World Snooker: O'Sullivan finds form to defeat Murphy
WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP
- Crucible Theatre
- 16 April-2 May
- Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC One HD, Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only); updates and reports on Radio 5 live; catch up with BBC iPlayer
Ronnie O'Sullivan booked a tantalising World Championship quarter-final against world number one John Higgins by beating Shaun Murphy 13-10.
Three-time champion O'Sullivan went into the final session with a 9-7 lead, and moved 11-7 up with a 128 break and 12-8 ahead with another century, 119.
Yet Murphy refused to fold, pulling an entertaining match back to 12-10.
But he made a glaring error in the next frame and O'Sullivan produced a 71 clearance to seal a last-eight spot.
Prior to the deciding session of the match, a sublime 95 clearance had put O'Sullivan three frames clear again at 8-5 - but Murphy showed his battling qualities by winning the final two frames on Sunday.
When they resumed on Monday, O'Sullivan took the initiative to lead by three frames after eventually pulling away following a series of fine escapes in a tactical opener.
Superb positioning from O'Sullivan then took the current world number 10 four frames ahead after an attractive 128.
After the Essex player missed a crucial pink during a tit-for-tat exchange in the next frame, Murphy hit back to stay in touch.
O'Sullivan wrested control back with an outstanding break of 119 inside six minutes, featuring some brilliant long potting and accurate doubles.
In the most remarkable frame of the session, O'Sullivan, 12-8 up, somehow missed a simple red when poised to win the match and a determined Murphy duly capitalised.
With O'Sullivan looking vulnerable, stoic Murphy saw out the next frame with the scores poised at 49-49 as superb pressure potting allowed him to push towards a full recovery.
But the tension told eventually when the Irthlingborough potter missed a regulation red in the 26th frame, a position from which O'Sullivan cleared up to seal the win.
"It's a sad day for me if I start admitting I'm pleased to make the quarter-finals," he said. "I might as well turn it in.
"No matter how badly I've played [recently], I've still come to win.
"Making the quarter-finals, it's not about that. It's about being the best, being the winner. There's no way I'm coming here to get to the quarters.
"After the performances [of late], you'd have to make John [Higgins] favourite [to make the semis] because he's got to be playing better than that. I'd be surprised if he's not."