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Hossein Vafaei talks up last-16 World Championship showdown with Ronnie O'Sullivan

Hossein Vafaei says that he is targeting "revenge" against Ronnie O'Sullivan after a previous war of words with the seven-time world champion.

Hossein Vafaei has suggested that he is relishing the "opportunity for revenge" against seven-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

On Monday, Vafaei produced some of his best snooker to topple 16th seed Ding Junhui, registering five breaks in excess of 57 to secure a 10-6 win.

The Iranian player will now square off versus O'Sullivan, who shook off the effects of a virus to battle past Pang Junxu by a 10-7 scoreline on Saturday.

O'Sullivan is the heavy favourite to progress further at the Crucible, but his last-16 showdown with Vafaei is set up to be the most anticipated encounter of the tournament thus far.

The pair have exchanged words through the media over the past 12 months, Vafaei claiming in the past that O'Sullivan is "not good for the game".

Since then, O'Sullivan has said that Vafaei has "learned to be quiet", but the world number 23 has hinted that he is motivated to overcome a player who he used to call his idol.

After beating Ding, Vafaei said, as quoted by BBC Sport: "He is a legend of the sport but he is such a nice person when he's asleep.

"He disrespected me before and God has given me an opportunity for revenge, so it depends on me. I have to stand up in front of him if I want to be world champion. Get your popcorn, everyone."

The pair have only squared off on three occasions, Vafaei winning 5-0 in the early stages of the 2022 German Masters in their last encounter.

O'Sullivan had prevailed in the first two contests, at the 2019 English Open and 2021 World Grand Prix, by a 4-1 scoreline.

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Ronnie O'Sullivan pictured in 2016
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