Judd Trump said he hoped he could still play in a World Championship final against Ronnie O’Sullivan after advancing into the last eight of this year’s edition on Monday.
Six-time world champion O’Sullivan, 45, is already out following a shock second-round loss to Anthony McGill at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Friday.
But 2019 winner Trump, into the quarter-finals with a 13-8 victory over Dave Gibert, believes there remains time for him to meet O’Sullivan in the showpiece match.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Ronnie over the last 10 or 15 years and hopefully we can have many more match-ups, and hopefully one day we can get that dream final,” Trump said.
The 31-year-old, who will face another fellow former world champion Shaun Murphy in the last eight, added: “It would be a shame if it didn’t happen, but it’s so hard. He (O’Sullivan) has been to so many finals already and I’m still progressing, and hopefully over the next few years we’ll time it right.
“It would be amazing if it did happen, for snooker and ourselves.”
There will be six former world champions in the quarter-finals and Trump believes he will have to raise his game if he is to win a second Crucible crown this year.
“I didn’t play my absolute best but you don’t want to be playing your best at this stage of the tournament,” he said.
“It’s hopefully similar to the previous events I’ve won this season — playing decent for the first few games and saving my best for last.”
Murphy, the 2005 world champion, defeated China’s Yan Bingtao 13-7.
The Englishman had not reached the last eight since he was runner-up to Stuart Bingham in 2015.
But the 38-year-old was too strong for Masters champion Yan, winning three of the four frames he needed for victory in quick time.
Defeat meant the 21-year-old Yan missed his last chance to break Stephen Hendry’s record as the youngest world champion.
He scored eight half-centuries — one more than Murphy — and matched him with two centuries but was undone by too many errors.
“I’ve had a number of bad defeats here in the past few years, so it’s been a great week to play well and still be here in week two,” said Murphy.
Meanwhile, Bingham compiled two centuries in winning the three frames he needed to complete a 13-6 victory over Jamie Jones and reach the last eight for the first time since taking the title six years ago.
Bingham, who had to come through two rounds of qualifying after dropping out of the world’s top 16, will now face McGill for a place in the semi-finals.
Mark Selby booked a quarter-final clash with fellow three-time Crucible champion Mark Williams after a 13-7 win over Mark Allen.