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O’Sullivan On Course for International Success

The International Championship has reached the quarter-final stage with a relatively unexpected line-up still gunning for the title in Chengdu.

O'Sullivan's last ranking event success was at the  2014 Welsh Open - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

O’Sullivan’s last ranking event success was at the 2014 Welsh Open – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Ronnie O’Sullivan remains the heavy favourite as he made light enough work of Li Hang’s challenge in the last 16 on Wednesday.

The five-time world champion didn’t score as heavily as he did in the previous round but repeated the scoreline for a second successive 6-1 victory.

China’s Li had chances to make the encounter close but was unable to capitalise and a ruthless O’Sullivan took advantage.

Despite being in the tougher half of the draw, it would legislate as a bit of a surprise if the ‘Rocket’ doesn’t go on to capture glory on Sunday.

One feels that, even though he has given his opponents opportunities in each of his clashes so far, the 38 year-old has an extra gear in him if he needs it.

Furthermore, O’Sullivan tends to play better the longer he is still in contention in a tournament and it is possible that his best snooker is still to come.

The seven others in the draw will be doing their best to ensure the Englishman’s name isn’t etched on the trophy already though.

Welshman Mark Williams is O’Sullivan’s next foe but the two-time world champion has a diabolical head-to-head record and has not beaten Ronnie in over a decade.

The other most dangerous player left is arguably Mark Allen, who is also in the top half of the draw with O’Sullivan.

They could meet in the last four stage but first the Northern Irishman, who overcame Shanghai Masters champion Stuart Bingham in the third round, must tackle another challenge from Wales in Michael White.

White has been enjoying a good season, this being his second ranking event last eight appearance in a row, and is a dangerous scorer when in the right frame of mind.

The bottom half of the draw is wide open.

Marco Fu and Robert Milkins face each other after respective 6-4 triumphs over Rod Lawler and Xiao Guodong while Jamie Burnett takes on Ricky Walden in the final contest.

Any notions that 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon was going to be a dark horse were certainly dismissed by Scotland’s Burnett, who surged into a 5-0 lead and eventually ran out a 6-2 victor.

It is a fantastic chance for any one of those four players to reach the final of this lucrative tournament.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking 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.