Maplin Electronics UK Championship 2008: O’Sullivan made to sweat for last 16 berth

Tonight saw the three matches from early this afternoon come to a conclusion as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Matthew Stevens and Graeme Dott secured their places in the last 16…

Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-6 Rory McLeod

Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his spot in the last 16 tonight, though having at one point led the match 6-0, he was given something of a scare by Rory McLeod who at one stage got the gap down to just one frame at 6-5.

Resuming at 6-2 down, having made two centuries at the end of the first session, Rory made it three in a row with a 131 in the opener to signal his intent. before adding the next two frames to be just one behind at 6-5. Frame 12 though proved to be crucial, coming right before the interval it was the difference between 7-5 and 6-6, psychologically a huge difference at this stage. With all the momentum behind him, for a long time it appeared as if Rory was going to draw level, but a poor miss on 45 proved to be costly as O’Sullivan stepped in and steadied the ship with a frame-winning contribution.

From this point on there was only going to be one winner I think as a break of 94 made it 8-5, and although Rory kept on fighting by taking the next, O’Sullivan sealed a 9-6 win in frame 15 with a well-taken 70.

Strange old match really as O’Sullivan for much of this morning played outstanding snooker, though he was undoubtedly aided by a lack of any sort of pressure from Rory as he struggled to settle down in front of the Telford crowd. Once he did though, particularly tonight, O’Sullivan for a while looked to be well out of sorts, probably not anything to worry about as he was in such a commanding position, but against someone more experienced in front of the cameras perhaps he might not have got away with such a slip.

Next up for him is Joe Perry, certainly someone experienced in front of the TV cameras and someone who is long overdue a win against O’Sullivan in a ranking event. O’Sullivan though will be hoping to follow up his wins against Joe in Northern Ireland and Shanghai with a third win this week.

Ryan Day 5-9 Matthew Stevens

Matthew Stevens continued his excellent recent form tonight by completing an impressive victory over countryman Ryan Day, his second in as many tournaments.

Resuming at 5-3 down it was Ryan who made the stronger start to tonight’s play with breaks of 70 and 89 to draw level at 5-5, but crucially Stevens moved back in front with a 70 break and then restored the two frame cushion going into the interval with another half-century, this time of 54.

As Ryan Day will have come out with the aim of taking at least three of the opening four frames tonight, it was this twelfth frame which proved to be significant at this point and there was no stopping Matthew who went further ahead with another 54 break, before finishing off the match in style with a century to win 9-6.

Renowned for being something of a specialist in the longer frame tournaments, 2003 winner Stevens will certainly be a tough man to beat this week and given his recent form (a final in Bahrain and a semi-final in the Masters qualifier), he will likely go into his next match against either Marco Fu or Barry Hawkins as a strong favourite.

Ryan Day though will be disappointed not to build on his position in the provisional rankings and given the amount of points on offer at this, the second most important event on the calendar, he is likely to slip down a couple of places at least now…

Graeme Dott 9-4 Ken Doherty

Finally tonight Graeme Dott completed a terrific 9-4 win over Ireland’s Ken Doherty, a hugely significant result for the 2006 World Champion who will be now be sure to get back moving in the right direction up the rankings after a disappointing couple of seasons.

Resuming at 5-3 up, barring a well-taken 127 from Ken, it was one way traffic as Graeme showed that he is returning to some sort of form and took his first win in a ranking event not only this season, but remarkably this year. Next up though will be a tough match against either Mark Williams or Mark Selby, not a match where you can really hope for an upset!


Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-6 Rory McLeod 97(52)-3, 58(58)-15, 117(117)-0, 67(67)-1, 114(110)-0, 88(88)-0, 25-108(108), 0-154(102), 0-131(131), 7-66, 17-72(55), 71-62(45), 94(94)-47(47), 53(41)-74, 80(70)-24
Ryan Day 5-9 Matthew Stevens 45(45)-71(53), 51-65, 66(65)-1, 42-62, 60-71, 90(88)-8, 18-101(65), 72(42)-30, 82(70)-13, 89(89)-1, 0-76(70), 15-93(54), 40-67(54), 0-100(100)
Joe Perry 9-0 Mark Davis 60-39, 4-0 retired
Graeme Dott 9-4 Ken Doherty 104(66)-14, 73-46(38), 65(63)-21, 120(120)-0, 63(53)-1, 4-88(74), 0-74(73), 2-69(36), 100(58)-24, 0-128(127), 62(61)-52(52), 72(53)-25, 84(61)-4