O’Sullivan in the Quarters

Ronnie O’Sullivan moved within two wins of a fourth consecutive Crucible final by beating Matthew Stevens 13-5 in the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship.

O’Sullivan claimed his fourth and fifth world crowns in 2012 and 2013 then lost to Mark Selby in the final last year. Victory this time would bring him level with Steve Davis on six titles and just one behind Stephen Hendry’s record of seven.

The Rocket has shown only flashes of his mesmerising best so far, though he has conceded just eight frames in his first two matches. He may face a sterner test against fellow Essex cueman Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals.

World number two O’Sullivan led Stevens 12-4 after two sessions, making top breaks of 50, 100, 63, 61, 62, 110, 139 and 61. Welshman Stevens won the opening frame tonight with a 63 before O’Sullivan sealed victory in the next with a 77.

“Matthew started off alright, then I got a foothold in the game,” said 39-year-old O’Sullivan. “I played pretty well in the first session and alright in the second. My mental skills were good in the second session – even though I got frustrated a few times, I was still able to concentrate on the match. I wasn’t happy that I lost my temper a few times, but it was heat of the moment stuff. I wanted to win and play well.

I hate losing, I want to excel at everything I do, including cooking and running. I’ll never get rid of that part of me. I’m better equipped at handling it now and not losing too much energy on it.

“It’s going to be a really tough game against Stuart. He beat me in the UK Championship last season and he’s really improved as a player.”

O’Sullivan, who was warned by referee Olivier Marteel for making a lewd gesture yesterday, added: “The referee was right, he is probably one of the best on tour. He handled the situation really well and I held my hands up to it. It was a warning and if I had done it again it would have cost me a frame, so I was on a yellow card and I knew I had to be on good behaviour after that.”

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