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World Snooker quarter-finals: Rocket Ronnie battles Bingham

Five-time Crucible king Ronnie O’Sullivan will contest Stuart Bingham in the World Snooker Championship quarter-final, having rocketed past Welsh potter Matthew Stevens with an emphatic 13-5 victory.

The 13/8 outright favourite with Coral dominated his match-up with ‘the Welsh Dragon’, taking a superior 12-4 overnight advantage before quickly clinching the frame he needed to secure progression and set up an encounter with world number 12 Bingham.

O’Sullivan is a massive odds-on 1/7 to topple his two-time ranking event winning opposition, having rallied to an impressive 11-2 head-to-head record in competitive meetings, with his most recent triumph coming in this year’s World Grand Prix semi-final.

Bingham, who was whitewashed 6-0 in that last four clash, is 9/2 to cause an upset over the world number four, who has edged their last three meetings, including a UK Championship semi coup on the way to toppling Judd Trump in the final.

These two potters have a long-standing rivalry, which ‘the Rocket’ has dominated, having both met at this stage of the competition before in 2013 and in the last 32 in 2009, with O’Sullivan triumphing on both occasions.

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Despite showcasing some sublime form in Sheffield so far, five-time world champion O’Sullivan admitted that he is struggling to get himself motivated for his bid to equal Steve Davis’ achievements of six Crucible crowns.

“I built up a good lead [against Stevens] so was happy just to come back for that,” said O’Sullivan. “When you have won it five times and won everything, you don’t really get that excited. I am just happy to still be playing.”

The 39-year-old’s latest comments will be music to his opponent’s ears, with fellow Essex-potter Bingham hoping to overcome ‘Rocket’ Ronnie for only the third time in his career.

Although, the confident cueist managed to keep ‘the Rocket’ grounded in the UK quarter-final in 2013 and is 22/1 to secure a deciding frame victory, with the 38-year-old keen on making a strong start.

“I think the key is not to go 7-0 down before you start. You have to take your chances and I had chances in six of the first seven frames,” stated Bingham. “But Ronnie is the best player in the world, he’s a different breed.”

Bingham is 12/5 to win the race to four frames, while O’Sullivan is available at 8/5 to be leading 3-1 after the opening session.