THE ROCKET Ronnie O’Sullivan is back – and he’s firing on all cylinders after the defending champion produced a sublime session of snooker to take a 7-1 lead over Stuart Bingham in their quarter final.

The four-time world champion has been out of the game for the best part of a year on self-imposed exile to battle his personal problems.

In his first two rounds O’Sullivan showed glimpses that the form of 12 months ago, when he cruised to the world title without breaking sweat, was returning.

But his display yesterday against world No 8 Bingham removed all doubt, the Rocket produced a masterclass that left his opponent stuck in his chair for almost the entirety of the session.

O’Sullivan fired in breaks of 79, 54, 111, 60, 87, 133 and 78 to motor into a 7-0 lead before Bingham avoided the whitewash in the final frame of the day.

Bingham was cheered to the rafters by the Crucible crowd for getting on the scoresheet but there was no doubt who the day belonged to as O’Sullilvan proved he will take some beating in Sheffield this week.

Should O’Sullivan complete what should be a formality of a victory today he will face either Judd Trump or Shaun Murphy in the next round as they stand locked at 8-8.

Murphy, the world champion back in 2005, raced into an 8-3 lead against an out-of-sorts Trump before the world No 3 rediscovered his form to reel off five frames on the spin and move level.

Trump, runner-up here in 2011, was unstoppable at the start of this season as he stormed to the top of the world rankings but since Christmas the left-hander has been below par.

But his best form looks to be returning at the right time and the prospect of a semi-final with O’Sullivan is an enticing one.

In the other half of the draw, Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden both took a giant step towards what would be their first Crucible semi-finals.

Hawkins leads Ding Junhui 9-7 while Walden has raced into a 6-2 lead against Welsh debutant Michael White.