Ding Junhui believes he must improve further if he is to win this year’s Betfred World Championship.
The 31-year-old cruised into the quarter-finals yesterday with a 13-4 victory over top-16 rival Anthony McGill.
The Sheffield-based potter produced one of the best sessions of snooker at this year’s tournament, romping into a 8-0 lead at the Crucible.
Returning yesterday leading 12-4, the Chinese star quickly wrapped up victory to secure a last-eight meeting today with Barry Hawkins.
Ding is the top seed remaining – after Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered early exits – and many pundits believe he can finally add an elusive world title to his UK and Masters trophies.
“I think I need to play well to be the favourite and keep my form at the same level every day,” he said. “Otherwise, I can’t be the favourite.
“I still need to improve and I need to stay focused. There’s a long way to go and a lot of frames to play.
“The final is still far away. I’m just thinking about the next match, that makes it easier.”
On his match, Ding said: “The first session was unbelievable. I played well to lead 8-0 and to end the second session 12-4 up was good as well.
“(Yesterday afternoon) I was able to get a quick frame to win it. I felt good. I was playing well and I’m looking forward to the next one.
“Barry Hawkins is a tough player to beat so it’s going to be a difficult match.”
McGill said: “I thought I had a good few chances, but I just kept missing easy shots.
“When you get beat you’re always going to look at it from your point of view and I know there was so much I could have done better. Ding can only do what he does. He’s a phenomenal player, his cue ball control is just out of this world. His technique is to die for. He is some player and it’d have been great to have a front row seat watching it.”
Judd Trump secured his place in today’s quarter-finals by beating Welshman Ricky Walden 13-9.
World No 4 Trump sealed a last-eight clash against four-time winner John Higgins with a final-frame clearance of 103. The pair were locked at 8-8 overnight, but Trump, 28, won five of their six frames yesterday with the help of three half-century breaks.
World No 27 Walden, 35, won yesterday’s opening frame to edge 9-8 ahead.
But Trump took the next five with runs of 66, 70, and 66 before finishing with his fourth century in the last.
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen had already booked his last-eight clash with Kettering’s Kyren Wilson.
Two-time world champion Mark Williams booked his quarter-final spot following a 13-7 win over Robert Milkins.
With the Welshman needing just three frames to set up a last-eight clash with Ali Carter, who knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan, Williams opened the evening session with a match-high 101 break to move 11-6 ahead.
Milkins replied to take the 18th frame, but Williams ensured an early finish to the evening session with a run of 83 in the next before clinching the match with another half-century break.
A rejuvenated Williams won his first ranking title since 2011 at the Northern Ireland Open, before success at the German Masters this season.
The 43-year-old is looking to reach his first Crucible semi-final since 2011.
He said: “I’m in the quarter-finals and there’s only three more matches to go; anyone can win it. I’m just looking forward to playing now.
“If I can carry on playing the way I finished off (last night) I’ll be much happier.
“I’m playing some of the best stuff I’ve played in a long time. How long it will last I don’t know.
“It will be an interesting test after this season to see how I get on next season. If I can continue playing the way I am, or if this is just a one season fluke.”