Welsh Open 2021 - Ronnie O'Sullivan's perfect run ends but beats Zhou Yuelong to reach last 8
Ronnie O'Sullivan powered into the quarter finals with a 4-1 win over Zhou Yuelong. Judd Trump’s quest for a fifth title of the season came unstuck at the hands of Hossein Vafaei, but the Iranian went no further than the fourth round after falling at the hands of Mark Williams who has made it clear he wants to win his home event to honour the late Doug Mountjoy.
‘It is there! What a clever shot!’ – O’Sullivan sinks incredible long red
After whitewashing his opponents in the first three rounds, O’Sullivan made it 13 unanswered frames in the event when taking the first against Zhou.
All aspects of his game appear in synch, as he produced a stunning safety at the start of the first frame and it enabled him to knock in a break of 67 to clinch the opener.
‘I hope we get to see that again!’ – O’Sullivan’s incredible safety against Zhou
O’Sullivan kept Zhou cold for much of the second frame, as a break of 64 from the 45-year-old was enough to open up a cushion.
Zhou is on the cusp of breaking into the world's top 16 and he showed his quality with a brilliant opening red in the third, but he could only muster a break of 29. The 23-year-old had further chances as O’Sullivan’s level dipped a shade, but he could not make them count and the world champion stepped in with an 89 to move within one frame of the quarter finals.
‘Look at that!’ – Zhou shows class with brilliant opening red
O'Sullivan had the chance to make it 16 unanswered frames, but he proved he is fallible by breaking down on 47. He left an inviting table and Zhou produced an excellent clearance of 87 to avoid a whitewash.
Zhou taking the fourth frame gave O’Sullivan something to think about and the Chinese youngster had the tournament favourite in a spot of bother at the start of the fifth.
However, O’Sullivan spied a long red with the cueball in the jaws of the green pocket and he executed it to perfection. Within a couple of shots he had opened the reds and crafted a match-winning chance - which he took in style with a superb break of 74.
‘I can’t compete with these guys’ - O’Sullivan on how he has adapted his game
Mark Williams has spoken of his determination to win the event to honour the late Doug Mountjoy, and he powered into the quarter finals with a 4-2 win over Hossein Vafaei.
‘That is just amazing’ – Williams opens match with crafty plant
Vafaei, who toppled Judd Trump earlier in the day, produced some decent play but missed some easy balls and paid the price against Williams who knocked in breaks of 83, 79 and 90.
Williams will meet Tom Ford in the quarter finals following his 4-3 win over Jack Lisowski.
‘It is easy for you lot to say that!’ – Williams bristles in Eurosport studio
The defending champion remains on course for a second successive win, but Shaun Murphy was forced to dig deep to beat Barry Hawkins 4-3 - and he will meet Stephen Maguire in the quarter finals following the Scot's win over Pang Junxu.
Trump’s loss earlier in the day has opened up the race for the European Series Order of Merit, and Mark Selby is in with a hunt of leapfrogging the world number one.
Selby battled to a 4-2 win over Masters champion Yan Bingtao to close in on Trump.