Advertisement

UK Snooker Championship LIVE: Ronnie O’Sullivan dramatically beats Zhou Yuelong in tight quarter-final

UK Snooker Championship LIVE: Ronnie O’Sullivan dramatically beats Zhou Yuelong in tight quarter-final

Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to action at the UK Snooker Championship with a dramatic win to book his place in the semi-finals at the York Barbican. O’Sullivan is bidding for an eighth UK Championship crown this week but for the second round in a row needed a deciding frame to advance, as he fought his way past Zhou Yuelong 6-5.

‘The Rocket’ got off to a flyer as he raced into a 3-0 lead, including a break of 125 in the opening frame, and then led 4-1. But Zhou hit back with four frames on the spin as the wheels came off the O’Sullivan train and he seemed destined for defeat at 5-4 behind.

But, as he has so often done before, he found another gear to level the match at 5-5 and then a ruthless break of 122 in the decider sealed the deal and set up a semi-final clash with Hossein Vafaei, in a rematch of their fiery World Championship clash from earlier this year.

“Technically I was all over the gaff,” said O’Sullivan after his win. “Out of desperation, I started to play alright in the last two frames. Before that, I was going through the motions. I was so frustrated and so disappointed with how I played, that didn’t feel any pressure. I wasn’t nervous, he was playing better and I deserved to lose. “

Relive the action from the UK Championship below:

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Zhou Yuelong live updates

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan dramatically beats Zhou Yelong 6-5 in quarter-final of UK Snooker Championship

  • RESULT! Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 Zhou Yuelong

  • O’Sullivan lets 4-1 lead slip to trail 5-4 before winning final two frames to sneak into semi-finals

Ronnie O’Sullivan on next opponent Hossein Vafaei

17:07 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan will play Hossein Vafaei in the semi-finals after the Iranian star dispatched Zhang Anda 6-4 on the other table. O’Sullivan and Vafaei had a dramatic contest at the World Championship earlier this year where the Iranian smashed the balls open on a break after feeling slighted that Ronnie had done similar to him in a previous match.

O’Sullivan went on to win at a canter but Vafaei has been in great form this week and ‘The Rocket’ admits it won’t be easy against ‘The Prince of Persia’.

“He’s playing great,” added O’Sullivan. “I think he’s a fantastic player. He’s got that killer instinct, he’s not scared of anyone, he attacks the game.

“That was an unbelievable win today - a proper win today. Anyone beating Anda the way he’s playing at the moment has to be good. A great win for Hossein - I’m going to have to play really well, he’s scoring really heavily.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan claims opponents are ‘like grandchildren' to him

17:03 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan opened up with a stunning 125 break but claimed there were “lots of dodgy shots” in that break. He also felt the pressure of crowd expectation.

“When you’re cueing well, you have loads of gears to play around with, you’re cruising,” added O’Sullivan on the BBC. “But I struggled today.

“When the crowd are expecting you to do something, you have an obligation to perform. When you’re not, there’s a bit of pressure.

“To get into the semis, I’ve done amazing so far. I’m pleased to be in semis. You go through all sort of emotions.

“I feel quite old out there, playing. I don’t want to become a sad case out there. I love snooker but playing the young guys, they’re really hungry - it doesn’t stop. The players are like grandchildren to me. It’s tough.

“I want to enjoy it but it’s hard work out there. I was a little bit embarrassed at times. Missing so many balls, I was thinking ‘wow!’

 (PA)
(PA)

Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts to beating Zhou Yuelong

16:58 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been in the BBC studio reacting to his win and it’s the usual mix insight and baffling statements from ‘The Rocket’...

“Technically I was all over the gaff,” said O’Sullivan. “Out of desperation I started to play alright in the last two frames. Before that I was going through the motions.

“In the last two frames, I thought just commit. A lot of shots I was hitting wrong but if you can get on a committing buzz, that’s the way to play. Otherwise, things start to play on your mind.

“I was so frustrated and so disappointed with how I played, that didn’t feel any pressure. I wasn’t nervous, he was playing better and I deserved to lose. But the last two frames, I was committed, I was getting through ball and getting the right amount of spin.”

RESULT! Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:45 , Luke Baker

A black off the 14th red takes him beyond the 100 mark. What a way to finish! Final red then rolled into the right corner and he can enjoy a victory lap on the colours.

