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Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 20:49 GMT
O'Sullivan struggles through
Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan struggled before finishing off Fu

Ronnie O'Sullivan, intent on a successful defence of his UK title, survived some anxious moments against Marco Fu before reaching the last eight.

Fu, trailing 5-3 overnight, levelled at 5-5 to stun O'Sullivan back into life.

'The Rocket' then moved 8-5 clear, helped by breaks of 84 and 66, but a 101 from Fu gave him the next frame.

The world number 27 from Hong Kong also pinched the 15th in the colours before O'Sullivan finally closed out at 9-7 to set up a meeting with Drew Henry.


But O'Sullivan, so often critical of his own form, insists a fourth UK title is beyond him unless he can up his game.

"I know it is in there somewhere, but it's pretty obvious that I am not playing well," he said.

"I am not consistent enough to have any aspirations of winning it. Form goes up and down and at the moment I don't think I can get any worse."

John Higgins joined O'Sullivan in the last eight after holding off a determined challenge from Steve Davis to prevail 9-7.


Trailing 5-3 overnight, Davis won the opening frame of the second session before Higgins rattled in a break of 84 to restore a two-frame advantage.

Davis topped that with an 88 break to again reduce the deficit and after Higgins moved 8-5 ahead, Davis hit back once more, winning frames 14 and 15 before hopes were finally ended.

A generous Higgins afterwards tipped Davis to climb back into the world's top 16.

"He played fantastically well - all credit to him," said Higgins.

"He's definitely better than some players in the top 16 if he carries on like that. It's the way he controls the game, not just his performances."

Peter Ebdon brushed aside Alan McManus, thumping the Scot 9-2.

Much of the damage was done in a first session Ebdon ended needing just two frames for victory.

He quickly added to his lead when play resumed and after McManus delayed the inevitable by winning the 11th frame, Ebdon finished the job.

Ebdon must now halt the winning run of world number 33 Robert Milkins, the surprise package of the tournament, in the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, Mark Williams sent out a clear signal of intent to the rest of the field as he closed out his match with Scotland's Chris Small in impressive style.

The 1999 UK champion led 6-2 at the start of the session and gave Small precious little table time thereafter.

LG Cup winner Small did pull one frame back after slipping 7-2 behind, but a break of 111 gave the next to Williams.


The world number two also hit 67 in the 12th to book a quarter-final clash with five-times winner Stephen Hendry.

"The match wasn't as easy as the scoreline makes it look," said Williams.

"But I am delighted to beat the man in form really. He has been playing really well lately and to win 9-3 is great for me."

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John Higgins & Steve Davis
"The standard of the match was fantastic"

Action from York

BBC Sport Academy

Q&A: Steve Davis

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