Ronnie O’Sullivan edged closer to a record-extending eighth UK Championship title with a hard-fought 6-5 win over Robert Milkins at the Barbican Centre in York.
O’Sullivan found himself 2-0 down, then went ahead 5-3 before Milkins battled back to set up a decider.
It was a tense last frame but O’Sullivan came out victorious to book his spot in the competition’s last eight for the 20th time in his career.
Milkins has now lost his previous nine meetings with O’Sullivan, but he delivered his best performance against the 47-year-old on Thursday.
O’Sullivan is aiming to create another piece of history with another title in York by becoming the oldest and the youngest UK champion, having won the Triple Crown event in 1993 at the age of 17.
Milkins seized the early initiative despite not playing his best snooker, taking the opening two frames.
But O’Sullivan came back before the mid-session interval, adding a 53 break to square up the match.
The world No. 1 then showed his class by firing in a sensational clearance of 142, the joint highest break of the televised stages so far, to take the lead in the match for the first time.
O’Sullivan sealed his fourth frame in a row before Milkins made a 91 break to close the gap to 4-3. Nevertheless, O’Sullivan responded again with a break of 83 to move within one of victory.
But Milkins would not go away. He crashed in a break of 120 to keep himself in the match before wrapping up frame ten to force a tense decider.
It was then that the seven-time UK champion punished two glorious missed opportunities from Milkins to seal the match and booked his place in the quarter-finals.
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