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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 20:57 GMT
Ali shocks O'Sullivan
Stephen Hendry
Hendry has not won a title since September 1999
Pakistan's Shokat Ali upset the form book to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round of the Thailand Masters.

The match went to a tense final frame in which Ali needed two snookers for victory when the last red was still on the table.

The 31-year-old managed to score the required points to take the game to a re-spotted black before claiming his first ranking event quarter-final appearance, with a 5-4 win, after 10 years on the professional circuit.

"It was a brilliant feeling when the black went in, especially the way it all finished," said Accrington-based Ali.

  Quarter-final line-up
Ken Docherty v Shokat Ali
John Parrott v Quinten Hann
Stephen Hendry v Matthew Stevens
Dave Finbow v John Higgins
"I thought I deserved to win because I made it hard work for Ronnie from start to finish," he added.

O'Sullivan, who was magnanimous in defeat, had led 4-3 but committed too many unforced errors to wrap up the match before the tense finish.

Like Ali, Matthew Stevens had to work hard for victory after trailing Adrian Gunnell 3-1.

Stevens then won successive frames on the black to draw level and finally prevailed 5-4.

Dave Finbow also won through to the quarter-finals and in the process equaled his best performance in a ranking event with a 5-1 win over Anthony Hamilton.

Finbow cleared up to snatch the fourth frame on the black with a 66 clearance after trailing 59-1 and finished the job in style thanks to a 131 total clearance - the highest break of the tournament so far which puts the journeyman pro in line for a 2,500 bonus.

In the morning session of the day there was a distinctly Scottish flavour to proceedings as Stephen Hendry and John Higgins both progressed to the quarter-finals.

However their passage to the last eight was vastly different.

For the second successive match Hendry was pushed to a final frame decider.

The Scot finally prevailed against Michael Judge and in the process ended the Dubliner's nine-match unbeaten run.

However Judge looked as if he might be able to extend that sequence into double figures after leading by the odd frame for the majority of the match.

But the world number 46 missed opportunities in each of the last two frames that Hendry won with breaks of 52 and 40 to snatch victory.

"It wasn't a vintage match and I'm just relieved to get through because I'm playing pretty well and feel quite good even if it didn't show it," Hendry said.

John Higgins
Higgins has won only one event in Asia
By contrast Higgins coasted to a 5-1 win over Northern Ireland's Joe Swail.

"It's good to put a reasonable run together here because the points are so big," said Higgins, referring to his efforts to try and close the gap between himself and Mark Williams at the top of the provisional world rankings.

Williams, suffered an unexpected 5-4 defeat at the hands of John Parrott which has given Higgins and other pursuers such as Ronnie O'Sullivan and Hendry the chance to do just that.

"That result was a bit of a bonus for all of us," said Higgins, who fired in breaks of 56, 54, 65 and 71.

Elsewhere Australia's Quinten Hann equalled his personal best in any ranking event with a battling 5-4 win over fifth seed Stephen Lee, who had dropped only two frames in their previous three encounters.

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See also:

13 Mar 01 |  Other Sports
Parrott accounts for Williams
12 Mar 01 |  Other Sports
Hunter crashes out in Thailand
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