O'Sullivan celebrates birthday with 6-1 win over White

Snooker


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Five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan celebrated his 42nd birthday with a 6-1 win over Welshman Michael White in the third round of the UK Championship.

O'Sullivan was dominant early on, making a stunning 132 on his way to a 4-1 lead against the world number 26.

An error-strewn sixth frame also went O'Sullivan's way and he closed out victory with a break of 65.

"He struggled and I scrambled a bit better than he did," the world number four said.

"I wasn't brilliant but some people scramble better than others when they need to, and I was able to do that."

O'Sullivan was joined in the last 16 by Mark King, Martin Gould and three-time UK champion John Higgins.

Higgins, 42, held off a fine fightback by Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao to progress with a 6-3 victory.

The Scot hit breaks of 66 and 80 as he moved 3-0 ahead, but Yan, 17, then responded with two-half centuries of his own to help bring him level.

But Higgins' superior matchplay began to tell and two more fifties saw him over the line.

Higgins, who plays Mark King in the next round following the Englishman's win over Luca Brecel, said: "I competed well. My safety was good against a very talented played.. At 3-3 he had all the confidence in the world, but I nicked it."


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O'Sullivan, who is seeking to match Steve Davis' record haul of six titles in the event, made his third century of the tournament and adding a further three breaks of over 50 to move into the last 16.

Another title would also see him draw level with Stephen Hendry's 18 'Triple Crown' triumphs, having won the World Championship five times and the Masters on seven occasions.

With nine seeds having already lost in York - including the world's top three Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Ding Junhui - O'Sullivan's hopes are looking increasingly strong.

But his performance against White was so unconvincing, he almost seemed disinterested at times.

O'Sullivan, who will play Barry Hawkins or Thailand's Akani Songsermsawad in round four, showed flashes of his fluent best early on, but his margin of victory was as much down to White's struggles as his own efforts.

White, 26, said: "I was absolutely awful. It's so frustrating. I didn't even play half-decent."

O'Sullivan added: "You could see Michael struggling out there and the more you miss the harder it gets. I kind of felt for him. He's a good lad and he loves the game and it was frustrating for him.

"I want to play well and do well but if I don't, I don't care. I have other more important stuff to do."

World number six Shaun Murphy, world number eight Barry Hawkins and world number 15 Kyren Wilson are all in action in the evening session.

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