Ronnie O’Sullivan fired three century breaks as he beat Anthony McGill 6-1 to reach the last 16 of the International Championship.
The five-time World Champion knocked in runs of 116, 79, 101, 112 and 56 in an emphatic victory as he reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time this season. And with the likes of Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby out of the equation, O’Sullivan is hot favourite to win his first title of the campaign and take the £125,000 top prize.
“I played pretty well, I was playing hard match snooker and didn’t take many chances,” said O’Sullivan, who now has 756 career centuries, just 19 behind Stephen Hendry’s record of 775. “That’s what you have to do. When you play more matches that comes automatically, whereas tonight I had to be conscious of not taking on shots to let him in. I have to concentrate hard on every shot and think about the consequences. Maybe by the time of the UK Championship or the Masters I’ll have played more matches. I was on a roll tonight and wanted to make a century every time I came to the table.”
He now meets Li Hang, who beat John Higgins 6-1 in the last 64 then followed up with another 6-1 win in a Chinese derby against Zhao Xintong 6-1. Li’s top break was 65.
Judd Trump was the latest top-eight seed to fall as he went down 6-5 to Jamie Burnett. Trump, who won this title two years ago, came from 4-2 down to lead 5-4 but Scotland’s Burnett made a crucial 56 clearance to win the tenth frame. A tense decider saw Trump get the snooker he needed on the yellow, but Burnett then potted the yellow and eventually secured victory by potting the blue.
Burnett, who now plays Peter Ebdon, said: “I don’t think I played that well. It was more a case of Judd struggling and giving me chances. I’m lucky to be through. I’m disappointed in my performance but sometimes you need to win ugly. Judd is one of the best in the world and has the talent to dominate this game if he wants to. I enjoy playing the top players and I wasn’t nervous. Maybe I felt uncomfortable because I’ve only been sleeping two hours a night.
“It’s hard for me to be excited having played like that because I needed three or four chances in every frame, which is not good enough at this level. If I play like that I won’t be a threat to anyone.”
Mark Allen came from 3-0 down to beat Martin Gould 6-4 with a top break of 118, setting up a repeat of the Shanghai Masters final against Stuart Bingham.
Ricky Walden came through a tough battle against Zhou Yuelong, making a 76 in the decider for a 6-5 win.
Marco Fu was also pushed all the way by David Gilbert before winning 6-5. Hong Kong’s Fu, who was runner-up to Ding here last year, knocked in breaks of 108, 127 and 106.