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Sheriff Guns Down The Rocket

Anthony Hamilton won the final three frames to oust 2009 champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 and progress to the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters in China.

The ‘Sheriff or Pottingham’, named so for his time living in Nottingham, produced his third excellent display of the week as he reached the last eight in a ranking event for the first time since the 2009 Welsh Open.

The first four frames were shared with a quartet of big breaks that included a 107 from Hamilton – his fifth century of the week so far – before favourite O’Sullivan appeared to grab some control by taking the lead at 3-2.

However, Hamilton beat the former world number one for only the second time in his career by easily claiming the final three frames to book a meeting with another Essex cueist in Mark King.

At the end of the match, when his opponent was still at the table with the opportunity for another century break, O’Sullivan offered his hand in defeat prematurely which seems to suggest the goodwill of last week has passed already.

King defeated Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien 5-3 in a drawn-out battle that has typified the Dubliner’s campaign so far.

O’Brien would probably have marginally been the favoured player going into the clash having performed so well in the Players Tour Championship events this summer but King has always been a dangerous and unpredictable opponent.

The Englishman pulled away from 3-3 and has eased concerns that he may drop out of world’s top 32.

Meanwhile, Neil Robertson saw off the challenge of Michael Holt 5-2 to go beyond the last 16 of a ranking event in China for the first time in his career and will hope to continue his advance with a triumph over world champion John Higgins tomorrow, who beat Australian Open champion Stuart Bingham by the same scoreline.

The race for the world number one spot at the October cut-off point is heating up nicely with both current holder Mark Williams and challenger Mark Selby comfortably winning today.

The Welshman conquered Robert Milkins 5-1 while Selby thrashed Jamie Cope 5-0 to ensure a final between the pair could yet occur.

Realistically, Williams needs to have a better tournament than Selby if he wants to hold on to the top spot as the Englishman is ahead in the provisional standings with only two PTC events before the official update in the standings.

Williams will play compatriot Matthew Stevens for a place in the semi-finals after the Championship League champion saw off Martin Gould 5-1 while Shaun Murphy came from 4-2 behind to Mark Allen to book a meeting with Selby.

2005 world champion Murphy may feel that it is his lucky tournament having already come from 4-1 behind in his opening round match to Dominic Dale.

To view the full draw, click here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.