World Grand Prix

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Top Seeds Advance

Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Michael Georgiou 6-1 in the UK Championship for the second successive season to reach the third round in York on Sunday.

Ronnie O'Sullivan Barnsley (WS)
O’Sullivan has already won the English Open and Shanghai Masters this season. Photo credit: World Snooker

The five-time champion is bidding to equal the record of six crowns held by Steve Davis, having narrowly missed out on the feat after a 10-7 defeat to Mark Selby in the final twelve months ago.

Selby was the shock loser in the last 64 after his loss to Scott Donaldson, which perhaps opens up the way for O’Sullivan to accomplish another famous winning moment at the Barbican Centre.

In fact, between them, O’Sullivan and Selby have collected the last five Triple Crown events so the “Rocket” will be hoping to extend that streak in a week’s time.

O’Sullivan wasn’t at his brilliant best against Georgiou but had more than enough in reserve to see off the challenge of the Cypriot.

The majority of the other big names also progressed to the third stage as well.

Three-time winner John Higgins was forced to come through a sterner test but eventually scrambled home against the improving Cao Yupeng, 6-4.

Indeed, it was harder still for 2008 UK champion Shaun Murphy, with the “Magician” requiring all the tricks in his locker to steal the last two frames and pinch a deciding-frame victory against Liam Highfield.

The in-form Luca Brecel rounded off his 6-3 success over Aditya Mehta with a brace of tons while Kyren Wilson, twice a runner-up in ranking events this season, held off Yu Delu for a 6-4 triumph.

Mark King repeated that scoreline against Mike Dunn but will rue a missed opportunity to compile a maiden career 147 break, ultimately breaking down on the final pink in agonising fashion to miss out on the £20,000 bonus.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland Open finalist Yan Bingtao has shown no signs of feeling the disappointment from his tough reverse against Mark Williams in Belfast and the 17 year-old hammered Ben Woollaston 6-1, helped by a high break of 134.

Proven ranking event winners Barry Hawkins, Martin Gould, and Michael White all advanced with relative ease with the latter knocking in a superb 142 that stands as the highest break of the tournament so far.

Meanwhile, Ricky Walden continued his mini-resurgence of late, scrapping his way to a 6-5 victory over Welshman Jamie Jones.

The only upset of note occurred late in the day when Hossein Vafaei edged Indian Open runner-up Anthony McGill in a final frame shoot out.

McGill’s demise is somewhat significant as he could still be in danger of missing out on a place at the Masters in January, albeit a very specific set of results needs to transpire for that to happen.

For Iran’s Vafaei, it marks the first time that the former world amateur champion has reached the last 32 of a BBC major.

Elsewhere, Thailand’s Sunny Akani overcame Michael Holt 6-4 while Noppon Saengkham and Jimmy Robertson continued their runs with contrasting wins against Leo Fernandez and Alan McManus respectively.

The third round action will take place next with several eye-catching fixtures to look out for.

Mark Williams and Ryan Day clash in an all-Welsh battle while teenager Yan faces veteran Higgins.

Liang Wenbo and Stephen Maguire meet in a contest that could also have ramifications for the 16 Masters invites, while O’Sullivan continues his quest against White.

Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)

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