WORLD number one Ronnie O’Sullivan breezed into the Welsh Open quarter-finals at the Newport Centre yesterday, brushing aside Jamie Cope 5-0 in just 56 minutes.
Stoke potter Cope, ranked 18th, let the big-match nerves get to him and couldn’t cope with the Rocket who wasn’t at his imperious best but didn’t need to be with his opponent missing easy chances in every frame.
O’Sullivan will now take on Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen this afternoon after he ended the hopes of home favourite Matthew Stevens with a convincing 5-2 win.
“Jamie missed some ball which you’d expect him to get and it was like an Andy Murray performance really – just capitalising off peoples mistakes,” said O’Sullivan.
“It wasn’t a top class performance where I won the game through my own good play.
“That is probably the worst I’ve ever seen him play,” he added.
“I never look forward to playing him but today he just missed a few and I took advantage of that.”
Laidback as ever, the 34-year-old, played down his chances of success in Sunday’s final but his form so far will have everyone else in the draw looking over their shoulders.
“I don’t really take much notice of the rest of the tournament,” he said. “I just stay in the moment, enjoy the victory and look forward to the next game.
“I always enjoy playing in Newport though.
The crowd is fantastic and it’s good that they come and support this tournament,” he added.
Carmarthen’s Stevens crashed out despite breaks of 106 and 109 and he wasn’t too downhearted about his exit to the in-form Allen.
“I think I only missed two or three pots in the match and he punished me,” said Stevens.
“He played very well and he’ll be a tough man to stop if he carries on like that. I’m disappointed but it was nice to play three matches in four days – I haven’t done that for a while – and it sets me up for the China Open qualifiers and the World Championships.”
Also yesterday afternoon, world number two Stephen Maguire beat Barry Hawkins 5-1.
In the evening session, Cwm's Mark Williams whitewashed Andrew Higginson 5-0, John Higgins beat Graeme Dott 5-1 in the battle of the Scots and Mark Selby beat Mark King 5-3.
* Newport’s Callum Lloyd lost in the semi-finals of the Junior Pot Black title yesterday morning.
The youngster went down 83-46 to Swansea’s Tom Rees who then lost in the final to Llanelli’s Jamie Clarke.
* Today’s order of play: 1pm – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen; Mark Selby v John Higgins; 7pm – Ali Carter v Ryan Day; Mark Williams v Stephen Maguire.