O'Sullivan powers past Milkins
Ronnie O'Sullivan blew away Robert Milkins in less than 68 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in York.
The 'Rocket' rattled off a 6-0 win with the minimum of fuss to set up a clash with Stuart Bingham, who he beat in the final of the recent Champion of Champions event in Coventry.
O'Sullivan took the opening two frames with breaks of 76 and 63 and it was one-way traffic from there on.
He made 93 and 58 to lead 4-0 at the interval and 67 and 57 to wrap up victory, with Neil Robertson and Joe Perry yet to return from their mid-session interval on the other table.
O'Sullivan said afterwards: "I played some good stuff. I was hitting the ball with much more authority, which allows me to be a bit more aggressive and go for my shots a bit more freely.
"It hasn't been like that this whole week. I've had spells where I haven't been able to take the game by the scruff of the neck."
Bingham awaits after a routine 6-1 win over Irish surprise package David Morris.
O'Sullivan said of the Basildon player: "We had a good match in Sheffield and a good match in the Champion of Champions.
"Stuart's one of the most consistent performers on the tour and has been for the past two or three years. He's getting to the latter stages of most events now and he's one of the favourites to win tournaments."
Robertson had promised to "destroy" close friend Perry but, despite winning 6-1, the match was more closely contested.
Robertson, who finished with a 95 break that he described as "just ridiculous", said: "The table conditions were really tough. It was very frustrating for both Joe and I and he seemed to suffer at the more crucial times.
"I made some absolutely crazy pots tonight to keep my breaks going. That 95 in the last frame was probably how I used to make all my breaks about six or seven years ago.
"I'm sure Willie (Thorne) was pulling whatever hair he has left out of his head commentating on that one!"
There was a silver lining for Perry, as he said: "I came here to secure my Masters place and I've done that.
"I'm disappointed not to go further in this competition but it's job done."
There were shocks earlier in the day as Ding Junhui's bid for a historic fourth straight ranking title was ended by Ricky Walden while Judd Trump lost to Mark Allen in a scrappy game. Both matches finished 6-4.
Ding had won the Shanghai Masters, the Indian Open and the International Championship, and victory in York would have brought him the longest win of ranking victories since Stephen Hendry's five in 1990.
He came from 3-1 down to 3-3 only for Walden to win the seventh on the black with a superb pot.
After Ding made 135 in the ninth, the next came down to a battle on the pink, with Ding missing a simple chance and leaving an equally straightforward one which Walden took.
Walden said: "It was pretty tense towards the end, we both had a couple of chances to win that frame.
"I got a bit of luck but I'm just happy I'm still batting."
Ding said of the fateful pink: "My cue action didn't work, the cue turned in my hand."
Trump led 3-1 and 4-2 despite a 98 from Allen in frame three but Allen levelled by taking an important eighth frame on the black.
The Northern Irishman went ahead with a 65 and made 54 off a fluke in frame 10, before another piece of luck left Trump hampered by the blue and he handed Allen the frame-winning chance.
Trump was frustrated to lose after a performance from Allen which he described as "awful" and added: "It just turned into a club game, to be honest."
Allen agreed: "I don't know how I've won that game.
"I was really poor from start to finish, but one of my qualities is that I don't give up. I'm pretty proud of myself for coming back from 4-2, even though Judd let me off the hook."
Mark Selby had four half-centuries in a 6-2 win over Graeme Dott, including an opening 73.
But a 34 clearance in frame six was the key to seeing off Dott, who described losing the frame as "a big blow".
"I knew it was going to be tough and it turned out to be tough," said Selby.
"I've ended up winning 6-2 but it could have easily been 3-3 - I took a good finish out to go 4-2 which could have ended up being the turning point."
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