Controversy is never too far away from Ronnie O'Sullivan and that was the case again as his shock defeat to Ali Carter was overshadowed by a physical and verbal exchange between the pair.
"It was the Ronnie O'Sullivan show all the time"
Despite going into the tournament as the form player, O'Sullivan had to come from behind against Stephen Maguire in the first round. The Rocket found himself in a similar position again, trailing Carter 9-7 overnight.
Yet O'Sullivan had finished the second session on a high and continued his momentum into Saturday as a break of 66 reduced the deficit to one. Carter responded with a 63 formulation before the contest exploded as the pair battled on the colours. The duo brushed shoulders on their way past each other before exchanging a series of verbal opinions despite being asked to calm down by the referee.
Carter held his nerve to take that frame and the next one to go 11-8 ahead. O'Sullivan responded with breaks of 71 and 59 in frame 20 but lost successive contests to 51 breaks by Carter who celebrated with vocal passion in front of his opponent. He had spent much of the contest not even looking at the match when O'Sullivan was at the table.
Carter had previously described the World Championship as "the Ronnie O'Sullivan show all the time", referring to the Rocket's opinionated nature. Yet Carter explained to the BBC he was "not going to be intimidated" and O'Sullivan admitted his opponent "deserved his victory".
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The Hawk is through but Higgins is flying
Barry Hawkins joins Carter and Mark Allen in the quarter-finals but had to work hard against 20-year old world number 68 Lyu Haotian. The Chinese prodigy manufactured breaks of 91 and 100 as Hawkins failed to pot in the opening two frames of the session, drawing the contest level at 9-9.
The pair then exchanged blows with Haotian winning frame 20 by just one point. However, Hawkins was able to find his range as breaks of 54, 132 and 76 assured him a route into the last eight.
Last year's runner-up, John Higgins, looks set to ease into the quarter-finals after opening an 8-0 lead against Jack Lisowski. A break of 60 in frame two was not enough to get the qualifier on the board as he watched the multi-world champion make breaks of 62, 68, 101, 56 and 68 to move within sight of ending the contest with a session to spare.
Williams and Milkins enjoying the tension
Higgins and Mark Williams are the only former world champions left in the contest and the Welshman is being forced to work hard to stay in this year's event by Robert Milkins. Williams took the opening two frames with breaks of 65 and 87 before Milkins responded with two of his own thanks to 55 and 74 contributions.
The tie remained tense but you would not have realised it with the light-hearted approach both players took in contrast to the Carter-O'Sullivan contest. Williams won frame five with a 53 break before a moment of humour saw him concede the next frame when it was pretty much away from him as he stopped a wayward ball going into the pocket with his hand.
Yet Williams ensured an overnight advantage after winning a tactical frame seven before making the most of a series of errors by Milkins in the final frame of the session to lead 5-3.