- World Snooker Championship
O'Sullivan and Ding send ominous message
Four-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan moved into the last eight of the World Snooker Championship on Monday, after edging the man he beat in last year's final, Ali Carter, in a high-quality encounter.
Carter, loser to O'Sullivan in the Sheffield final in both 2008 and 2012, returned to the table for the evening's final session just 9-7 down on his vaunted opponent, and remained in touch as the scoreline progressed to 10-8.
But O'Sullivan chose that moment to find an extra gear, frustrating Carter with his safety play before making a series of decisive breaks - the last of them a sumptuous clearance in the 80s - to clinch a 13-8 win and send a warning to his remaining rivals.
"I am pleased to get through," O'Sullivan said afterwards. "Even last year, quite a few times I felt it was slipping away but you have to stick in there and take a pot at time.
"You have to realise it is not a sprint but a marathon. I knew this would be a proper test against Ali. It is not going to get any easy and you just have to keep plodding along."
O'Sullivan will now face Stuart Bingham for a place in the semi-finals, after Bingham defeated Mark Davis 13-10 earlier in the day.
Ding Junhui is also through to the quarter-finals after winning on Monday, with vanquished opponent Mark King suggesting the 2011 semi-finalist is ready to lift China's first ever Crucible title.
Ding won seven of eight frames in a scintillating spell of snooker during the middle of the contest, a show of quality that duly ensured a 13-9 triumph - and had King tipping him for victory.
"In the second session he played awesome," King said. "He was on a different planet and when he's hitting the ball like that I don't think anyone can get near him, even Ronnie O'Sullivan. He's just so good in the balls, hits the ball so sweet."
Ding will now face Barry Hawkins - the victor over world No. 1 Mark Selby - for a place in the last four, and believes he has found his form at the perfect time.
"I'm ready," he said. "Last year I didn't feel good. I put too much pressure on myself and I'm learning from every match I play. I've been doing better in the last few tournaments so I just had to keep that form going."
In the night's final match, Ricky Walden edged a tight contest against Robert Milkins, eventually winning 13-11 to book a meeting with Michael White.