Mark Selby sets up Ronnie O’Sullivan showdown at Players Championship

Mark Selby reeled off four frames in succession to beat Barry Hawkins 6-3 and set up a quarter-final clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Players Championship in Telford.

Hawkins dominated the early stages of the match, easing into a 2-0 lead and edging back in front with a break of 91 in the fifth frame after Selby had fought back to level the scores at the mid-session interval.

However, Hawkins made an increasing number of mistakes as the match wore on and Selby took full advantage with breaks of 56, 66, 75 and 67 to advance.

“Barry was getting on top of me from the start, I started off slow and Barry’s had a good season so far,” four-time world champion Selby told ITV4.

“It was a tough game for me because you’re playing one of the top players on form and he’s also a good friend so it’s hard to try to overcome both of them.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s quarter-final with O’Sullivan, Selby joked: “It gets easier next game doesn’t it?

“I cherish every game I play against Ronnie so I’m really looking forward to that. If I play like I did after the interval with that authority and that confidence, then I’ll go into the match with a chance.

Mark Selby
Mark Selby beat Barry Hawkins 6-3 to set up a Players Championship quarter-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan (Steven Paston/PA)

“It’s either very good or unplayable so it makes your job a lot easier going into the match because you know you have to turn up and, if you don’t, you’re going home.”

The quarter-final line-up was eventually completed when China’s Zhang Anda edged past Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6-5 in a contest lasting more than four and a half hours.

Zhang, who came from 5-4 behind and sealed victory with a break of 65 in the decider, will face John Higgins in the last eight.

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