Ronnie O’Sullivan stormed to a 6-1 rout of Jack Lisowski to book his place in the Quarter-Finals of The 2022 Masters on Tuesday, as Mark Selby saw off Stephen Maguire.
Crowd favourite O’Sullivan delighted a sell-out Alexandra Palace audience with a dominant display to kick-start his quest for an eighth Masters title.
The recent World Grand Prix champion reeled off five consecutive frames to set up a Quarter-Final show-down with Neil Robertson on Thursday.
“I’m always nervous before any match. Some tournaments bring out the dark side in me, it was tough but I am tough and the snooker gods say ‘time to calm down and play some snooker’,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.
“It’s hard to carry 2,000 Londoners – when you are from here – supporting you. The pressure was on and I felt like I had to deliver, if I didn’t I would have felt bad. The fans have supported me and I have to give something back.
“I’m starting to enjoy the game again and feel like I can dominate the table.
“I’m just enjoying myself, I’ve got nothing to prove, it’s up to everyone else to try and catch what I’ve achieved in the game.
“I could probably have a stinker in the next match, but I’m having fun so I’m just going to keep enjoying it.”
O’Sullivan secured the opening frame before Lisowski hit back superbly with a break of 104 to draw level.
From there on in, though, it was one-way traffic as O’Sullivan made an 86 clearance to regain the lead before adding a break of 63 to move two clear at the interval.
A vintage 127 clearance saw ‘The Rocket’ extend his lead, and further contributions of 64 and 125 put the gloss on an emphatic victory.
Lisowski, who remains without a win at The Masters, admitted: “Playing Ronnie out there is like playing Roger Federer at Wimbledon, it’s going to be extremely tough to win.
“Once the top guys relax you are really on the back foot, I messed up in the third frame and that was my chance.”
Three-time Masters Champion Selby avenged last year’s defeat to Maguire with a 6-3 success to safely advance to the Last Eight.
The reigning World Champion was far from at his brilliant best for most of the contest but dug deep to punish Maguire’s unforced errors.
After Selby had edged a marathon 45-minute opening frame, Maguire hit back with a break of 87 to level.
Maguire then went in-off on a red amid a golden opportunity to win the third frame and Selby seized his reprieve to go back in front, but the Scot made a 49 break in frame four to restore parity.
A run of three consecutive frames after the restart saw Selby power into a 5-2 lead with a top break of 64 along the way.
Maguire stopped the rot courtesy of a break of 84, but only for Selby to kill off the match in the following frame and set up a meeting with Barry Hawkins.
“I’m happy to get the win, it wasn’t pretty but I played some good matches this year and got beaten. It is nice to not be at the top of my game and come through,” admitted Selby.
“It is great to have the crowd back, we have been playing behind closed doors for 12 months and it hasn’t been the same.”
Masters Snooker 2022 Day Three Results
Tuesday January 11
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 Jack Lisowski
Mark Selby 6-3 Stephen Maguire