The pink is on the right cushion and he can’t pot it but it doesn’t matter at all. A 122 break to seal the win and two brilliant frames from ‘The Rocket’ at the end

WHAT A VICTORY! RONNIE O’SULLIVAN WINS 6-5.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:42 , Luke Baker

And that’s it! Working with the black he moves beyond the snookers required stage. What a break this is. Into the 80s, then the 90s. The crowd are desperate for a century to finish.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:41 , Luke Baker

The reds are oh so inviting in the centre of the table and O’Sullivan is looking ominous. He’s moved up a gear since falling 5-4 down. As the break reaches 50, he splits the remaining reds with a clever cannon.

He should win from here now - they’re all there for him.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:39 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan picks off a couple of reds to move the break to 22 and then tries to screw off the pack and open a couple up as he pots a red. Not ideal, leaves himself a long blue to the yellow pocket. And it’s only ever in the heart, good shot and back in prime position.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:38 , Luke Baker

That containing safety leaves O’Sullivan a pot to the yellow pocket. He rolls the red dead-weight and it’s in! First chance to Ronnie.

Nicely on the blue and now he gets to work. Can he finish this in one visit? A few loose reds and an inviting pack to crash into.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:37 , Luke Baker

Early safety exchanges are solid for both men. Zhou takes a long, hard look at a pot to the right corner but opts for the containing safety instead, leaving the cue ball down the business end of the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:34 , Luke Baker

Right. Here we go, decider time! The momentum was all with Zhou as he came from behind to lead 5-4 but O’Sullivan forcing the decider may mean that he has the upper hand?

Or the whole concept of momentum is largely nonsense and we fit it neatly around the result after the fact... Who can tell.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:31 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan moves across the line with another red, a couple more pots ensures there’s no way back for Zhou at all. Eventually misses a brown with one red left but a break of 77 and that’s that.

O’Sullivan wins the frame and we’re heading to a decider.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:30 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan, as he does at his best, making the difficult looks easy. Screws the cue ball back off the left cushion and between two balls to leave himself plum on another cherry to the right corner.

This is becoming a frame-winning chance now and we should be heading for a decider. Sinks another pink as the break reaches 50, just a couple more reds required now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:28 , Luke Baker

There’s a red right below the black spot that makes spotting the black ball a delicate job for referee Marcel Eckhart every time. It still pots to the right corner though.

O’Sullivan picking off reds and working with pink and black as he takes the break past 30. Removes that red below the black now which should make things easier.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:26 , Luke Baker

WOW! Ronnie digs out a sublime pot. A mental error from Zhou trying to be clever with his safety leaves Ronnie a look at a very thin cut into the left corner. He has to play it left-handed and does so in style! The black waiting over the opposite corner pocket is handy as well.

The table is a bit of a mess though with reds all spread out and blocking each other.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:22 , Luke Baker

Zhou has a long old think about a safety shot after being left tight to the baulk cushion. Eventually plays a good one up the left-hand side of the table and the cue ball rattles in the jaws of the yellow pocket but stays out.

Tough return now for O’Sullivan and he leaves the white well short after catching the red far too thick. No real damage done though as the black goes towards the right corner, largely covering that pocket from any potential pots.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:19 , Luke Baker

Single red again for O’Sullivan - nice pot but no colour to follow. The tactical battle continues.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:17 , Luke Baker

Mistake from O’Sullivan as the cue ball ends up in the yellow pocket from a safety. Zhou decides to have a go at a long pot into the left corner and nails it! Lovely shot, lots of left-hand side on the cue ball to avoid the cannon with the black and get up back to baulk.

Wow - that’s an aggressive safety shot by Zhou as he cannons the yellow into the pack of reds to open them up. Five points apiece as we enter another bout of safety. Who blinks first?

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:14 , Luke Baker

Ronnie has dug out a cracker there. Lovely floated long pot into the right corner pocket. Mark Williams-esque from O’Sullivan. He pots a tough brown as a follow-up but no position on the next red, so just the five points before the safety.

Hossein Vafaei 3-4 Zhang Anda

16:13 , Luke Baker

Over on the other table, the Hossein Vafaei vs Zhang Anda is similarly close. Zhang currently 4-3 ahead but Vafaei 53 points to the good in the next and primed to make it 4-4.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:11 , Luke Baker

Huge moments ahead. Ronnie O’Sullivan needs to win the final two frames to avoid a quarter-final exit. Remember, Zhou Yuelong had won just two frames in four previous matches against O’Sullivan. He’s now one away from a famous win

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Zhou Yuelong

16:08 , Luke Baker

The final red rattles the jaws for Zhou but it matters not. He wins the frame (a low-quality one to be frank) and moves 5-4 ahead.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

16:07 , Luke Baker

Zhou is playing much better than he was earlier but it’s hardly flawless stuff. Yet he’s hauled the great Ronnie O’Sullivan in and should be moving one frame for victory.

