Rocket and Whirlwind set for showdown

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN set up a mouth-watering semi-final with his fellow crowd-pleaser Jimmy White.

O’Sullivan, the champion at Wembley ten years ago, fired in a string of sizeable breaks after falling 2-1 behind to Ding, who at 17 had become the youngest-ever Masters quarter-finalist.

The world champion admitted his 6-2 victory was more comfortable than he might have expected against a player he clearly rates highly.

“When you have two players capable of scoring heavily then there’s the danger one of them could run away with the game and Ding could have done the same to me,” O’Sullivan said.

“Technically, he’s as good as anybody in the game, including Stephen Hendry and John Higgins, but he could do with someone like Ray Reardon or Dennis Taylor in his corner, someone who has a bit of craft and experience so that he’ll get there a bit quicker.

Jimmy White’s fans cannot claim they are being short-changed by their hero after the Whirlwind reached the semi-finals in the final frame.

Four days after Matthew Stevens’ exit, fellow Welshman Mark Williams also went down 6-5 to White.

“This, though, was a complete reverse of that match,” said White.

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