BARRY HAWKINS held his nerve to defeat Ronnie O’Sullivan in a gripping second round clash which went all the way to a decider.
Hawkins battled his way to a memorable 13-12 victory against the five-times world champion in one of the matches of the tournament.
In previous years, Hawkins has suffered heavy defeats to O’Sullivan including a World Championship final three years ago. He was also drubbed in the Masters final in January 10-1.
But tonight Hawkins managed to get his own back in a match which ebbed and flowed both sides of the scale.
It is the first time in seven years O’Sullivan has failed to reach the quarter-final stages of the World Championship.
Having held the advantage for most of the contest, Hawkins looked to have done it when he took a 12-9 lead against the bookies favourite to land a sixth world crown.
But O’Sullivan had other ideas and responded in brilliant style with breaks of 124 and a 147 maximum attempt of 88 to peg Hawkins back to just a single frame.
Hawkins looked like he weathered the Rocket’s storm but a bad kick when potting a red let O’Sullivan off the hook. And a break of 63 allowed him to force a thrilling decider.
And a tense final frame got off to a scrappy start with both players pushing the reds to the baulk side of the table aiming to play safe and give nothing away in return.
But a brave pot from Hawkins found the target which allowed him take a commanding 56-1 lead. But O’Sullivan hit back only for an unfortunate foul to seal Hawkins win.
Victory for Hawkins, his first ever against O’Sullivan, earns him a quarter-final tie against Marco Fu.
Meanwhile Judd Trump’s wait for a first World Championship title goes on after he suffered a 13-10 defeat to Ding Junhui who meets Mark Williams in the last eight.
John Higgins booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 13-8 win over Ricky Walden to set up an all Scots clash tie against Alan McManus.
And Kyren Wilson faces an exciting showdown with world number one and 2014 world champion Mark Selby after beating Mark Allen 13-9.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINALS
Alan McMANUS vs John HIGGINS
Ding JUNHUI vs Mark WILLIAMS
Marco FU vs Barry HAWKINS
Kyren WILSON vs Mark SELBY