Hamilton Shocks Rocket

Anthony Hamilaton

Ronnie O'Sullivan suffered a surprise exit at the last 16 stage of the Bank of Communication Shanghai Masters, beaten 5-3 by World No 39 Anthony Hamilton.
The Rocket had won eight of his nine previous meetings with Hamilton, but produced a patchy display and saw his two-year drought without a ranking title continue.

"Anthony deserved to win, he was solid," said O'Sullivan. "I had chances but missed some silly balls. It was a 50/50 game but he played well towards the end when it mattered.

"I'll go home and start again. I'm enjoying playing. It would be nice to be back at the top but I don't expect it. I'll just enjoy whatever is left of my career. I've got nothing left to prove and I'm not young any more.
Hamilton, who comes from Nottingham but lives in London and is a former practice partner of O'Sullivan, goes through to the last eight to face Mark King.

O'Sullivan won three of the first five frames, compiling breaks of 92, 65 and 74, while Hamilton made 49 and 107 - his fifth century of the tournament. A fast-flowing match saw Hamilton make runs of 94 and 72 to lead 4-3. He had the first chance in frame eight but missed an easy red on 13, and was fortunate to leave O'Sullivan nothing simpler than a long range red to a baulk corner. The three-times World Champion failed to convert, and that proved his last shot as Hamilton added 63 for victory.

"There was a lot of pressure, the crowd love Ronnie so much here that it's like an exhibition, so it's hard to focus," said Hamilton, who was runner-up in the China Open in Shanghai in 2002. "He struggled and I played great, and that had to happen for me to win.

"I'm a slow player but I find it easy playing Ronnie because you can feed off his speed and rhythm. I've gone beyond my expectations now so I can enjoy the rest of the tournament."

Comeback king Shaun Murphy recovered a 4-2 deficit to beat Mark Allen 5-4. Murphy, who won his first match from 4-1 down against Dominic Dale, won the opening frame tonight with a 102 before Allen took four of the next five with 53, 58 and 100.
A tremendous 143 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament so far, saw Murphy initiate his fight back, and a 77 got him to 4-4. The Sale-based potter then dominated the decider, winning it 68-3.

"It doesn't matter if you win 5-0 in 30 minutes, or 5-4 in three days, you've just got to get to five frames," said 2005 World Champion Murphy, who now plays Mark Selby. "So far I've produced my best when my back has been against the wall, although I would prefer to win matches easily."

World Champion John Higgins faced a tough draw against Australian Goldfields Open Champion Stuart Bingham, but after struggling in the early stages he pulled away to win 5-2 with a top break of 69.

"I think in the first few weeks of the season a lot of the top players were rusty, myself included. But now we're starting to find some form so it's no surprise that the bigger names are getting through here," said Higgins.

Mark Selby saw off Jamie Cope 5-0 with top breaks of 64, 110 and 70. "Jamie could have won either of the first two frames, but from 2-0 up I played really well," said Selby, who has now won nine consecutive ranking matches having triumphed at PTC4 two weeks ago.

Mark Williams was also untroubled as he beat Rob Milkins 5-1 with 54, 57, 130 and 82. The Welshman could lose his World No 1 position to Selby at the end of this event but said: "My ambition last season was to get back to No 1, but I'm not that worried about staying there now. My ambition now is to win more tournaments before I start slipping down the rankings again, and I especially want to win another World title."

Day four results (all last 16 matches)
John Higgins 5-2 Stuart Bingham
Mark Willams 5-1 Robert Milkins
Jamie Cope 0-5 Mark Selby
Mark King 5-3 Fergal O'Brien
Matthew Stevens 5-1 Martin Gould
Ronnie O'Sullivan 3-5 Anthony Hamilton
Shaun Murphy 5-4 Mark Allen
Neil Robertson 5-2 Michael Holt