A string of decent mid-range pots before leaving himself a long-ish red to the right corner to move to the snookers-required stage. It’s there! Heart of the pocket and the cross-table pink is sunk to the left middle for good measure.

Zhou is about to move 5-4 up here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

16:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Error for error! O’Sullivan looks totally frazzled. His break has barely begun as he settles over what looks a simple pink, but another poor miss hands Zhou an opportunity to seal the frame.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

16:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

In off! Wow! A careless error from Zhou, screwing back off a red and nudging against another, sending the cue ball careering into a centre pocket. That looked like a frame-winning visit, too - to the table hurries Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

16:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Zhou gobbles up the open balls. Now, can he get a good split? It’s not perfect, but it will do, going in off the blue and striking the top red close to full ball. Another red and blue combination follows with both pink and black out of action.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

15:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Magnificent! That’s outstnading from Zhou Yuelong, taking on a speculative long pot but nailing it, firing a red from close to the blue into the heart of the corner pocket. The black follows - there’s a couple more free reds to be picked off and then it’ll be into the pack.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

15:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s still tight on the other table, by the way, with Hossein Vafaei a frame back from Zhang Anda. 3-4.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

15:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s twice in two days now that Ronnie O’Sullivan has let a sizeable lead slip. He managed to rally in the decider to pip Robert Milkins yesterday but Zhou Yuelong will be sensing a real opportunity.

O’Sullivan gets frame nine started with a solid break, trapping his opponent up beyond baulk. Zhou comes in to the bottom of the bunch off a couple of cushions.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Zhou Yuelong

15:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s four frames apiece! Ronnie O’Sullivan shakes his head as Zhou Yuelong continues this fabulous fightback, again pouncing on the seven-time champion’s errors to get back on level terms.

O’Sullivan disappears out of the arena - he needs to mentally reset here, with all of the momentum with the Chinese player.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Up through the gears goes The Rocket, into the 20s as he launches a counter-clearance. But that’s a bad miss, a simple red to the corner rattling the mandibles and away!

Zhou should polish off the remaining reds and level things up.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:50 , Luke Baker

Oh no! Zhou leaves himself a tricky cut up into the middle pocket. He leaves it high and that’s a big miss. 64-0 lead but still 75 on the table for O’Sullivan.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:48 , Luke Baker

It’s been over 15 minutes since O’Sullivan’s last pot but it’s Zhou who gets a look at a long red to the right corner and slams it in! His long potting has gone up a gear in the past few frames.

Can he finish this frame off now and level it up? One good split of the pack of reds and it will be at his mercy... Lines it up at 45 ahead, pots the black for a lead of 52 and comes off the bottom cushion, into the pack and leaves a pot on! He should do it from here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:45 , Luke Baker

Zhou is looking much more comfortable around the table now. You can see the confidence building. The break reaches 31 off loose reds before he tries to line up a pot on the black that will allow him to crash into the pack.

But he’s too low on the black and doesn’t have the angle, so has to try and pick out a red to the middle. Plays it at pace and it rattles out! So the break ends at 38. Frustrating for the underdog.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:40 , Luke Baker

A compelling bout of safety to begin as both men turn down low-percentage long pots. Zhou eventually opts for a more makeable one across the table, diagonally into the left corner and finds the heart of the pocket, screwing back up for the blue.

Great starting pot! He’ll need to go into the pack relatively early but can cherry-pick a few reds first.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:36 , Luke Baker

This frame is massive. Massive, it is.

If O’Sullivan can move to 5-3 ahead, you feel he’ll get over the line (6 is the target for victory, remember) but 4-4 would make it anybody’s match.

 (PA)
(PA)

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Zhou Yuelong

15:35 , Luke Baker

A couple of open reds taken with minimal fuss and with blacks by Zhou. Decides to take the one along the cushion as his penultimate red. AND HE GETS IT! Good pot by the Chinese cueman and he’s starting to cue the ball nicely.

Final red is no issue, up for the blue and that leaves O’Sullivan needing snookers. This is his highest break of the match and after potting the yellow (which was down on the pink spot), he clears the rest of the colours for a run of 89 and suddenly the game is just a single frame!

