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Ronnie O’Sullivan survives Ken Doherty scare at the UK Championship

O'Sullivan and Doherty shake hands (credit:BBC Sport)

Reigning UK Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan fought back from 4-1 down to edge out Ken Doherty in a last-frame decider and book his place in the Last 32 in York on Sunday.

O'Sullivan, who is bidding for a record-breaking seventh UK Championship title, looked set to become the latest big name to crash out in the early rounds, but turned the tide before holding his nerve in a tense decider.

He will now face emerging star Zhou Yuelong in Round Three on Monday.

"Ken played fantastically well in the first part and the luck turned a bit, I got a couple of nudges and got into the game," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport.

"If I'd have lost today I'd have lost to the better player.

"I didn't do a lot wrong but he played so quick and positive, it kind of puts you on edge.

"Sometimes you have to win when things are not going well. I felt nervous because I've got a love back for it.

"You feel like a gladiator. Money can't buy that. Imposing yourself on a game is as near to a gladiator as I get and that's why we play this game."

Doherty, 49, took the opening frame with a break of 66 before O'Sullivan defied a 53 from the Irishman to snatch the second.

Doherty rallied back with consecutive breaks of 76, 77 and 71 to forge a commanding 4-1 lead before O'Sullivan hit back with breaks of 75 and 76 to reduce the deficit.

The Rocket dug deep to clinch frame eight and level up before adding a break of 65 to make it four on the spin and lead for the first time.

Doherty, though, dusted himself down and dominated frame ten to force a tense decider, but it was a break of 58 that did the damage for the defending champion.

Doherty admitted: "It was a great match to be involved in. 

"When I went 4-1 up, I was feeling great. He came back very strongly as you would expect and played some great stuff at the end.

"I just wanted to go out and enjoy it and not put too much pressure on myself, be as competitive as possible. 

"I couldn't believe how relaxed I was, I was loving the atmosphere and the chance to challenge myself and Ronnie on the big stage.

"Hopefully I can play like this for the rest of the season and it will give me a bit of confidence going forward. I had him, I really did, but it wasn't to be."


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Ronnie O’Sullivan survives Ken Doherty scare at the UK Championship

Reigning UK Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan fought back from 4-1 down to edge out Ken Doherty in a last-frame decider and book his place in the Last 32 in York on Sunday.

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