Ronnie O’Sullivan goes into week two of the World Championship leading world number four Mark Williams 11-5 needing to secure only two further frames to claim victory and move into the quarter-finals.
Williams has endured a torrid run against O’Sullivan at the Crucible – played three, lost three – and that record looks set to continue as the Englishman raced into a commanding lead after resuming 5-3, winning six frames in a row and looking at his fluent best.
Providing he progresses as expected tomorrow, O’Sullivan will meet third favourite and world number three Neil Robertson in the quarter-final.
O’Sullivan’s last Crucible success came four years ago in 2008, and although the popular player is ranked only 13th in the world this season, he remains the 5/2 favourite to claim the World title ahead of higher ranked players Judd Trump (3/1), Stephen Maguire (11/2) and the aforementioned Robertson (10/3), largely due to his three previous wins.
Elsewhere another multiple winner, Stephen Hendry, will take on Maguire in the tournament’s first quarter-final on Tuesday after rekindling memories of past Crucible successes with a crushing 13-4 defeat of another former champion, John Higgins.
Hendry should find the world number seven tougher going, with his fellow Scot the 8/15 favourite to progress to the semis.
Should Hendry overcome this latest obstacle, though, it won’t not just be The Golden Boy championing his case for going the whole way and claiming a surprise eighth title (currently 8/1).