With Judd Trump taken out by Nigel Bond, there are only a few numbers of players who could threaten Ronnie’s quest to defend his UK Championship title or lift his 37th ranking title. However, he would be wary of the threat world no. 32, Noppon Saengkham poses in a bid to avoid any lurking upsets.
The Rocket swept the first frame after his opponent failed to hit a tricky pink with two reds left on the board. With that frame, Ronnie has now gone 13 successive frames in New York without a loss.
Saengkham, however, soon replied in the second frame, putting an end to Ronnie’s winning streak. It is the first the five-time world champion has lost in New York, and Noppon will be glad he was the one who put a stop to that run.
Ronnie then replied and restored the lead with a break of 77 after his opponent missed red early on opens up the pack.
Just before the interval, Ronnie took extended his lead further, making it 3-1. Saengkham would, however, feel the win should have been his. But a miss on a tricky long red denied him the chance to go level with the Rocket.
Once again, Saengkham failed to take advantage of his opportunity, an error that O’Sullivan capitalized on. Saengkham missed a red when he was already 39-0, allowing the legendary Ronnie to come back t the table to clear it up once again.
With only two frames to victory, the Rocket could see the finish line. But for Saengkham, he hung on and reduced the gap to a bearable 4-2. A possible comeback in the pipeline?
Ronnie had the answer to that. The five-time world champion completed a break of 97, having been blessed with a generous spread of reds. 5-2 up he goes.
With Trump out, O’Sullivan could see himself lifting his coveted 37th ranking title, and no Saengkham was going to stand in the way. The game was reasonably square at Ronnie 65-53 Saengkham with only the pink and black left on the table, but the Rocket sank the pink beautifully well to take the frame.
He is now poised to take on Ding Junhui in the fourth round of the championship.
Written by: Roland Arum