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O'Sullivan eases past Thailand's Saengkham

O'Sullivan eases past Thailand's Saengkham

Reigning champion Ronnie O'Sullivan dropped his first frames in this year's UK Championship but was still a convincing 6-2 winner in his third-round tie against Noppon Saengkham.

O'Sullivan led an all-out attacking match 3-1 with a typically rapid break of 76 the highlight.

The world number two took two of the next three and made sure of victory by pinching a scrappy eighth frame.

O'Sullivan, 43, faces two-time winner Ding Junhui in the last 16.

China's Ding beat Ali Carter 6-4 at the York Barbican, while Scotland's Stephen Maguire was a 6-2 victor over fellow countryman Graeme Dott.

O'Sullivan was far from his fluent best in beating his Thai opponent, failing to make a century, but closed out the match with classy breaks of 97 and 65.

O'Sullivan is bidding to win a record-extending eighth UK crown on Sunday which would take him to 37 ranking titles and clear of Stephen Hendry in the all-time list.

A good-humoured encounter saw world number 32 Saengkham fluke a number of balls to give himself frame-winning opportunities, but he only made one fifty break.

O'Sullivan's fourth-round game against Ding takes place on Thursday at 13:00 GMT.

Tuesday's evening session sees world number six and two-time champion Mark Selby face England's Martin O'Donnell.

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