|2017 UK Championship|
|Date: 28 Nov-10 Dec Venue: York Barbican|
|Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 2 December.|
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 the Englishman’s way.
O’Sullivan, who is seeking to match Steve Davis’ record haul of six titles in the event, finished the match in style with a fine break of 65.
A below-par White struggled throughout the match, with his highest break of 51 coming in frame two to level things.
O’Sullivan then pulled clear, making his third century of the tournament and adding a further three breaks of over 50 to ease into the last 16.
“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.
“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.”
White, 26, was scathing about his performance.
“I was absolutely awful. It’s so frustrating. I didn’t even play half-decent,” he said.
Unconvincing Ronnie races on
A sixth title for O’Sullivan 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 as to almost seem disinterested.
O’Sullivan 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.
“I want to play well and do well but if I don’t, I don’t care,” O’Sullivan added. “I have other more important stuff to do.”
He will play either Barry Hawkins or Thailand’s Akani Songsermsawad in round four.