Ronnie O'Sullivan facing battle against in-form Barry Hawkins
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 28/04/16 6:15pm
Ronnie O'Sullivan's quest for a sixth World Snooker Championship is under threat after in-form Barry Hawkins edged the first session of their quarter-final.
Hawkins, beaten by O'Sullivan in the 2013 final, will take a 5-3 advantage into Sunday afternoon's resumption after a high-quality opening which included three centuries.
O'Sullivan dropped the first frame, but bounced back with a superb 139 total clearance and went on to raise early hopes of a maximum in frame three, but after firing 25 and splitting the reds beautifully, he missed a black off the spot.
And if O'Sullivan ever doubted he had a battle on his hands, the size of his task was underlined as Hawkins calmly responded by clearing up with a 102 to take a 2-1 lead.
Back-to-back breaks of 88 and 102 nudged O'Sullivan back in front, but Hawkins got the better of each of the last three, more attritional frames of the session to establish his two-frame overnight lead.
Elsewhere, World Snooker confirmed it will bring forward a scheduled replacement of cloth and cushions at the Crucible following complaints by players.
Ali Carter criticised what he called the worst conditions of his career after letting slip a 9-7 overnight lead to lose his second-round match 13-11 to Alan McManus in the morning session.
Carter, a two-time Crucible runner-up, said: "The conditions were absolutely horrific - there were kicks every other shot and big bounces.
"I don't think I've played on a table that bad in my career. It's the same for both players but it's how it affects you mentally."
The 36-year-old lost the first four frames of the morning session to hand the initiative to McManus, who duly booked his last eight place for the second time in three years at the age of 45.
The evening session saw Mark Selby squeeze past Sam Baird 13-11 in a late-night thriller.
Selby had looked on course to coast into the last eight when consecutive breaks of 134 and 84 helped him ease into an 11-7 advantage at the start of their evening session.
But Baird rattled off four frames of his own only for Selby to edge two scrappy frames and inch into the last eight, where he will face either Mark Allen or Kyren Wilson.