Guodong KOs Higgins at Guild Hall

Ronnie O'Sullivan (above) beat Yan Bingham (eventphotos67)
Ronnie O'Sullivan (above) beat Yan Bingham (eventphotos67)

Xiao Guodong continued his run of good form to knock John Higgins out of the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix at Preston Guild Hall with a 4-3 win.

The world No.29 came cleared up in the decider to beat the four-time world champion and set up a quarter-final showdown with Ronnie O’Sullivan, who caused a stir on Wednesday by describing younger players as “flaky”.

Guodong, who turned 29 on February 10, dismissed world No.5 Higgins, 42, in Preston after beating reigning Masters champion Mark Allen, 31, 4-3 in the first round.

The Chinese player had previously pulled off a major upset after dumping world No.1 Mark Selby out of the German Masters on February 1.

Earlier O’Sullivan, 42, beat Yan Bingtao, 18, to reach the last eight of the competition.

The world No.2, who had trailed the teenager 3-2 before going eventually through 4-3, later said: “I think there are only four or five players on the circuit who have got any bottle.

“John Higgins has it, Stephen Hendry had it in abundance, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby have a bit of it. Other than that, they all get a bit flaky under the cosh.”

Stephen Maguire reached the quarter-finals after ending Michael Georgiou’s eight-match winning streak, also with a 4-3 victory.

He will play Shaun Murphy, who had to fight back from 2-1 down to eventually beat Jack Lisowski 4-2.

Earlier, the first round drew to a close with Selby edging past Jimmy Robertson and Mark Joyce seeing off Kyren Wilson, both 4-3, while Ding Junhui beat Mark King 4-1 and Stuart Bingham earned a 4-2 win over Mark Williams.