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:30 , Luke Baker

Zhou’s high break is 41 (to Ronnie’s 125...) but he’s hanging in this match. His current break moves past 30 using the black and only a handful of reds left now. The frame score goes level and Zhou can build a substantial lead before taking on the tricky final red along the bottom cushion.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:28 , Luke Baker

OOOF! Gorgeous long red into the right corner from O’Sullivan and screws back up for the blue. But then another mistake! Overruns the cue ball slightly and it’s tight to squeeze through a gap for the next red.

He misses the pot to the near jaw of the pocket. I’m not entirely convinced that pot went. Zhou trails 41-8 but back at the table and a golden opportunity. Has to take it and close the gap to one frame.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:26 , Luke Baker

Nice pot by O’Sullivan, cutting in a red to the left corner and going up for the yellow. Deserved a bigger clap than that from the crowd, I thought. Normally a Ronnie sneeze is accompanied by raucous applause in the arena but maybe a tougher crowd today.

He quickly runs out of position though - he leads 35-8 but his level has definitely dipped in the last couple of frames. Hope for Zhou?

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:23 , Luke Baker

Zhou takes what he thinks is a shot-to-nothing on a long red to the left corner but it rattles out and is stuck up for O’Sullivan in the opposite corner.

A couple of reds and blacks before he tries to free some reds with a screw off the pack. They’re still tightly bunched though and after the next black he breaks down on 24, no pot on.

Not a great safety and Zhou can crunch home a long red. He runs out of position trying to split the pack but messes it up. Then misses a tough cut to the right corner from mid range so the score is 24-8 to O’Sullivan who is now back at the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:19 , Luke Baker

Frame seven, here we go... If Zhou can get it back to 4-3...

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Zhou Yuelong

15:15 , Luke Baker

A couple of nice pots on the pink to the middle pockets and Zhou moves 28 points ahead with 27 on the table as we reach the colours.

Long-ish yellow which he crunches in. Plays safe off the green, tucking the cue ball in behind the brown ball. O’Sullivan would need two snookers and he doesn’t bother getting out of his seat, so it’s frame to Zhou!

Narrows the gap to 4-2

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:12 , Luke Baker

Half-chance for Zhou but his cut to the left corner is well off target. Good cue ball up in baulk behind the yellow though. Yellow, green, brown, blue and black all on or behind the baulk line, to give you an idea of the table.

Sloppy from Ronnie and Zhou back in control with a red to the right corner. Should be able to take three reds, three pinks and build a lead here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:11 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan making it look easy working with only the pink. But he goes slightly out of position, leaves a red long to the yellow pocket and hits the jaws. An arm swipe of frustration from the seven-time champion.

He trails Zhou 41-34 with three reds on the table as we settle in for a bout of safety.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:09 , Luke Baker

Another chance for ‘The Rocket’ as Zhou leaves him a look at a red close to the right corner pocket. Simple pot and on the pink to middle. Only the pink down the business end of the table still though.

He’s forced up to baulk to pot the brown and beautifully comes round the angles to land plum on a red. Great shot. He’s eating into this deficit now - Zhou only leading 41-27 with O’Sullivan still at the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:07 , Luke Baker

WOW! I didn’t see that coming. O’Sullivan misses a routine pink to the left middle, catching it too thick and leaving it low. He looks annoyed at himself as he goes back to his seat with the score 41-8.

Despite the reds going everywhere, he hasn’t left a pot on for Zhou, so it’s just a safety for the Chinese star.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:05 , Luke Baker

The break ends at 41 though as Zhou crashes into the bunch off his sixth black but misses the pot That’s not the first time he’s done that in this match - took his eye off the spot.

The black runs up into baulk but O’Sullivan is in and can work with the pink for the time being.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:03 , Luke Baker

Four reds for Zhou and off the fourth black he bounces off the bottom cushion and tries to go into the pack of reds. Only flicks an outer red which rolls up towards the middle pocket and the white heads towards baulk but he’s on that stray red. A bit lucky really but he won’t mind.

The break moves on to 40 with five reds and five blacks.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

15:00 , Luke Baker

It’s hard to see a way back into this match for Zhou Yuelong but into frame six we go. Minor point but both players’ break-offs have been pretty tight - can’t remember a single red being left over a pocket from the break in this match.

A safety exchange to begin here but Zhou gets first sniff as he floats a long red in and holds for the black

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:55 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan moves the break to 45 and we’re at the snookers-required stage for Zhou. A couple more reds ensure he won’t be coming back to the table.

