|2017 UK Championship|
|Date: 28 Nov-10 Dec Venue: York Barbican|
|Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 2 December.|
Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was given a big scare as he beat world number 84 Sunny Akani 6-5 in the fourth round of the UK Championship.
The 22-year-old Thai showed no signs of early nerves against his idol, a fine break of 74 taking him 2-0 in front.
World number four O’Sullivan scored a 121 and a 98 to pull level, but Akani won the next two frames to lead 4-2.
O’Sullivan hit back again and, despite going 5-4 behind after a 128 by Akani, rode his luck to progress.
The 42-year-old, who has progressed into the last eight at the UK Championship 16 times, joins world number six Shaun Murphy – the only other remaining seed – in the last eight.
The pair could meet in the final, but O’Sullivan’s next test comes against world number 18 Martin Gould.
Gould had earlier fought back from 4-3 down to edge a nervy match 6-4 against China’s Xiao Guodong at the York Barbican.
The afternoon’s other last-16 tie saw Murphy secure a convincing 6-1 win over Ricky Walden, while Englishman Mark Joyce beat China’s Lyu Haotian 6-4 to set up a meeting with Ryan Day.
Routine progress for Murphy
The afternoon session saw 2008 champion Murphy begin with two breaks in excess of 50 to establish a 2-0 lead, and a slick 114 made it 3-0.
Walden hit a fine 80 in reply to take frame four, but Murphy, who plays Mark King in the last eight, eased through after the interval.
“It was a bit tighter than the score suggests,” said Murphy, who faces Mark King in the quarter-finals on Friday. “I picked up a few of his crumbs. He had chances and didn’t take them.”
World number 23 Walden added: “I didn’t settle and let Shaun off early in the match. When I was finding a little bit of rhythm I made some silly errors and let him off the hook.”
Meanwhile, Gould showed his experience to close out victory with two 50-plus breaks in the final two frames.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly,” Gould said. “Neither of us has played as well as we can but I am through and that’s what counts.”
Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Mark King (Eng)
Stephen Maguire (Sco) v Joe Perry (Eng)
Mark Joyce (Eng) v Ryan Day (Wal)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) v Martin Gould (Eng)