Reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan powered past Martin O’Donnell 6-1 to book his place in the Semi-Finals of the 2018 UK Championship on Friday, while Tom Ford overcame Joe Perry to extend his ground-breaking run in York.
O’Sullivan moved a step closer to a record-breaking seventh UK crown as he ended the run of the world number 59 at the York Barbican.
The Rocket reeled off five consecutive frames to clinch a commanding victory and remain on course to become the first player since Stephen Hendry in 1996 to retain this prestigious title.
“I had never played Martin before and you never know what to expect in that situation,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.
“I didn’t know his scoring record, or his potting, so I just eased my way into it, but it was a good match because I had to be patient.
“That was a tough game for me and he is a player you want to do well because he puts the work in and I’m sure he will be a top-16 player very soon.”
O’Sullivan started and ended the match with a century, getting off and running with a 102 in the opening before O’Donnell edged frame two to level.
A break of 79 saw O’Sullivan regain the lead before clinching low-scoring frames either side of the interval to make it 4-1.
A clinical 81 break followed in frame six before a sublime contribution of 106 rubber-stamped the victory.
O’Sullivan will now face Leicester’s Ford in the Semi-Finals on Saturday after the world number 36 defeated Perry 6-2 to reach the Last Four of a ranking tournament for the first time in more than two years.
Ford, 35, made a dream start to the contest, racing into a 4-0 lead with breaks of 76 and 80 along the way.
Perry got off the mark in style with a tremendous break of 121 after the interval but a 58 break proved insufficient in frame six as Ford snatched it on the final black to lead 5-1.
A half century was enough in frame seven, however, as Perry kept the match alive, but any hopes of a comeback were soon quashed by Ford as he got over the line to secure the biggest payday of his career (£35,000).
“I wasn’t really thinking about the payday, if I’m honest,” Ford told Eurosport. “I just wanted to get into the Semi-Final.
“Joe didn’t get off to a good start and he struggled today so I had to capitalise on that.
“If I take my chances [against O’Sullivan] – I’ve got every chance, I’ve just got to make sure I do take them.”
UK Championship 2018 Results
Friday December 7
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 Martin O’Donnell
Joe Perry 2-6 Tom Ford