FIVE TIMES world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan could become snooker’s greatest century maker of all time later today (Thursday) when he plays Marco Fu in the Dafabet Masters quarter-finals.
O’Sullivan equalled Stephen Hendry’s landmark record of 775 career centuries to wrap up a comfortable first round victory against Ricky Walden on Tuesday.
And O’Sullivan, a strong favourite to beat the Hong Kong star according to bookmakers, will have all eyes on him once again as one more century break during the contest -starting at 1pm – will see him overtake Hendry’s name in the record books.
O’Sullivan whitewashed Fu in the pair’s last meeting at the Champion of Champions event back in November but the Hong Kong star goes into the last eight encounter on a real high after making just the third 147 maximum break in Masters history in his first round win over Stuart Bingham.
The tournament, one of the most prestigious in the snooker calendar, has already seen a number of shocks with reigning world champion Mark Selby and recent UK Championship finalist Judd Trump suffering early exits.
Selby, who is enduring a fairly quiet season on the table following his Crucible triumph last year, suffered a final frame defeat to Shaun Murphy despite fighting back from 5-1 down. And Trump failed to build on an early 2-0 lead as he fell to a 6-4 loss to Stephen Maguire who is in a good reign of form after winning the Lisbon Open last month.
Last night (Wednesday) saw Joe Perry cause another surprise as he held his nerve to clinch an impressive 6-3 win over an out-of-sorts Ding Junhui. China’s number one star has now suffered early exits in the last three BBC screened major tournaments – World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.
Mark Allen came back from 2-0 down to beat John Higgins on Wednesday in an entertaining and high scoring contest and former Masters winner Neil Robertson hit consecutive breaks of 95, 117 and 76 to beat Robert Milkins 6-4.
Robertson will meet Ali Carter in the next round who produced one of his best displays since returning to the sport following his treatment for lung cancer. The Essex potter, who has now been given the all clear following months out of the game undergoing chemotherapy, beat Barry Hawkins 6-1 making a top break of 130 in the process.
Dafabet Masters – Quarter-Final Draw
Ronnie O’SULLIVAN vs Marco FU
Ali CARTER vs Neil ROBERTSON
Joe PERRY vs Mark ALLEN
Stephen MAGUIRE vs Shaun MURPHY