‘I deserved to lose’ – O’Sullivan battles into UK Championship semis

Nigel Chiu

Sports Journalist

Ronnie O’Sullivan battled into the semi-finals of the UK Championship in York after losing control of a 3-0 lead against Zhou Yuelong; O’Sullivan lost five of the next seven frames but won on a decider and will be in the last four on Saturday

Last Updated: 01/12/23 5:16pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan held off a late surge from Zhou Yuelong to win 6-5 and reach the semi-finals of the UK Championship for the first time since 2018.

O’Sullivan made a brilliant start with a century and went 3-0 ahead in the best-of-11 encounter but The Rocket began to make some uncharacteristic errors and allowed Zhou back into the match.

Zhou levelled the scores at 4-4 and went 5-4 ahead, before O’Sullivan took the quarter-final to a decider and made a century to book a place in the last four on Saturday.

O’Sullivan, who has won the UK Championship seven times, will play Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, who beat Zhang Anda 6-4.

“Just technically all over the gaff. Just out of desperation I started to play alright but I was going through the motions and was plodding away, just awful,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.

“I was just steering the ball, twitching them in and in the last two frames I thought I just had to commit.

“I was so frustrated and disappointed with the way I played that I didn’t even feel any pressure because there was nothing to be nervous about. I deserved to lose, he was playing the better snooker towards the business end of the match. There wasn’t really any pressure on me.”

In the other quarter-finals, Judd Trump faces Mark Selby on Friday and Ding Junhui takes on Mark Williams.

As for O’Sullivan, he last won the UK Championship in 2018 and has not won a ranking tournament since his 2022 World Championship success at the Crucible.

He won the Shanghai Masters, an invitational event, earlier this season but pulled out of the Champion of Champions in early November to take a mental health break.

Source : Sky Sports