World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan was forced to a deciding frame in the Welsh Regal Open for the second match in succession before booking his quarter-final place.
O’Sullivan was pushed all the way by Anthony Hamilton last night and had to battle again today before beating Malta’s Tony Drago 5-4.
‘The Rocket’ compiled breaks of 84, 109 and 61 to edge 4-3 ahead but Drago won the eighth with a run of 52.
O’Sullivan began the decider with a 50 and won it at a second visit after Drago broke down on 16.
“I feel sorry for Tony because he’s such a talented player and I don’t like to see him lose,” O’Sullivan said.
“The match felt like it was over in about five minutes but he made it very tough.”
Defending champion Paul Hunter breezed through with a 5-1 victory over Leo Fernandez, the world number 136 who was appearing in the last 16 of a world-ranking event for the first time.
Hunter pinched the opening frame on the black after trailing 65-0 and then made runs of 40, 42 and 77 to lead 3-0.
Although Fernandez claimed the fourth frame, Hunter made it 4-1 with breaks of 66 and 44 and won the sixth on the black to reach the last eight.
“The first frame was the turning point. It could have been a different story if Leo had won that one but it settled me down and I played quite well after that,” said the reigning British Open and Benson & Hedges Masters champion, who now faces Ken Doherty for the third year in succession.