O'Sullivan Keeps Bid For Eighth UK Championship On Track With Win Over Williams

The Rocket won the last five frames to seal a 6-2 victory over Robbie Williams as he looks to extend his own record haul
18:02, 27 Nov 2021

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he still has “hand grenades” to lob at opponents after keeping his bid for an eighth UK Championship title on track on Saturday afternoon. 

The Rocket won the last five frames to seal a 6-2 victory over Robbie Williams as he looks to extend his own record haul at the York Barbican. World No3 O’Sullivan, 46 on the day of the UK final, did not make a century but rattled in breaks of 58, 68, 91, 74, 66 and 55 to see off the Wirral professional. 

O’Sullivan said: “If my game is good then I don’t worry too much about the opponent. If I can hit them with enough grenades then hopefully that beats their best. 

“It’s like Goran Ivanisevic was in tennis, however well his opponent played they knew they had to cope with that serve. If you apply your good assets, that will serve you well. 

“I just tried to apply myself which I did well, and delete the horrific shots, and not listen to that voice telling me I can’t play and I’m useless. 

“So I’ll refocus, not worry about how well or bad I’m playing and get on with the next one. 

“That voice happens quite a lot, I can be my own worst enemy. It’s about trying to ignore it and play. It was great to be playing in front of a crowd here in York in a big tournament.  

“We are judged on what we do in the three majors at the end of your career, and I am trying to stack up as many as I can. 

“I would love to rack up another one or two, great, it gets harder as you get older – but if I don’t get any more they still have to chase me on 20. I regard that as one of the important records. 

“Back in 2011 I didn’t see another victory coming after starting to work with Steve Peters and I lost belief – but it can come back and it did for me.” 

Shaun Murphy apologised yesterday to amateur Si Jiahui - who knocked him out of the UK Championship last week. Former UK winner Murphy’s post-defeat comments caused a storm as he called for amateurs to be booted out of professional events – a reaction seen by many as sour grapes. 

And world No6 Murphy, 39, admitted that while his view was and remains the same, the timing was poor -  and may have tarnished a famous win for the 19-year-old. 

He said: “If I could go back in time I wouldn’t have said what I said having just lost to Si Jiahui. It took the shine off his victory, I regret that and I’d like to apologise to him for that. 

“It was a great win and he played really well. People accused of being a bad and sore loser, I think my career stands up okay for being gracious in defeat generally. But my point still stands.” 

In other results on Saturday afternoon, former Betfred World Championship finalist Kyren Wilson whitewashed Jak Jones 6-0 – having been wary about taking on a player known for being somewhat methodical in his approach and pace of play. 

Wilson said: “I had played Jak in the qualifiers last season and got a bit bogged down, so I wanted to make sure I played at a good pace myself today. The centre two tables are televised here in York with good games everywhere else too, so there was a fantastic atmosphere. 

“The first couple of rounds you just want to get out of the way because it just starts to feel a bit more exclusive when you get down to the last 32 and then 16, so I am chuffed to be into that third round.”

Masters champion Yan Bingtao crashed out 6-3 to Leicester's Ben Woollaston, who knocked in a superb 136 break in frame seven.

Meanwhile snooker legend Steve Davis has missed the break at the UK Championship – after being struck down with Covid. The six-time winner of the event is now a popular pundit for broadcasters the BBC and had been due to start his duties yesterday. 

Davis, 64 is recovering and completing his isolation at home in Essex but is hopeful of being in York from Wednesday for the latter stages of the first major of the season. 

Former world No1 Davis won the prestigious event twice in its infancy and then another four times in a row from 1984-87 after it was given full ranking status. That mark of six was a record that stood through the Stephen Hendry era until 2018 when it was beaten by O’Sullivan.

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