UK Championship 2018: Ronnie O’Sullivan survives scare to beat Ken Doherty

By Shamoon Hafez BBC Sport at the York Barbican

Ronnie O’Sullivan on his way to winning his second round match against Ken DohertyDefending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a major scare by battling from behind to edge past Ken Doherty 6-5 and reach the UK Championship third round.O’Sullivan looked like heading out as Doherty surged into a 4-1 lead.But O’Sullivan responded in style with breaks of 75 and 76 on the way to claiming four in a row, but Doherty hit back to force a decider in York.Both players had chances in the final frame, but O’Sullivan held himself together to go through. Englishman O’Sullivan, who turns 43 on Wednesday, is aiming for a record seventh title in the event and is currently level with Stephen Hendry on 18 ‘Triple Crown’ event victories of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters.Despite easing past Luke Simmonds in the first round, O’Sullivan said he “really, really struggled” during the match with illness.In a repeat of the 2001 final, in which O’Sullivan thrashed Doherty 10-1, ‘The Rocket’ was going the way of former champions Mark Selby, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy, who have all suffered surprise exits before the third-round stage.Irishman Doherty’s quick tempo start with 66, 76, 77 and 71 put him in a commanding position – with O’Sullivan making just a high break of 31 by that stage – but two missed reds to the right corner proved critical as O’Sullivan sneaked through to face China’s Zhou Yuelong next.

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