Snooker: O'Sullivan hits top gear to close on semis

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan produced a stunning burst of form to establish a 7-1 lead over Stuart Bingham in their quarter-final match at the World Championship on Tuesday.

O'Sullivan is playing in his first major tournament in over a year and complained of feeling "tired and jaded" after overcoming Ali Carter in the second round, but the 37-year-old unleashed a devastating display against Bingham to close on the semi-finals.

The four-time world champion produced two century breaks, including a break of 133 in the sixth frame, and five breaks of over 50 to leave Bingham clinging on for dear life at the Crucible in Sheffield.

Bingham, the world number eight, finally salvaged a measure of pride by edging the final frame of the session in the best-of-25 frame contest, which resumes on Wednesday.

Speaking on the BBC, former world champion Ken Doherty said: "He was fantastic. There's nobody better to watch. It's effortless, and that's the beauty of his talent."

If he reaches the semi-finals, O'Sullivan will face either Shaun Murphy or Judd Trump.

Murphy, the 2005 champion, established a 6-2 lead in the first session of their encounter, with Barry Hawkins leading China's Ding Junhui 5-3 at the end of their opening session.

The day's other quarter-final saw Englishman Ricky Walden take a 6-2 lead over Welsh qualifier Michael White.