Magic Maximum for Rocket

Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a vintage performance of speed and guile as he fired in a record-breaking eleventh 147 break of his career on route to the last 16 of the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth.

The Rocket had already easily dispatched of Turkey’s Ali Kirim and Anthony McGill of Scotland to the loss of just a solitary frame before turning on the after burners against Adam Duffy in the third round of PTC 4.

The 4-0 victory over his fellow Englishman already appears convincing on the face of it but quite literally only tells half the story.

After racing into a 2-0 lead, O’Sullivan quickly orchestrated his way around the table in typically fluent fashion in a break that had a big crowd in Germany engrossed.

By the time the three-time world champion had reached the colours the feat was already a certainty but, as always, there were a succession of magical shots along the way.

The third last red into the green pocket while screwing back off the cushion for the black and the final red with the cue-ball directed in and out of baulk to pinpoint accuracy were just two that can be mentioned here.

In the following frame, the unthinkable looked on as the PTC 1 champion began the red-black sequence once more and there was the potential for a maiden back-to-back maximums in competitive play.

But the former world number one missed a relatively simple black off the spot on 89 to deny the spectators a moment of history.

Still, O’Sullivan is in ominous looking form and the question is, how long can he maintain it?

O’Sullivan will meet China’s Li Yan on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals after the 18 year-old shocked world champion John Higgins 4-3.

Yan came from 2-0 behind to go within a frame but the Scotsman forced a decider before a scrappy, tense deciding frame was claimed by the teenager.

It continues a relatively poor start to the season for Higgins who has failed to make the business end of a ranking event so far.

Mark Selby didn’t drop a single frame in his trio of triumphs – the last of which came against amateur Craig Steadman, who had impressively ousted Ian McCulloch and Barry Hawkins earlier in the day.

Selby will meet Andrew Higginson after the Englishman knocked out defending champion Judd Trump in the third round 4-3.

Elsewhere, Stephen Lee continued his good form as he easily disposed of his opposition to book a meeting with countryman Joe Jogia in round four.

The other half of the round of 128 takes place tomorrow with the likes of two-time champion Shaun Murphy and Ken Doherty in contention, as well as the all-Irish clash between Fergal O’Brien and Joe Delaney.

In the much-anticipated final amateur round encounter between Ben Harrison and Allan Taylor, the former overcame ‘The Assassin’ 4-2.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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