UK Championship review: Ronnie O'Sullivan marches into last 32

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

A review of the action on day four of the UK Championship, where Ronnie O'Sullivan breezed into the last 32 with a 6-0 whitewash of Tian Pengfei.

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan breezed into the last 32 of the UK Championship with a 6-0 whitewash of Tian Pengfei at the York Barbican, equalling Steve Davis' record of 89 tournament wins in the process.

Having defeated Ross Bullman 6-0 in the first round, O'Sullivan has yet to drop a frame in his quest for an eighth UK Championship title and he barely had to come out of first gear to see off his inexperienced and overawed opponent.

Despite establishing a 2-0 lead it took O'Sullivan until the third frame to register his first 50+ break of the match, a run of 71 extending his lead further, and when he dominated frame four he was able to leave the arena for the mid-session interval with a 4-0 advantage.

A fabulous break of 106 from O'Sullivan immediately upon the resumption - a trademark century that was full of precision cue-ball control - put The Rocket on the cusp of victory and despite having a couple of chances in frame six, Pengfei was powerless to stop himself from slipping to a 6-0 whitewash.

Next up for O'Sullivan will be Noppon Saengkham after the Thai player beat Scotland's Anthony McGill 6-3.

Neil Robertson and Mark Selby both reached the third round, but not as easily as the Rocket.

Robertson led 3-1 with a top break of 101 but Robbie Williams battled back and almost forced a deciding frame before the 2013 and 2015 champion won through 6-4.

“I was cruising at 3-1 but I allowed my focus to wander and never got it back,” said Robertson. "That’s not a good spot to be in because I made a lot if mistakes. It was a sloppy performance.

“I’ll get some practice tomorrow, hopefully get some fluency back and then play better as the tournament progresses. My game is in fantastic shape, but in the early rounds you don’t always see the best of the top players.”

Selby battled past Liam Highfield 6-3 with a high break of 129.

The three-time world champion, who has also won this title in 2012 and 2016, said: "I felt really good out there, it was just a couple of issues with my concentration.

"Liam’s a dangerous opponent and I think he’s a lot better than his ranking suggests. I think the difference with the top-ranked players is that they take their chances more often than not. He looked like making a fantastic clearance in the second frame, then missed the pink off the spot. That was a key turning point.”

Mark Allen survived a real scare after beating Jak Jones 6-5 despite earlier leading 5-1 thanks to a break of 141.

Alan McManus came from 4-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins, who hit a 147 break in the previous round, 6-4 with a top run of 81 while Anthony Hamilton made a 104 in a 6-3 defeat of rising star James Cahill.

Eden Sharav, who knocked out Shaun Murphy, was an impressive 6-2 winner of Daniel Wells kept his momentum going in a 6-2 defeat of Daniel Wells while China’s Zhao Xintong had a top break of 114 as he beat Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-4 in a match which had an average frame time of just 11 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Mark King defeated China's Lyu Haotian 6-1, while Stuart Bingham, world champion in 2015, scored three century breaks as he beat Martin Gould 6-4.

World number nine Kyren Wilson was edged out 6-5 by Hong Kong's Marco Fu, while Li Hang came through 6-4 in the all-China match against Xiao Guodong.

Welshman Matthew Stevens - winner of the tournament in 2003 - hit an early break of 135 as he beat compatriot Ryan Day 6-5.

Ian Burns also needed a deciding frame to get past Michael Holt.


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