Snooker - Veteran McManus joins O'Sullivan in last eight

Ronnie O'Sullivan came back from 11-9 down to end Joe Perry's resistance 13-11 in a thrilling contest that could fallen either way at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

Snooker - Veteran McManus joins O'Sullivan in last eight

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Alan McManus in action at The Crucible

O'Sullivan trailed his compatriot 9-7 at the conclusion of Friday's session of the second round encounter, Perry having put forth some classy snooker without actually breaking the three-figure mark on a single break in the contest.

McManus, meanwhile, completed a 13-8 win over Ken Doherty to secure a quarter-final spot against fellow former Masters winner Mark Selby. He led 10-5 from the morning session though Doherty came agonisingly close to setting up a maximum break in the 15th frame.

Doherty was out of sorts almost throughout the session, and as he trailed 10-3 his highest break of the match was less than 40.

But from nowhere he pulled out a 71 to pull one back - a frame win that he greeted with a fist pump - then, incredibly, looked set to make a 147 in the next as he had ten reds and ten blacks down.

The balls looked perfectly set to be split, but the Irishman's two goes at going into them both failed to open up the frame as he needed. While he pulled off a brilliant pot on the 11th red and added another black, the plant he needed on the next shot came up short - and he had to settle for an 88 and a five-frame deficit.

O'Sullivan's reward for beating Perry is a match against the winner of Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu match, with the winner of that next clash advancing to the one-table format that traditionally adorns the semi-finals and final.

O'Sullivan and Perry traded the day's first pair of frames to go to 10-8, and after an 82 from 'The Rocket' in the next Perry responded once more to find himself two frames away from a memorable scalp.

However, an unfortunate in-off in the next frame gave O'Sullivan the opening he needed, and thereafter he turned on his trademark style to claim four frames on the bounce, finishing with a pair of centuries - his first since the 117 he had put together back in frame six of the match.

A wonderful 124 clearance in frame 23 put O'Sullivan in front at last before he completed the rally with a 113 finish.

"I just stayed determined right to the end and I was never going to give in," said O'Sullivan. "It was hard because I was coming from behind all the time and he was playing very well. Every time I got close he would pull away

"I was missing a few shots and he got on top of me and I just had to draw on all my experience. I've been here plenty of times and won this a few times so I just thought I need to use that as my ace card and just stick in until something turns around.

"I want to say well done to Joe. He played a part in a really good match. The fans definitely got their money's worth today; that was probably a more important match than any of the finals I've had. It was probably one of the most exciting matches I've had at the Crucible.

"That's the closest I've been to going out for quite a while. The last two tournaments I've won here, I don't think anyone has got that close to me and I've felt in control of most of the matches. But this time I was never in control of at any point and was behind from the off.

"I knew it was going to be close and I thought that's the only way I'd win it because he was playing too well. When someone gets a lead on you it's really hard to peg them back. I knew I was playing well and I knew I had to be patient and make him earn it.

"I think it's about who can handle this venue better. Ding was the form player coming into this, but here I think it takes a special kind of temperament. You don't always have to do really well in other tournaments. The Crucible either brings the best out in you or the worst."

Perry was proud of his performance in defeat. He said: "I just got blown away by the best player there's ever been - what can you do? You put him under all sorts of pressure like that and I gave it everything and he produces that at the end.

"He's so good you've got to accept that he'll win frames in one visit, and his long potting today was fantastic. I'm pleased with my performance, but ultimately I'm absolutely gutted. Maybe five years ago I'd have been plenty good enough to beat him, but he's a different animal now and he just got better and better towards the end.

"It's been an amazing year - my best ever. I'm coming up to 40 and I think there's plenty more to come from me. After the disappointment is over, it will give me confidence going into the new season. I've pushed him all the way and if I can keep that attitude and mind-set in all my matches, I could lift a few trophies."

2013 finalist Barry Hawkins collected eight of the last frames to complete a 13-11 win over Ricky Walden in booking his spot in the quarter-finals.

"To keep grinding matches out like that it just takes so much out of you," said Hawkins. "It was an absolute battle from start to finish. I managed to pot a few balls towards the end but even then I was making hard work of it.

"In the positional play I was losing the white and just making difficult shots for myself all the time when it should be so easy. I'm over the moon to get through and I've got a couple of days off to relax and hopefully I'll play my best snooker in the next match.

"At 9-5 down I was gone but I managed to say to myself 'put a bit of effort in and win these last two frames of the session to stay in the match'. I managed to do that last night and I was over the moon and felt like I'd won the session at 9-7 down, especially the way I was playing.

"Today, I started off well and had a century in the first frame and then the frames went a bit scrappy. We were losing the white a lot and not making the big breaks but I just tried my absolute hardest and I'm just grateful Ricky missed a few at the end and I just managed to pot a few."

Judd Trump enjoys a 6-2 lead over Welshman Ryan Day from their opening session while Dominic Dale moved 7-1 clear of Michael Wasley, who toiled to recover the form that upset Ding Junhui in the first round.

Second round scores/schedule

Saturday, 26 April


Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) 13-11 Joe Perry (Eng)

Alan McManus (Sco) 10-5 Ken Doherty (Ire)


Barry Hawkins (Eng) 13-11 Ricky Walden (Eng)

Judd Trump (Eng) 6-2 Ryan Day (Wal)


Michael Wasley (Eng) 1-7 Dominic Dale (Wal)

Alan McManus (Sco) 13-11 Ken Doherty (Ire)

Sunday, 27 April


Shaun Murphy (Eng) 4-4 Marco Fu (HK)

Mark Allen (NI) 4-4 Neil Robertson (Aus)


Judd Trump (Eng) 10-6 Ryan Day (Wal)

Dominic Dale (Wal) 11-5 Michael Wasley (Eng)


Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Marco Fu (HK)

Mark Allen (NI) v Neil Robertson (Aus)

Monday, 28 April


Dominic Dale (Wal) v Michael Wasley (Eng)

Mark Allen (NI) v Neil Robertson (Aus)


Judd Trump (Eng) v Ryan Day (Wal)

Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Marco Fu (HK)

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