‘The Rocket’ can’t complete a century as a long red to the yellow pockets stays out but that break pushes him 4-1 ahead and just two frames from victory.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:53 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan leaves himself the wrong side of the blue, so his next red is mid-range into the left corner pocket. Nicely struck! Heart of the hole and a bit of stun on the cu ball t move it across the table.

His lead goes past 50 and there are still a handful of reds in the centre of the table waiting. He should win the frame from here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:51 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan more or less straight back in as he pots the previously missed red by the yellow pocket from long range. A bit of work in baulk first as he clears another red from up there and then moves the white down the table. The frame score moves to 30-1 and he’s at the scoring end of the baize now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:50 , Luke Baker

A key shot in the break comes on 12 as O’Sullivan leaves himself high on the black to bounce off a cushion and into the pack of reds. The split isn’t great and he’s only left with a long red into the yellow pocket.

It looks as if it’s there but rattles both jaws twice and the pocket spits it out. Break ends at 19.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:47 , Luke Baker

We’re back underway in frame five. Zhou crunches an early long red - a great pot. But then misses the straightforward black off the spot as he focuses on going into the pack.

O’Sullivan calmly rolls in a tricky red to the middle and he’s in here again.

Hosseon Vafaei 2-2 Zhang Anda

14:41 , Luke Baker

Over on the other table, Iran’s Hossein Vafaei and China’s Zhang Anda have also reached their mid-session interval. It’s been a high-quality affair with the prize of a semi-final against O’Sullivan or Zhou awaiting the winner.

Vafaei has made two century breaks, while Zhang has runs of 97 and 57 to leave the men locked at 2-2. Some cracking snooker so far.

MID-SESSION INTERVAL! Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:34 , Luke Baker

Ronnie O’Sullivan has dominated the first session of this quarter-final.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Zhou Yuelong

14:27 , Luke Baker

Zhou keeps his composure, clears the final few reds and then pots the yellow to move to the snookers-required stage. 29 points ahead with 25 on.

He pots the green and misses the brown to the middle but O’Sullivan doesn’t bother coming back to the table. So it’s a frame on the board from Zhou Yuelong.

‘Only’ 3-1 down and that mid-session interval cup of tea will taste a lot sweeter now.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:24 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan has a go at a long red to the left corner and misses but Zhou gets it from tight on the cushion with his next shot. Thunders a green into the middle pocket to follow - that’s sublime!

Puts him nicely on a red at the business end of the table. This is now a golden opportunity to win the frame and narrow the deficit to 3-1.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:23 , Luke Baker

Eventually the luck runs out and there’s no pot on - just a safety. So it’s 25-22 to Zhou with four reds left on the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:22 , Luke Baker

Zhou makes a thin cut on a red, has to trust to luck going into baulk and is left with another thin cut on the brown. Same shot that he missed before but this time he makes it.

Tough position when he lands on the reds in the centre of the table though. He’s taking on a ludicrously thin cut to the right corner but NAILS IT! Hasn’t had an easy pot yet in this break but he’s still going strong!

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:20 , Luke Baker

WOW! O’Sullivan cuts in a super-thin brown and it sends the cue ball literally bouncing up the table before landing perfectly on a red below the black! Highlight reel stuff.

But when he leaves himself too straight on a red along the bottom cushion it rattles the jaws and comes out. A tap of frustration on the table from O’Sullivan as the break ends at 21. He leads 22-16.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:17 , Luke Baker

Zhou struggling to get perfect position in this break, overrunning the cue ball to leave himself increasingly difficult pots. Makes a tight cut to the left corner but a thin brown to the yellow pocket drifts to the left jaw. We could see that coming.

O’Sullivan with another chance from 16-1 down.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:15 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan misses a long-ish red up to the green pocket but doesn’t leave his Chinese opponent on anything. But Zhou forces an error on the safety so has another chance with a starting red to the middle.

Lands in a two-inch gap to be on the black and can he build something from here? The reds are all quite tightly bunched.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:12 , Luke Baker

An easy red for Zhou to start but pink and black both tied up and the blue flew up on to the baulk cushion when O’Sullivan missed it, so not much help for a prospective break.

He tries to go into the pack off the yellow to free the pink but misses it. At least lands on a red, so back up for the yellow and try the shot again. Oh dear... The yellow is missed (ending the break at 4) and Zhou looks like he’s completely gone here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:09 , Luke Baker

Zhou simply hasn’t settled at all. He tries to play a safety off the red up in baulk but double kisses it and leaves a relatively simple pot for O’Sullivan.

