Snooker: O'Sullivan storms into quarter-finals
Published 30/04/2013 | 05:00
Ronnie O'Sullivan powered past Ali Carter to clinch his place in the World Championship quarter-finals.
After winning all 12 of his previous matches at major tournaments, including last year's Crucible final, O'Sullivan extended that record to 13 from 13 to win 13-8 and set up a clash with Stuart Bingham.
Carter came from 6-3 behind on Sunday to level at seven frames each, at which point he had O'Sullivan rattled, with the 37-year-old four-time world champion still not at his sharpest following almost a full year out of the sport. But even O'Sullivan in rusty condition proved too potent a potter for Carter, who was floored by a flurry of punishing breaks.
Armed with a 9-7 overnight lead, he edged that out by taking the opening frame with the aid of an audacious long double on the final red.
Although Carter responded with an 86 break, the hint of a fightback was the spur for O'Sullivan to step up his game. He was given a helping hand by Carter, who on each occasion left reds hanging to get O'Sullivan started, but the punishment was decisive as runs of 88 and 106 opened a four-frame gap.
Carter returned from the interval needing to win five frames in a row, and he drove in a splendid long red to start with but made just 27, and soon found himself in a snooker.
He hit the target red but left it for O'Sullivan, who ploughed in 89 to settle the issue.
O'Sullivan said: "It was a tough match and I'm just pleased to have got through. Anyone who says they're not uncomfortable out there is a liar."
Carter suggested O'Sullivan was having all the luck, and added: "I had him bang under it at 7-7 and shouldn't have taken on a long red. If I could have got my nose in front, who knows how he'd have responded? But it was tough, he didn't do anything wrong."
Carter is convinced O'Sullivan can carry off the title. "If his head doesn't fall off, yes he will," Carter said. "But we all know if his head falls off, anyone can beat him.