Ronnie kept his UK Championship defence alive with a 6-2 victory over Noppon Saengkam. In doing so he broke a new record: indeed as David Hendon tweeted
Ronnie O’Sullivan through to the last 16 of the UK Championship for the 20th time in 25 appearances. Has also set a new record for most matches won in the tournament – 90 to Steve Davis’s 89 #baizeofglory
Ronnie wasn’t anywhere his best, and, at 4-2 in front, was actually behind his opponent on all match stats – pot success, long pot success, safety success – except the only one that counts eventually, the score. Overall the match was very close.
UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan goes through to last 16
Indeed the only department where Ronnie was clearly the better player was his positional game and it proved crucial because Noppon, who was first in more often than not, failed to kill off frames because he lost position and allowed Ronnie to capitalize on his mistakes, which he duly did most of the time.
Here is (an excerpt) of his postmatch with Rob Walker
And the report by Worldsnooker (excerpt)
Ronnie O’Sullivan admits his game is affected by a long-term foot injury, but that hasn’t stopped his pursuit of an eighth Betway UK Championship title as he beat Noppon Saengkham 6-2 to reach the last 16.
O’Sullivan now faces a blockbuster clash with Ding Junhui in York on Thursday afternoon. Ding beat Ali Carter 6-4 which virtually guarantees his top 16 place in the Race to the Masters.
World number two O’Sullivan has won this event in each of the last two years. If he lifts the trophy on Sunday night he’ll become the first player to capture any of the Triple Crown events on eight occasions. Today’s victory over Thailand’s Saengkham was the 90th match he has won in the tournament, one ahead of Steve Davis who had previously held the record with 89.
He was not at his best against Saengkham but breaks of 76, 97 and 65 helped him into round four. However, 43-year-old O’Sullivan is concerned about an injury to his right foot which has troubled him for several months.
“It’s a really bad bruise, it’s quite a common running injury,” he said. “I didn’t run for four months because I wanted to rest it but I started running again four or five weeks ago and it’s just really sore again. I’m due to see someone in January but until then I just have to take painkillers. If it gets any worse as it effects my back.
“I’m not prepared to stop running because I love it. I just have to manage it and hopefully it gets better. I’ll just not run on the days I play and hopefully it will be a bit better by Thursday. I don’t want to pull out.”
Looking ahead to his next match, O’Sullivan added: “Ding is playing well, he looks like he’s cueing well. I’m looking forward to playing him and there will be a few watching in China I reckon! I have a really good following in China, a lot of support out there and I love my time there, I’m like their adopted son. It will be the real son against the adopted son – it should be good fun.”
Ronnie will play Ding Junhui next on Thursday … some way to celebrate his birthday!
Here is the match:
Big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for some great pictures
By Owen Philips for BBC Sports, there was also this interview; it was published today, but obviously done after Ronnie’s previous match.
UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan says limiting practice key in title defence