After a brief break to sandpaper the tip of his cue, O’Sullivan crashes into the pack off the blue but misses the pot. Just the one point.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:07 , Luke Baker

If Zhou harbours any ambitions of winning this match, he has to win this frame surely? Can’t be going into the mid-session interval 4-0 down.

Ooooh, the luck appears to be with O’Sullivan as well. He misses a long, straight red to the left corner by quite a margin, it runs up into baulk, near the green pocket, but Zhou is snookered on it by the yellow! A nice stroke of fortune for ‘The Rocket’

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:04 , Luke Baker

Zhou pots one red with black, wins a safety exchange and pots another red but misses a tricky pink to the right corner with the cue ball tight to the left cushion. That ends any hope and he concedes the frame.

3-0 Ronnie and he’s halfway to victory here... Ruthless

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

14:02 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan plays for a red down the left rail and rolls it nicely into the corner, the black moves him 46 points ahead. No access to any of the reds on the cushion so he’s left with a double.

AND NAILS IT! Nicely into the right middle. Runs out of position and now has a long black up into the green pocket. He rolls that in as well - great pot! No position for another red so the break ends at 47 but the score is 59-5 and there’s only 51 points left on the table, so Zhou needs snookers to avoid going 3-0 down.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:59 , Luke Baker

Black still tied up but blue and pink tide O’Sullivan over initially. Then he gets himself in position to clear the red above the black, free it and sco re back up the table. The black runs towards the pink.

The break passes 30 but the remaining five reds are on cushions.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:57 , Luke Baker

Oh dear. Zhou can only make 5 as a red wipes its feet on the way in which puts him slightly out of position on the pink. It’s a tough pot to left middle and he overcuts it.

Zhou is 12-5 down and O’Sullivan returns to the table with a great chance to make a substantial break

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:56 , Luke Baker

Nice pot by Zhou. Red in the heart of the pocket and holds the cue ball to take the green to right middle after it careered down the table. The pink has been opened up a bit,s o it’s available to the middle pockets and the right corner.

He’ll look to build a lead here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:54 , Luke Baker

Pink and black are both tied up here, so O’Sullivan having to work with the blue/baulk colours initially. Looks like he may be able to free the black if he can pot the red just above it but before he can do that, he’s forced to go up the table for the green.

Tries to power it into the yellow pocket but it rattles out. Break ends at 12 and Zhou has a mid-range red to get him going.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:52 , Luke Baker

Right. How are you feeling Zhou? A tough long red to the left corner but he could really do with this. Ah... Not good apparently...

Overcuts it by a long way and the cue ball cannons into the pack of reds as he hit it so poorly. Leaves O’Sullivan plum in. Time to turn the screw.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:50 , Luke Baker

Underway in frame three. Can Zhou get on the board? Or pot a ball first - got to take this step by step.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:47 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan pots a red to the left corner and that’s that for the second frame. 2-0 to ‘The Rocket’ and he’s been imperious. A 125 clearance and a break of 71 so far.

Zhou has potted zero balls so far...

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:44 , Luke Baker

Not sure why I said it wasn’t a frame-winning opportunity when he came to the table, I clearly forgot who was playing! He thumps home a black to move 71 points ahead with 67 remaining.

He tries to cannon the three reds away from the cushion but is unsuccessful. Forced to play safe and Zhou will play on but, barring snookers, he’ll be 2-0 down here. Can he at least cause Ronnie a few minutes of pain first?

The table not exactly set for a counter-clearance with three reds on the bottom cushion, one on the left cushion and just one in the centre of the table.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:42 , Luke Baker

This break is hard work but O’Sullivan is manoeuvering the cue ball in between other balls with typical class. He moves the break to 60 and only needs a couple more reds to get over the line here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:40 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan runs slightly out of position but calmly strokes in a blue to the left middle, comes in and out of baulk and is back in prime positon as he takes the break past 20.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:38 , Luke Baker

A compelling safety battle where Zhou is holding his own but O’Sullivan is absolute granite in that department these days. His free-flowing break-building rightly gets the attention but he might be the best in the world tactically as well now. A far cry from his style in the 90s and 00s.

Eventually, Zhou makes a slight error, giving ‘The Rocket’ a look at a long red near the right corner. Crunched in! And is on the black but there are reds tight to cushions, while all three baulk colours are tied up. Not necessarily a frame-winning position but Ronnie can build a lead.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:35 , Luke Baker

Solid break-off by Zhou. Doesn’t leave O’Sullivan a tempter. But eventually, Ronnie works an opening and crunches a long red into the right corner. He comes up slightly too far for the blue but can use the yellow to work his way back down the table.

