UK Snooker Championship 2017: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Martin Gould

Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan cruised through to the semi-finals of the UK Championship by beating Martin Gould 6-3 at the York Barbican.

The day after a late-night victory over Sunny Akani, O’Sullivan opened by stroking in back-to-back centuries en route to a 5-0 lead.

Gould responded with runs of 101, 61 and 70, but O’Sullivan’s well-taken 94 put him through.

He faces Stephen Maguire on Saturday after the Scot beat Joe Perry 6-3.

Maguire surged 5-0 in front with breaks of 76 and 61 before Perry claimed three in a row, but the 2004 winner took the one he needed to progress.

O’Sullivan goes ‘back to basics’

O’Sullivan was on the verge of going out when he trailed 5-4 against world number 84 Akani on Thursday, but claimed the last two frames to eventually win at 11pm.

The 42-year-old, aiming to equal Steve Davis’ haul of six UK titles, showed no signs of fatigue in Friday’s afternoon session, and started in blistering fashion by making breaks of 107 and 106.

It was only when on the brink of defeat that Gould started to find his rhythm – making three frame-winning contributions – but he had left himself with too much to do and O’Sullivan duly reached his 10th UK semi-final.

O’Sullivan told BBC Two: “My attitude was more spot on today. I am just playing one ball at a time because I am not playing well enough to think too far ahead.

“I had to go back to basics and build some momentum. It is tough for me to play that way, but sometimes you have to do it.

“Martin had to go for the shots but he hit them so badly he ended up leaving the cue ball in the middle of the table for me.

“I am not playing fantastic but I am competing and trying my hardest. If something clicks, great, but if it doesn’t then I am going to have to be scraped off the table.”

‘I’m just interested in Saturday’s game’

O’Sullivan said in 2004 that Maguire would dominate the game for the next decade.

But, including his UK Championship success that year, Maguire has only won five ranking titles and finished as runner-up six times.

Speaking on Friday, the Scot said O’Sullivan sometimes talked nonsense.

O’Sullivan responded: “I agree with him on that.

“I am just interested in Saturday’s game and having a bit of fun out there. It is all meaningless.

“It is ridiculous looking into what he said or what I said. He can sit there and say, ‘Ronnie is useless, he is rubbish, I am going to batter him’ and I will think ‘sweet’.”

In the 19:00 GMT session, 2008 champion Shaun Murphy takes on Mark King and Ryan Day faces Mark Joyce.

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