Mark Allen produced an impeccable spell of snooker as he saw off a spirited comeback by Joe Perry in the second round of the World Championship.
Allen likely to face Kyren Wilson next
The Northern Irishman held a 5-3 lead overnight against the qualifier but was greeted in the second session by a combination of high-quality break-building and tight tactical play produced by Perry.
The underdog opened the session with a 103, only to watch Allen restore his two-frame cushion with a 69 break. Perry squeezed the next frame before following it up with a 120 to draw level, preceding two tight successes for Allen. Yet Perry was able to take the final two frames of the session to leave the tie locked at 8-8 going into the evening.
However, it was Allen who took the Crucible stage by storm as Perry was forced to sit and watch a fine spell of snooker by the world number 16. Allen edged two of the first three frames but forced Perry to stay in his seat for the other trio, making breaks of 133, 74 and 122 to secure a 13-8 success and a passage into the final eight.
Allen now awaits the winner of Kyren Wilson against Jamie Jones with the former holding a 5-3 advantage. Wilson made breaks of 64, 54, 74, 83 and 64 but world number 51 Jones showed his fighting qualities with two half-centuries of his own and a narrow three-point success when Wilson made his first break of note.
No easy matches for anyone at the Crucible
Ronnie O'Sullivan could have been on the verge of a shock exit had he not produced a late comeback against Ali Carter but the second most decorated player on the planet still has it all to do.
The Rocket exploded into a 2-1 lead with breaks of 121 and 61 before watching Carter win two of his own, including a 115 contribution. A formulation of 96 drew O'Sullivan level before Carter won two more on the bounce to win the opening session 5-3.
Carter has never beaten O'Sullivan, losing two World Championship finals in the process, but played with confidence and swagger as he took the next three frames whilst O'Sullivan missed a number of straightforward chances. At this point, O'Sullivan's long pot success rate was just 30%.
Yet the Rocket hit back from 8-3 behind, winning four of the last five frames and scoring breaks between 54 and 105 in all of them to narrow the deficit to just two going into the final session on Saturday.
Barry Hawkins also holds a slender 9-7 advantage but world number 68 Lyu Haotian continues to battle against the world number six. Hawkins threatened to run away with the tie as breaks of 124, 83 and 61 extended his 5-3 overnight advantage to 8-3. Yet his 20-year old opponent from China won the next four with breaks of 125, 72, 79 and 60 as Hawkins scored just 19 points. However, the Hawk was able to edge a critical final frame to give himself breathing space going into the deciding session.