Ah, runs into the blue on the way back down, so just the safety and a three-point lead.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:29 , Luke Baker

An ominous start from ‘The Rocket’. Zhou immediately leaves the arena to gather his thoughts ahead of the second frame. If he needed any reminding of what O’Sullivan can do - one missed red to the right corner led to a 125 total clearance.

FRAME! Ronnie O’Sullivan 1-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:28 , Luke Baker

Nicely done by O’Sullivan. Rolls a red to middle to leave Zhou needing snookers. That’s the first frame in the bag - can he make the century?

Will need a cannon on the final red tied up near the right cushion. It’s a Hollywood shot round the angles and gives him a look at a long pot into the yellow pocket. It looks like it’s missing as it hits the cushion around the baulk line but still drifts into the pocket!

These aren’t the bucket pockets we see at some tournaments but how did that go in?! Anyway, century complete with the yellow and O’Sullivan completes the total clearance of 125. A perfect start for the seven-time champion.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:24 , Luke Baker

O’Sullivan wearing dress shoes for this match. He’d had dispensation to wear black trainers for the first couple of rounds as he battled plantar fasciitis in his foot. Clearly feeling better now though.

Doesn’t seem to be affecting him on the table too much. The break moves past 50 and a century looks on here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:22 , Luke Baker

The black is tied up near the right cushion but the pink is on the black spot for O’Sullivan to work with. Most of the reds providing a decent orchard in the middle of the table as well.

On 28., O’Sullivan runs slightly out of position but powers a red into the middle and plays up to baulk to take the blue, getting it back on its spot to give him a bit of margin for error.

A break of 41 and counting with a couple of obstacles cleared...

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:19 , Luke Baker

Decent safety exchange to begin proceedings. First mistake from Zhou as the cue ball cannons off the blue as it comes back up the table. The reds are awkwardly placed though, covering each other over the left corner and O’Sullivan can’t get to the potting angle.

Zhou misses a mid-range red to to the right corner and this time leaves ‘The Rocket’ in with a simple starting red to right middle. First chance O’Sullivan.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-0 Zhou Yuelong

13:15 , Luke Baker

Here we go...

Ronnie O’Sullivan breaks off and doesn’t leave a red for Zhou to have a go at. Decent safety response by the Chinese cueman though. Who will have the first chance here?

UK Snooker Championship

13:11 , Luke Baker

The irrepressible, Energizer bunny of an MC Rob Walker brings the four players on to the baize. Table 2 sees Hossein Vafaei – who was imperious beating Matthew Selt 6-1 last night by the way – face Zhang Anda for a place in the semi-finals.

But the main event is very much ‘The Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan taking on Zhou Yuelong. If Zhou plays to his best and isn’t overawed by O’Sullivan, he could make a real game of this.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Zhou Yuelong head to head

13:06 , Luke Baker

The players will be out on the baize shortly but firstly, here’s a look at the O’Sullivan-Zhou career head-to-head.

Unfortunately, as for many players against ‘The Rocket’, it doesn’t make for pretty reading for Zhou.

He’s lost all four career matches against O’Sullivan and, in fact, only won two frames in that time – leaving the all-time frame score between the pair at 20-2... Last time they played, O’Sullivan hammered him 6-0 in the last 16 of this very tournament, the UK Championship, back in 2021.

The 25-year-old Zhou has spoken about Ronnie being his idol and perhaps that admiration factor has hindered the Chinese cueman. He’ll have to get over that if the world No 26 want to spring the upset against the world No 1 today.

 (PA)
(PA)

Afternoon session schedule

12:59 , Luke Baker

Here’s a reminder of the afternoon session matches in York:

The 2023/24 snooker season so far

12:52 , Luke Baker

The UK Championship is the first triple crown event of the snooker season, which began in June and runs until the World Championship in the spring.

