The World #Snooker Championships at Sheffield have entered the quarter-final stages with most of the big names still involved. Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson would be many pundits' tips for the title, but any one of the eight players has a chance. Anthony McGill may be the 'dark horse', but he demonstrated his ability by knocking reigning champion Mark Selby out. Shaun Murphy is the other former champion still left in this year's competition, but defeat to McGill is a distinct possibility given the Scotsman's current form.
The final eight players in the best of 25 frame quarter-finals have been paired up as follows:
Anthony McGill (Scotland) v Shaun Murphy (England)
McGill showed his undoubted temperament with a commanding 13-9 victory over Selby in the second round. Assuming that he has learned from his defeat at the hands of O'Sullivan at last year's UK Championships, he has a big chance against Murphy. Joe Perry suffered at the hands of Murphy in the previous round, going down 13-5, indicating that the current Masters' champion is in fine form as well.
The first session earlier today ended 4-3 in McGill's favour. Murphy roared out of the blocks taking the first two frames with century breaks, including a sparkling 125 in frame two. They shared the next two frames, before a surge from McGill established his narrow lead at the interval.
Ding Junhui (China) v Judd Trump (England)
Ding beat four-times world champion John Higgins 13-9 last time out and would be a popular winner in Asia. The former UK Championship title holder and world number one (seeded three currently) will have his hands full with the precocious Trump though. Many inside the game have tipped him as a future world champion. Trump overcame Marco Fu 13-8 in round two with two centuries included.
Their match started this morning, with Trump establishing a commanding 6-2 advantage after the first session. He stormed into a 6-0 lead which included breaks of 102 and 94, before the Chinese player claimed the last two frames.
Barry Hawkins (England) v Neil Robertson (Australia)
Robertson has been in supreme form so far this tournament. A 10-2 victory over Jamie Jones was followed by a comprehensive 13-5 success over Ali Carter. The Australian faces a determined character in the form of Hawkins though. Hawkins edged past Ireland's Mark Allen 13-11 in round two and is a former finalist at the Crucible from 2013.
Stuart Bingham (England) v Ronnie O'Sullivan (England)
Bingham will be the big outsider against 'The Rocket', who has won the title on no fewer than five occasions. Ronnie's biggest issues in this year's event seem to have been with his shoes and with the referee. He was ticked off by referee Olivier Marteel during his second round 13-5 victory over Matthew Stevens for an alleged rude gesture. Bingham's progress has been slightly less controversial. He defeated former champion Graeme Dott 13-5 in the second round and seems likely to provide O'Sullivan's biggest challenge so far in the tournament.
The quarter-final matches will be played on 28th and 29th April. #Television