Rocket on the up, Doherty out

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s mood improved with his game as he stormed into the quarter-finals of the British Open in Brighton today.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s mood improved with his game as he stormed into the quarter-finals of the British Open in Brighton today.

O’Sullivan, who questioned his snooker future after scrapping past John Parrott in the previous round, fired in two century breaks in defeating Stephen Lee 5-0.

The world champion, who extended his run of victories in ranking events to 13 matches, was far happier with life – with any thoughts of retirement apparently long forgotten.

“There’s no point quoting me because what I say from one day to the next will be different,” the unpredictable O’Sullivan admitted.

“It’s important to play well and put in good performances for your whole well being. I didn’t enjoy my match with John – but I enjoyed that (today).

“The standard is so high that you have to push yourself. It’s not hard to motivate yourself these days because you know you have to.”

O’Sullivan, whose only British Open title success came 10 years ago, opened the match with a break of 127 and ended it with one of 100 to extend his record against Lee to nine victories in 11 meetings.

“The century Ronnie had in the first frame settled him down,” said Lee.

“When I did get a chance I just felt cold.”

As O’Sullivan coasted through, England's Andy Hicks beat Ken Doherty 5-4.

World number two Mark Williams was heading back to Wales after suffering a 5-3 defeat against Nottingham’s Anthony Hamilton.

Williams, who has now lost his last four meetings with Hamilton, was looking to win his first major title since capturing the LG Cup 13 months ago.

But Hamilton played some of his best snooker for some time, knocking in breaks of 53, 82, 71, 69, 90 and 84 to complete another victory over the two-time world champion.

“I always seem to play well against Mark,” he said.

“He appeared to be playing better than he has for a while, but I was flying.”

Ding Jun Hui, the 17-year-old prodigy from Shanghai who beat Jimmy White in the previous round, failed to reach the last eight when he was beaten 5-2 by Glasgow’s Stephen Maguire.

Ding’s progress has attracted huge media interest in China – but after edging 2-1 ahead, he found Maguire too hot to handle.

The European Open champion won the fourth frame with a run of 60, before a 140 total clearance – the highest break of the tournament so far – gave him a 3-2 lead.

Further efforts of 54 and 60 made it 4-2, and a well-crafted 42 clearance brought Maguire victory a frame later.

“I played well, scored heavily and hit the ball nicely,” said Maguire, who tackles Hamilton for a semi-final place.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him with all the coverage. Everyone knows he’s a good player, but time will tell just how good.

“Jimmy didn’t play that well against him, so I thought if I put him under pressure I could beat him.”

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