World number one Mark Selby will go head to head with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals of the BetVictor Welsh Open on Friday.
O’Sullivan kept up the tremendous form he has shown this week in Cardiff with a 4-1 victory over China’s Yu Delu. Yu was lucky to fluke a respotted black in the opening frame, but O’Sullivan then reeled off four in a row in just 41 minutes with breaks of 96, 132, 70 and 66.
“I played some reasonable safety and scored well,” said Masters champion O’Sullivan. “I tried to find some rhythm and not worry about the scoreline. I was pleased with how I approached it.”
Selby also showed his class in a 4-2 win over home favourite Mark Williams, highlighted by breaks of 90, 128 and 115. He will now meet O’Sullivan tomorrow afternoon. Match schedule
“I missed a good chance in the first frame but after winning the second I settled down,” said Selby. “I’ve got to know Mark really well in the last few years and we text each other with a bit of banter. He’s the most laid back character you could meet and if he’d beaten me today he would have been giving me some stick on the phone and winding me up, so it was nice to get one over him.
“Ronnie has been the player of the tournament and has played fantastic snooker so it’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to the occasion.”
Defeat for Williams left Michael White as the last remaining Welsh player, and the 24-year-old looks in the mood to win his second ranking title after beating defending champion John Higgins 4-1 with top breaks of 90, 64 and 67.
“It’s a fantastic win, one of the best of my career,” said White. “I’ve just been very laid back and I think that showed in my performance. I didn’t really show signs of any nerves. My phone is going berserk, and that was before today so I’m a bit scared of turning it on! My mum and a couple of friends have come up to watch me and obviously they are over the moon. It’s good for Wales, good for the tournament.”
UK Champion Neil Robertson beat Marco Fu 4-2 with top runs of 126 and 141. “The matches start getting longer now and that always suits the better player, there’s more room for a little bit of luck to go against you,” said the Australian. “It sounds strange but the difference between best of nine and best of seven is a lot. I’m looking forward to starting up the tournament properly now. It’s a fantastic field left with not too many upsets so far. Whoever wins this is going to have to play really well.”
Mark Allen edged out Barry Hawkins 4-3 and now meets White. “Michael is a great player, very aggressive, scores well so it is going to be a tough match,” said The Pistol. “But if I play the way I have been this week then I am confident.”
Last year’s runner-up Ben Woollaston saw off German Masters champion Martin Gould 4-1 with a top run of 78.