Royal London Watches Grand Prix 2008: O’Sullivan races into quarter-finals

It’s Thursday afternoon as the Ronnie O’Sullivan plays Marco Fu in a repeat of last year’s final while Peter Ebdon and Jamie Cope replay their match from Sheffield this year. Click below to read what is going on in both matches…

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-1 Marco Fu

Ronnie O’Sullivan needed barely an hour to see off defending Marco Fu with a terrific 5-1 win this afternoon.

The world number one looked in much better shape than in his match against Liang Wenbo from the very start, though following an excellent safety shot from Fu it took a fluke for him to get in. Still, a break of 73 set him on his way to a 1-0 lead.

Although Fu hit back in the next frame with a superb century break of 116, O’Sullivan was in terrific shape, taking the next two frames to go into the interval with a 3-1 lead. He was cueing perfectly and Marco began to look a bit cold as O’Sullivan kept him off the table. At 4-1 O’Sullivan made a couple of errors but Marco was just unable to capitalise and O’Sullivan completed what turned out to be a surprisingly straightforward victory.

In his post-match interview with Steve Davis, O’Sullivan looked much happier than after his last match and so he should be as he played much, much better today. If he plays like this it is hard to see anyone stopping him this week, though there are still some good players in the draw who will give him a run for his money.

Marco Fu 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-73(73), 116(116)-0, 47-85(57), 0-74(67), 0-76(76), 0-94(39)

Jamie Cope 5-4 Peter Ebdon

2006 Grand Prix finalist came through a match of high drama with Peter Ebdon this afternoon to reach the quarter final stage of this year’s competition.

What a match it was though and with Cope having taken a long first frame, it was all to happen in frame two as Peter had a real chance of what would have been his second maximum. It was a great effort and once a red to the left centre just about crept in to the surprise of commentator Dennis Taylor, it looked to be a near certainty. As ever in this situation, pressure was to tell as having played a very nice pot on the final yellow, Peter agonisingly missed the final green and swung his cue in the air to express his frustration.

To make matters worse, in the next frame Peter broke down on a break of 46 which allowed Jamie to sneak in and restore his lead, though Ebdon responded well with a 62 himself to make it level at the interval. Interestingly at this point Ebdon went over to the referee once Cope had left the arena and appeared to be questioning something, saying that a shot did not look “visually right” and that he wanted to see a TV replay. Not sure what this was about but at that point referee Leo Scullion turned his mic off so we could not hear the rest of the discussion.

Either way, the match continued to be a close one, every frame being win by the player breaking off strangely enough as it went to a deciding frame.

Much like the rest of the match this was mad as Ebdon having needed two snookers remarkably got them to put all the pressure back on his opponent from Stoke. In a cruel twist of fate though it was to be Jamie who then fluked a snooker which Ebdon missed and ultimately lost the match from. A dramatic end to a dramatic match!

Ebdon will be hugely disappointed to have missed out on both the 147 and the win but at least he looked to be in decent form this week. Jamie meanwhile will be relieved and a dangerous opponent for anyone else left in tonight’s draw.

Jamie Cope 5-4 Peter Ebdon 61-39, 0-122(122)(miss green for max), 57-36, 7-65(62), 80(800-46(46), 68(56)-25, 22-81, 81(68)-47