Welsh hopes dashed in Newport
Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens crashed out in the last 16 of the 888 Welsh Open to end home interest in the event.
Last Updated: 16/02/12 10:28pm
Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens crashed out in the last 16 of the 888 Welsh Open to end home interest in the Newport event.
Williams was beaten 4-1 by the in-form Ronnie O'Sullivan, while Stevens fell to a 4-2 defeat to last year's finalist Stephen Maguire.
Williams has failed to beat O'Sullivan in 10 years and that run was extended after the two-time world champion paid the price for errors in the fourth and fifth frames.
The match got off to a fluent start as the players compiled a century apiece from the first two frames.
O'Sullivan, fresh from his 23rd ranking tournament victory in Germany earlier this month, made a sharp start as he forced Williams to spend the opening frame sat in his chair as he effortlessly compiled a break of 125 to take an early lead.
But Williams fought back instantly in front of his home crowd as he punished an early O'Sullivan error to put together a magnificent run of 133 and level.
O'Sullivan reclaimed the lead as a tremendous long shot helped him set up a 90-plus break, and Williams was left kicking himself as he fell 3-1 down after throwing away a winning position.
The Welshman had put together a break of 41 when he missed a red down the side cushion to allow O'Sullivan in for a clearance of 45.
Williams' error was compounded when he missed a long red after a poor positional shot and O'Sullivan made no mistake as he put together a break of 56 to complete another victory over his fellow world champion to set-up a quarter-final against Judd Trump.
The world number four rattled through a 4-1 victory over Stuart Bingham in the evening session, where Mark Selby also defeated Martin Gould by the same scoreline.
In the other afternoon game Maguire stole an early march by taking the first two frames. But Stevens hit back with an excellent break of 84 in the next frame to put himself back in contention.
Maguire quickly reasserted his authority by compiling 111, but Stevens continued to battle hard and his 66 in the fifth frame kept the contest alive.
Stevens looked set to level the match in the sixth frame, but he missed the final red down the side cushion which would have given him the frame, allowing Maguire to make a clearance that clinched his last-eight spot.
The afternoon session also saw world number nine Mark Allen complete a second straight 4-0 win as he brushed aside Stephen Hendry.
An opening frame break of 81 gave Allen the lead before he fought his way back from 58-22 down with the help of a snooker to win the next.
A disconsolate Hendry then conceded the third despite only needing two snookers, and Allen sealed the win with a 68 break in the fourth.
Stephen Lee beat Tom Ford 4-1 in the remaining match as he built on a stunning opening break of 129 to seal a comfortable win.