• Welsh Open

O'Sullivan cruises into Welsh Open quarter-finals

ESPN staff
February 27, 2014
Ronnie O'Sullivan brushed Ricky Walden aside at the Masters © PA Photos

Ronnie O'Sullivan booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open after cruising past Ricky Walden in Newport.

The reigning world champion demolished his opponent at the Masters back in January, when he won 6-0 in the last eight in the space of 58 minutes and went a record 556 points without reply. And he dominated their latest encounter in Wales to pick up a 4-1 victory.

O'Sullivan capitalised on Walden's misses in the opening frame to take a 1-0 lead, and 'The Rocket' edged out the two-time ranking event winner in the second to build a commanding advantage.

A classy century of 103 put O'Sullivan on the brink of victory, but Walden avoided any repeat of a whitewash by making a break of 88 to get a frame on the board. O'Sullivan though clinched the win in the following frame with a run of 86.

O'Sullivan will face John Higgins, who clinched a thrilling 4-3 victory over Judd Trump.

Higgins, who will play his first ranking tournament quarter-final since the Wuxi Classic in June, took a 2-0 lead thanks to runs of 66 and 63 before Judd pulled it back to two frames each.

Higgins took the lead again and had chances to win the match in the sixth, but went in off the brown while trying to escape a snooker. Trump, who lost to Higgins in the 2011 World Championship final, cleared up to force a decider - which proved to be a tense safety battle before a superb double from Higgins into a centre pocket set up a match-winning clearance.

Elsewhere, teenager Joel Walker stunned defending champion Stephen Maguire.

The 19-year-old, tipped as a future world champion by O'Sullivan, beat Maguire 4-3 and will now face Ding Junhui, who whitewashed Scott Donaldson 4-0.

Meanwhile, Mark Selby overcame former Welsh Open champion Ali Carter 4-1 earlier in the day, with Joe Perry upsetting Stuart Bingham 4-3.

In the last final two matches of the day, Barry Hawkins and Marco Fu set up a last-eight meeting after dispatching Liang Wenbo and Mark Williams respectively - both by a 4-2 scoreline.

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