Here’s a look at the season so far (* denotes non-ranking event):

Championship League, 26 June-21 July (Winner: Shaun Murphy)

European Masters, 22-27 August (Barry Hawkins)

Shanghai Masters, 11-17 September (Ronnie O’Sullivan) *

British Open, 25 September-1 October (Mark Williams)

English Open, 2-8 October (Judd Trump)

Wuhan Open, 9-15 October (Judd Trump)

Northern Ireland Open, 22-29 October (Judd Trump)

International Championship, 5-12 November (Zhang Anda)

Champion of Champions, 13-19 November (Mark Allen) *

Ronnie O’Sullivan on his new Amazon documentary: ‘It was harrowing watching it back’

12:46 , Luke Baker

Through the door of a swish London hotel, held open by a concierge; into the dimly lit lobby, past an open fire and smart dinner guests, into a shiny lift; down a corridor lined with abstract art, around a bend to the very end where the last door waits in semi-darkness; through to a suite with a long table scattered with sandwiches and cream scones – Ronnie O’Sullivan’s favourite food – where his agent and various publicists mill; to a leather sofa at the far end.

This is where O’Sullivan is holed up, an hour before his movie premiere in London’s Leicester Square. He emerges from another room with a smile, offers a fist bump and sits down. He is dressed in a blue jumper, dark jeans and smart shoes. Executive producer David Beckham is among the famous guests coming to celebrate O’Sullivan, journalists are here to ask questions and fans are sitting in cinemas around the country to watch the film and a live Q&A afterwards. And he’s dreading it.

“If I’d have looked at the contract before doing this and it said you’ve got to do a premiere, I’d have probably said, ‘that’s me out then’,” O’Sullivan says with a grin. “When we started, they said there’s going to be a film festival and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go to that?’ They were like, ‘yeah’. I was like, ‘f**k’.

Ronnie O’Sullivan on his new documentary: ‘It was harrowing watching it back’

Ronnie O’Sullivan into UK Championship quarter-finals but claims he doesn’t ‘really care’ any more

12:39 , Luke Baker

Downbeat Ronnie O’Sullivan has warned he will continue “stinking out gaffes” after he limped into the quarter-finals of the UK Snooker Championship with a 6-5 win over Robert Milkins in York.

O’Sullivan, who is playing in trainers due to suffering from the heel injury plantar fasciitis, made his frustration clear as he almost blew a 5-3 lead before rallying to earn a last-eight slot against Zhou Yuelong.

“I don’t understand how this game works,” shrugged O’Sullivan. “I gave up a long time ago. I just keep turning up and stinking out gaffes. I stunk it out today and I’ll stink it out tomorrow. You’ll have to get a mask to watch me play.”

Despite hitting a 142 in frame five, O’Sullivan, who is aiming for a record eighth UK crown, was far from his best, and expressed his irritation after serving up one of three glorious opportunities for Milkins in the decider by dropping his cue onto the table.

But Milkins, whose solitary win over O’Sullivan in 11 previous attempts had come at the single-frame Shoot-Out in 2002, failed to capitalise, missing a pink then a simple red to middle, before finally dangling a red over the bottom pocket that effectively sealed his fate.

Ronnie O’Sullivan into UK Championship quarter-finals but makes controversial claim

When is the UK Championship and how much is the prize fund?

12:31 , Luke Baker

When is the UK Championship?

The UK Championship began on Saturday 25 November and will conclude with the final on Sunday 3 December at the Barbican in York. 32 players compete in the main draw.

How much is the prize fund?

Competing players share total prize money of £1,205,000, with the winner in line to receive £250,000. An additional £15,000 is available to the player who compiles the highest break, while two maximums made across any of the three Triple Crown events this season will be rewarded with a £147,000 bonus.

Today’s schedule

12:25 , Luke Baker

UK Snooker Championship - Friday 1 November schedule

13:00

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Zhou Yuelong

Zhang Anda v Hossein Vafaei

19:00

Judd Trump v Mark Selby

Mark Williams v Ding Junhui

UK Snooker Championship schedule today including Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump

12:19 , Luke Baker

The UK Snooker Championship continues with another intriguing day of action in store at the Barbican in York, including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Judd Trump, but John Higgins and world champion Luca Brecel are out.

O’Sullivan warned he will continue “stinking out gaffs” after limping past Robert Milkins 6-5 and now takes on Zhou Yuelong.

Zhou’s compatriot Zhang Anda continued his remarkable surge to prominence as he beat world champion Brecel 6-4 with breaks of 124 and 68 in the final two frames.

Zhang won the International Championship and reached the English Open final in recent months and takes on Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, who fired three centuries and a further break of 94 in a 6-1 thrashing of Matt Selt.

UK Snooker Championship schedule and times today

UK Snooker Championship live

12:16 , Luke Baker

Welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the UK Snooker Championship.

Ronnie O’Sullivan continues his campaign with a quarter-final against Zhou Yuelong at the York Barbican. Stick with us for full live coverage.