News Update


UK Championship 2023: Ronnie O’Sullivan advances to the semi-finals despite a scare against Zhou Yuelong

Although he maintained his hopes of winning a record-breaking ninth UK Championship, Ronnie O’Sullivan called himself “awful”.

The world no. 1 defeated Zhou Yuelong of China 6–5 in an intense quarterfinal in York.

O’Sullivan had a 4-1 lead but fell behind 5-4 before winning the next two sets to complete a fantastic comeback victory.

O’Sullivan admitted to the BBC that he occasionally felt humiliated, saying, “It was just desperation I started to play all right.”

“I was merely slogging along, going through the motions. I felt so disappointed in myself for playing so badly, even though I wasn’t under any obligation.

“I was terrible. I’m all over the gaff, technically.”

‘Can’t be bothered’ O’Sullivan with snooker
O’Sullivan takes a photo retrospective of his career.
2023 UK Snooker Championship: Schedule of matches, outcomes, BBC broadcast, and structure
O’Sullivan, 47, began with a spectacular break of 125, the 1,267th century of his career, sending Zhou, 25, whom he had defeated 6-0 in their previous two meetings, a message early in the match.

Zhou failed to pot a ball in the first two frames, leading him a break of 68. The 39-time ranking event winner then increased his lead with a run of 47.

In the fourth frame, O’Sullivan—who was playing in his 20th UK quarterfinal out of 30 appearances in the tournament—fixed an issue with his cue tip with sandpaper.

Zhou was able to win the frame back thanks to his momentary lack of focus, but the seven-time world champion appeared to be back on track after a cool 60-minute break.

Zhou fought back valiantly to win four straight sets, but O’Sullivan used his wealth of experience and composure to finish the match with breaks of 77 and 122 to advance to his 12th UK semi-final.

“Ronnie was fantastic in that last frame – that’s why he’s world number one,” Zhou stated.

“He just played perfect in the last two frames, but I’m proud of the way I played.”

On Saturday, O’Sullivan takes on Hossein Vafaei in the opening round of this year’s semifinals.

Three century breaks helped Iran’s Vafaei overcome China’s Zhang Anda after falling behind 4-3.

Trump vying for the top spot in the globe
Judd Trump, a former winner of the UK Championship, in action Judd Trump has finished second twice in the UK Championship and won his last title in 2011. With an easy 6-3 victory over Mark Selby, Judd Trump continued his pursuit of overtaking O’Sullivan at the top of the global rankings.

Trump put an end to two-time UK champion Selby’s pursuit of the £250,000 first prize with breaks of 100, 95, 93, and 52.

And as world champion Luca Brecel and reigning champion Mark Allen have already been eliminated from the competition, Trump is the only player remaining this week who has a chance to become the new world number one.

He and O’Sullivan would square off in the Sunday final if they both win their remaining games, with the winner securing the top spot in the rankings.

When Selby overtook Trump at the summit in August 2021, he relinquished the top spot in the world, but O’Sullivan regained it in May 2022 after winning a record-tying seventh World Championship triumph.

The three-time event winner, Trump, expressed his delight at holding the top spot in the globe.

“You can play it down as much as possible, but it’s a special feeling when you can say you’re number one in what you do.”

Three-time UK champion Ding Junhui of China overcame deficits of 2-0 and 5-4 to defeat Welshman Mark Williams 6-5. Ding Junhui will now play Trump in the final.


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