Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Zhou Yuelong 6-0 in the third round of the UK Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Defending championship Ronnie O'Sullivan fired warning shots to the rest of the UK Championship field by breezing past Zhou Yuelong 6-0 in the third round in York.

O'Sullivan came through an epic encounter with Ken Doherty on Sunday, fighting back from 4-1 down before holding his nerve to win a final-frame decider against the in-form Irishman.

There were no such alarms against Xhou who never settled with O'Sullivan looking sharp and focused in his quest for a record seventh UK Championship title.

The 43 year-old was quickly out of the traps, breaks of 66 and 60 allowing him to take a 2-0 lead before a well-complied contribution of 68 in frame four saw him head to the mid-session 4-0 in front.

There was no respite for Zhou upon the resumption, O'Sullivan knocking in a break of 89 in frame five before wrapping up the match only a few minutes later thanks a clinical run of 69.

O'Sullivan has Hearn on 'mute'

O'Sullivan then went into the BBC studio where he was interviewed by six-time world champion Steve Davis, who had already said while players look up to O'Sullivan's abilities, they do not to his comments.

The pair, along with presenter Hazel Irvine and former world champion Ken Doherty, had an animated exchange, with O'Sullivan conceding he did not want to breakaway and would rather World Snooker made changes.

Later, O'Sullivan said: "He (Barry Hearn) can ban me. If he wants to ban me tomorrow then I have already accepted that decision. I would rather walk away than live in fear about what I say.

"It doesn't worry me what he says any more. He is on mute on Twitter and I don't really have him in my thinking.

"I haven't got too much time so either make the tweaks which will benefit everybody or don't make the tweaks. I still have to be pro-active. But my gut feeling is nothing will change.

"It is simple, we need a few tweaks. Either do it or don't do it. But if you don't do it, I will look for alternatives because I still want to play."

O'Sullivan wants World Snooker to make it simpler for "top" players to qualify for events and not have to travel from country to country chasing ranking points.

He said Roger Federer would not be asked to "qualify for Wimbledon at Richmond Park" and says breakaway talks came about because "I want to be number one and make the live TV events".

O'Sullivan says that under the current set-up he has to "go backwards and forwards" to events in order to try and stay in the top 16.

Wins for Wilson, Maguire

Also on Monday, Kyren Wilson had few troubles against Yan Bingtao, a 115 break the highlight in a 6-2 win.

Tom Ford won a scrappy affair against Alan McManus 6-3, while Lu Ning provided the upset with a 6-4 victory over Belgium's Luca Brecel.

Joe Perry progressed with a 6-2 victory over Joe O'Connor in the evening, where Stephen Maguire saw off friend Ali Carter 6-3.

Mark Williams, the highest-ranked player left in the tournament, held off Noppon Saengkham to win 6-3.

"I played really well to go 3-1 up," said Williams. "He can get into a rhythm. I missed a few towards the end, so did he - I'm sure it was a good match to watch.

"I felt good out there. You can't pot everything (but) the table is absolutely beautiful."

Next for Williams is a clash with Maguire. "I'm looking forward to that," he added.

Monday December 3

Afternoon session (1300 GMT)

  • Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-0 Zhou Yuelong
  • Lu Ning 6-4 Luca Brecel
  • Tom Ford 6-3 Alan McManus
  • Yan Bingtao 2-6 Kyren Wilson

Evening session (1900 GMT)

  • Tian Pengfei 4-6 Martin O'Donnell
  • Joe O'Connor 2-6 Joe Perry
  • Ali Carter 3-6 Stephen Maguire
  • Noppon Saengkham 3-6 Mark Williams

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