Ronnie O’Sullivan started his bid to win a third consecutive Betway UK Championship by beating Ross Bulman 6-0, then said that Judd Trump is currently snooker’s man to beat.
Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan took just 66 minutes – with an average shot time of 13.8 seconds – to book his place in the last 64, where he will face Tian Pengfei on Saturday.
In frame three O’Sullivan potted 14 reds with blacks before playing for position on the pink on the last red, passing up the chance of a possible 147. He missed the final pink, finishing on 133. He also fired runs of 88, 90, 66 and 65.
In his post match press conference, the Rocket was asked about Judd Trump, who has won seven tournaments over the past year.
“Judd is ahead of the pack, World Champion, world number one and the man to stop,” said O’Sullivan. “He’s a fantastic player and a great talent. The true test is doing it over ten or 15 years. Tiger Woods is a great. Is Rory McIlroy? Not yet. Potentially he probably will be and it’s great to sit and watch it unfold.”
He was also asked about a comment from Trump that some of O’Sullivan’s fans are “hooligans.”
“I can’t comment on that because I don’t know all the fans who follow me,” said O’Sullivan. “Snooker’s a working class sport, people love to see Jimmy White, Alex Higgins, they follow those type of players. I’m sure at football or golf or other sporting events, people get a bit excited.”
If he had made a 147 tonight, O’Sullivan would have been in line for a share of the £15,000 high break prize claimed yesterday by Barry Hawkins. But he added: “The blue was safe so I didn’t fancy making a maximum, and to get on the pink from the last red was a lot easier. Barry could do with the £15,000 more than me. He is super excited to be able to spend money on some Christmas presents.”
Pistol Shows Grit To Beat White
Last year’s runner-up Mark Allen came from 3-2 down to beat veteran Jimmy White, the oldest player in the field at 57, by a 6-3 scoreline. The turning point came in frame six when Allen cleared from yellow to pink to level at 3-3. Breaks of 64, 129 and 56 gave him the last three frames.
“I probably showed Jimmy too much respect in the early stages,” said Antrim’s Allen. “I went for my shots from 2-2 and played a lot better. I love coming here, it’s a great venue and a lot of history attached to the tournament. I have been under the weather for the last few days and my eyes are sore. It was determination and grit which got me through tonight. With a couple of days rest I’ll be fine.”
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh came from 5-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill 6-5, winning the last four frames with top breaks of 62 and 71. Joe Perry beat Simon Lichtenberg 6-5 in a match which was pulled off earlier today at 5-5. When they returned, Perry made breaks of 45 and 30 to take the decider. That keeps him ahead of his immediate rivals in the Race to the Masters.