-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan then produced his best snooker of the match and burst clear to the finish. Breaks of 101, 74 and 81 helped him to three on the bounce to secure a 6-3 win.

“I’d love to win this tournament and even when it was a ranking tournament, it was a fantastic event. It is a great city here in Shanghai and I really enjoy coming to this place. I love to do well in the really big tournaments and this is a very important one,” said 47-year-old O’Sullivan.

“I’ve already put him in my legends list, so everyone knows what I think about John as a player. He has been playing really well so far this season. He looked really good in Germany and has looked phenomenal in his matches here so far. It will be a tough game, but if I can give him a decent match then I will be happy with that.”

Higgins continued his good form this season with a 6-3 win over 2015 Shanghai Masters winner Kyren Wilson. The Glaswegian fired in breaks of 63, 53, 57, 100 and 52 on his way to this afternoon’s victory. The 31-time ranking event winner made the semi-finals at the recent European Masters and will head into his showdown with O’Sullivan full of confidence.

Judd Trump came through a nerve shredding encounter with close friend Jack Lisowski 6-5. Trailing 43-1 in the final frame, he stepped up with a brilliant break of 74 to secure victory.

The Ace in the Pack is seeking a maiden Shanghai Masters title this week, having lost in three previous finals. Next up Trump faces Mark Selby, who also required a deciding frame to beat Hossein Vafaei 6-5.

Mark Williams and Robert Milkins claimed their last 16 spots with respective 6-1 wins over Pang Junxu and Bai Yulu. Williams will now face World Champion Luca Brecel, while Milkins goes up against Shaun Murphy.