Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby both scored emphatic 6-1 wins at the Betway UK Championship on Monday to reach the last 16.
O’Sullivan conceded a frame for the first time in the tournament, having won his first two matches 6-0, but then reeled off six in a row to beat world number 99 Michael Georgiou.
Breaks of 82, 84, 67 and 69 helped five-time UK Champion O’Sullivan book a fourth round meeting with Joe Perry or Matthew Stevens. Georgiou described his opponent’s ability as “not human” after being blown off the table.
“That’s a big compliment from a fellow professional,” admitted 40-year-old O’Sullivan. “There’s a lot of hard work and discipline behind being able to play well. When people talk about it being natural and effortless, I find that insulting because I work as hard as anyone. Someone once asked Muhammad Ali about his natural talent and he said it only looks that way because he gets up at 6am and spends the whole day running and training.”
Selby saw off Robert Milkins with top runs of 77, 120 and 64. He now faces Mitchell Man or Zhang Anda.
David Gilbert made a brilliant clearance in the deciding frame to beat Ali Carter 6-5. Gilbert came from 3-0 down to lead 5-3 with top breaks of 126 and 108. Carter recovered to 5-5 with 95 and 116 and looked favourite when he led 52-4 in the last frame. But Tamworth’s Gilbert dished up with 55 to set up a match with Ding Junhui or Jamie Jones.
“It’s the best clearance I’ve ever made,” said Gilbert, who could earn a place in the top 16 and the Masters if he reaches the final. “It means a lot because this is a massive tournament and I want to get in front of the TV cameras and show what I can do.”
Peter Lines’ dream of meeting son Oliver in the semi-finals ended as he lost 6-2 to Liam Highfield, whose top break was 110.