Ronnie O’Sullivan marches on amid string of shocks at International Championship

The Rocket has gone favourite to win in Tianjin.

Ronnie O’Sullivan marches on amid string of shocks at International Championship
2023 Wuhan Open - Day 4
Ronnie O’Sullivan is hunting down his first ranking title in 18 months (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has progressed to the quarter-finals of the International Championship quite serenely, while a string of other big names have fallen early in Tianjin.

The Rocket faced a potentially tricky test in Anthony McGill on Wednesday but saw off the Scot 6-2 to set-up a clash with old rival Ali Carter in the last eight.

The world number one knocked in a 133, taking his tally of centuries at this event to six as he looks to win this event for the first time.

Carter is his next challenge after the Captain impressed with a 6-1 win over Daniel Wells in the last 16, with two more tons meaning he has as many centuries as the Rocket in Tianjin.

There were shocks earlier on Wednesday as John Higgins was beaten 6-3 by Jordan Brown and Mark Selby lost by the same scoreline to Tom Ford.

That leaves a very open top half of the draw as Brown goes on to play Stephen Maguire, while Ford will meet Bary Hawkins.

Maguire made three centuries in a 6-4 victory over Ryan Day, while Hawkins produced a remarkable comeback to beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-5.

The Hawk found himself 1-5 behind and in serious trouble, with the Thai star making breaks of 114, 88 and 82, but the Englishman reeled off five frames on the spin to progress.

‘Little bit in shock, to be honest with you, I was completely not in the game at the start, missing balls and just not with it at all,’ Hawkins told WST.

‘Something, I wouldn’t say clicked, but I played a little bit better and I could tell Thepchaiya was a little bit nervous. I just kept trying hard, I didn’t play great but kept battling away.

‘I can’t remember the last time I won a match from that far behind, so I’m absolutely delighted.’

The other quarter-final in the bottom half will have plenty of local interest as Chinese superstar Ding Junhui meets his compatriot Zhang Anda, who has been in fine form.

Ding downed Pang Junxu 6-2, while Zhang beat Lyu Haotian 6-3 in a quarter dominated by Chinese players, and one will progress to meet either O’Sullivan or Carter in the semis.

International Championship quarter-final schedule

Thursday 09 November
06.30am UK time
Stephen Maguire vs Jordan Brown
Tom Ford vs Barry Hawkins

11.30am
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ali Carter
Zhang Anda vs Ding Junhui

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