World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan loses to Barry Hawkins

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
2016 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs and online.

Ronnie O'Sullivan failed to reach the World Championship quarter-finals for just the second time in 13 years as he suffered a thrilling final-frame defeat against Barry Hawkins.

Five-time champion O'Sullivan looked to be in desperate trouble at 12-9, but hit breaks of 124, 88 and 63 to level.

World number 11 Hawkins fluffed his first chance in the decider.

But, after O'Sullivan carelessly went in off, Hawkins wrapped up the win and will play Marco Fu in the last eight.

Until this Crucible decider, Hawkins, who went into the final session leading 9-7, had not beaten O'Sullivan in 10 matches over 14 years.

His sole victory came in their first meeting in 2002.

But Hawkins showed commendable nerve to hold off an opponent who scored four tons and eight fifties in a performance full of devastating long potting and astonishing break-building.

"He makes it look so effortless sometimes," said Hawkins, the only player to have reached the semi-finals in the past three seasons.

"It winds me up to be honest. There's me twitching about and he's flowing.

"I don't know what he thought of his performance, but overall I thought he played really well.

"I am pleased with the way I held myself together because it was the most pressure I have ever been under. It was never in doubt!"

I struggled to handle pressure - O'Sullivan

Decider was 'toss of a coin'

O'Sullivan said playing a tense final frame counted against him and also apologised for his media no-show after his first-round win over Dave Gilbert.

"For various reasons, I wasn't in a fit state to really come and speak to you guys," he said.

"It wasn't that I was being arrogant or thinking I'm shirking my responsibilities."

As for the final-frame loss to Hawkins, he said: "If it hadn't been that type of scrappy frame, I would have fancied my chances.

"When a frame goes like that, it's a toss of a coin.

"I'm a bit ring rusty. If there was a weakness in my game, it was definitely on the tactical side because I haven't played a lot really."

Higgins coasts past Walden

On the other table, four-time world champion John Higgins secured his 11th Crucible quarter-final appearance but only his first since he won the tournament in 2011.

Resuming 10-6 ahead, the 40-year-old Scot capitalised on an error-strewn first frame by Walden to stretch his lead to five frames.

Although the ninth seed won the next two with breaks of 62 and 84, Higgins knocked in successive 90 breaks to win 13-8 and set up a meeting with fellow Scot Alan McManus.

Higgins, who has won the title on the three occasions he has made the quarter-finals, said: "Ricky didn't play at his best but I'm just delighted to get through.

"It will be great to play one of my best mates on tour."

World Championship quarter-final ties
Alan McManus (Sco) v John Higgins (Sco)
Mark Williams (Wal) v Ding Junhui (Chn)
Marco Fu (HK) v Barry Hawkins (Eng)
Mark Selby (Eng) v Kyren Wilson (Eng)

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